b. 15/12/1878 Portrush, Ireland. d. 02/06/1940 London.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 25/08/1900 Kosi Bay, South Africa.
Halton Stirling Lecky was born in Portrush, Ireland on 15 December 1878, the only son of Commander Squire T. S. Lecky, R.N.R. and Elizabeth Susan Henderson. Educated at Eastman’s Royal Naval Academy, Stubbington, he joined H.M.S. Britannia in 1892. Appointed a Midshipman in 1895, he was commissioned a Sub-Lieutenant in 1898, and served during the Boer War as a Sub-Lieutenant in H.M.S. Doris and in H.M.S. Widgeon, taking part in the Delagoa Bay blockade. Whilst serving on the latter vessel his bravery in saving life at sea earned him the Albert Medal 2nd Class (London Gazette 28 June 1901), the Lloyd’s Medal for Saving Life at Sea and the Royal Humane Society Silver Medal.
Promoted to Lieutenant in 1900, Lecky commanded H.M.S. Peterel in 1902 and qualified as a Gunnery Lieutenant in 1903. In 1913 he was promoted to Commander and served as an Acting-Captain during 1916-20. He was responsible for the organisation of the Shetland Islands for war, 1913-14, and served on minesweeping operations on the East Coast during 1914. He was responsible for creating the Auxiliary Patrol Service of 3,000 vessels and necessary personnel for service against enemy submarines. Lecky then served as Naval Assistant to the Fourth Sea Lord, 1915-16, before commanding the light cruisers Southampton and Birmingham in the North Sea, 1916-17. He served as Assistant to the Naval Secretary to the First Lord of the Admiralty, 1917-18 and in the latter part of the war was on service in the Aegean and the blockade of the Dardanelles. For his wartime services he was Mentioned in Despatches, awarded the C.B. (1919), the Greek Order of the Redeemer, and the French Legion of Honour. In 1919 he organised the Mine Clearance Service – earning the appreciation of the Board of Admiralty; and commanded the R.N. Detention Barracks at Chatham, 1920-24, before retiring in 1925.
In later life Lecky was a Vice-President of the National Rose Society and ex-Councillor of the Society for Nautical Research and Councillor of the Sailors’ Home, London East, and Beresford Rest for Distressed Sailors. He was an author of several books, including a Memoir of his father in 1925. Captain Lecky latterly lived at 7 Tudor Road, Upper Norwood, London, and died on 2 June 1940.
On the 25th August 1900, His Majesty’s ship ” Widgeon,” anchored in Kosi Bay, fifty miles south of Delagoa Bay, in order to land stores and troops. The work of disembarkation was carried out by surf boats manned by Malays under the superintendence of Sub-Lieutenant LECKY, who had been sent ashore for the purpose. Heavy breakers in lines of three to five, according to the tide, rolling in about fifty yards apart, made the work very risky.One boat loaded with stores and with Second Lieutenant Arnold Gray, Thorneycroft’s Mounted Infantry, Trooper Frederick Trethowen, Steinacker’s Horse, aud Private J. H. Forbes, Thorneycroft’s Mounted Infantry, onboard, capsized about three hundred yards from the shore. The five Malays forming the boat’s crew, and Private Forbes, by dint of hard swimming, with the assistance of the boat’s oars, managed to reach the land after severe buffeting from the heavy seas. Lieutenant Gray was unable to swim, but, with Trooper Trethowen, clung to the boat, which drifted slowly keel upwards in a northerly direction almost parallel with the shore, carried by the set of a strong current. Huge breakers continually swept over the boat, and the men had great difficulty in retaining their hold. Sharks were observed near the boat both before and after the accident. The boat was now about one hundred and fifty yards from the shore. Sub-Lieutenant LECKY, seeing the critical position the two men’ were in, tore off his clothes and, plunging into the surf, endeavoured to swim to their assistance. He was twice thrown back on the beach by the heavy seas, but afterwards succeeded in bringing first Lieutenant Gray and then the other safe to the shore. The rescued men were quite unconscious, haviug been nearly thirty minutes in the water. Sub-Lieutenant LECKY and his servant, Private Botting, Royal Marine Light Infantry, then applied the usual methods for restoring animation, and both men ,eventually recovered consciousness— Lieutenant Gray after a lapse of two and a half hours.
BURIAL LOCATION: BRIGHTON EXTRA-MURAL CEMETERY, BRIGHTON, SUSSEX.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD. SOLD AT DNW FOR £3,800 IN JUNE 1994.