Henry de Beauvoir Tupper AM

b. 07/04/1883 Coggeshall, Essex. d. 14/11/1952 Haslemere, Surrey.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 04/08/1918 Mediterranean Sea.

Henry de B Tupper AM

Henry De Beauvoir Tupper was born on 07 Apr 1883 in Coggeshall, Essex, England as the first child of Richmond Brock Tupper and Elizabeth Clift. He joined the Royal Navy after leaving Framlingham College, and was on 1 July 1902 posted as a midshipman to the pre-dreadnought battleship HMS Revenge, serving in home waters. Tupper was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 30 June, 1905. Tupper was then appointed in command of the destroyer Seal on 20 March, 1913 and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander on 30 June, 1913. On 3 December, 1913, he was appointed in command of the destroyer Maori. On 22 June, 1914, Tupper was appointed in command of the destroyer Scourge. He took part in the Gallipoli landings in April 1915 as Commander of HMS Scourge.

While later serving on HMS Comet during the First World War, he performed an act for which he was awarded, on 21 February 1919, the Albert Medal for gallantry in saving life at sea (later replaced by the George Cross). He was awarded it jointly with Able Seaman ET Spalding. Tupper was placed on the Retired List on 1 January, 1923. When he was 42, he married Violet Mary Reay, daughter of Charles Tom Reay Brig. Gen., on 10 Jul 1925 in Hastings, Sussex. They had a son, John Henry, who was born in British Guiana in 1928. He was promoted to the rank of Captain (retired) on 7 April, 1928. He died on 14 Nov 1952 in Haslemere, Surrey, England (Died at Haslemere Hospital; Living at The Dormy House, Bordon, Hampshire.)



On the 4th August, 1918, H.M.S: “Comet,” under the command of Commander Tupper, was seriously damaged in collision. The ship was badly holed on the starboard side, the deck and all compartments eventually filled with water as far as the engine-room bulkhead, and the stern was at any moment liable to fall off. On being informed that the hydraulic release depth-charge was set to ” fire,’ Commander Tupper sent away a man in a whaler to remove the primer. It was only possible to remove the primer from one of the charges, leaving the other depth-charge about 15 feet under water, still at” fire.” Commander Tupper then went away in .a dinghy himself, and by repeated diving operations tried to render it safe. After a rest he returned to complete the operation, in which Able Seaman Spalding, who was a passenger on the ship at the time and was a good swimmer, volunteered to assist. Commander Tupper at first refused to allow Spalding to assist him, as the latter had no knowledge of depth-charges, and Commander Tupper did not consider it safe for him to go down. Ultimately Commander Tupper and Able Seaman Spalding swam to the spot beneath which the depthcharge was submerged, and alternately gave a turn to the iron bar which Commander Tupper had placed in the handle, until the primer was eventually unscrewed and taken out of the depth-charge, thus rendering it safe. This operation was of the most dangerous nature, as at any moment the stern of the ship might have dropped off before the depth-charge was removed and would have carried down both the officer and the man, who would have inevitably lost their lives. The explosion would also have destroyed the remaining portion of the ship, with loss of life to those of the crew who were on board.