Yeoman of Signals Frank Coombes, O.N. 205280 served in HMS Alcantara and was at the Boxer Rebellion on HMS Glory
I have been interested to read your correspondence about the battle between Alcantara and Grief in the North Sea. My grandfather, Yeoman of Signals Frank Coombes, O.N. 205280, was mentioned in despatches as a result of his actions that day.(see supplement to London Gazette 14 July 1916). He wasn't one of the wounded. I must tell you the story he told my husband and myself in 1967. My husband (a journalist) took it down in shorthand as he said it:
He was extremely guarded while telling us about this, as though he might be in trouble for revealing too much, even though he was in his mid-eighties. He joined the Navy at 17 - had been a fishmonger in the Isle of Wight - and served on about 30 ships. He won the Rumanian Distinguished Conduct medal and was at the Boxer Rebellion on HMS Glory, and whenever we took him out in the car and he spotted a Chinese restaurant he would mutter "blessied Chinese".
Hope this might be of interest to you and others.
My thanks for your mail, it is always of great interest to have a first hand account of an engagement at sea from one who was there at the time.
Your grandfather certainly saw some action in his naval time.
I wll ask my web master, Terry Kearns in Atlanta Georgia to add this report to our segment on AHOY about this fight to the death at our URL:
I am indeed grateful for your time and interest.