Captain Alfred Carpenter comes to New Orleans, bringing with him tales of his daring escape from German U-Boats.
Alfred Carpenter was seen as a hero of was on this day, December 6th, 1918. He commanded the ship Vindictive (pictured above) which sunk in a Belgium channel. Its sinking, however, halted the further launching of U-boats.
Who WAS Alfred Carpenter?
Born in 1881 on the 17th of September in Barnes, England, Carpenter started his life as the son of a captain and the grandson of a commander. This start set him on track for life as a captain himself. His childhood was not very active, but he went to Bedales School, a boarding school in Hampshire, England. His life in the Navy began in 1898 when he was only 17 years old, at that time he was a sub-lieutenant. He progressed very quickly through the ranks, very likely helped by the titles his family carried on his back. He was placed on the HMS Havoc during the coronations fleet review in 1902, but after that became focused on navigation a year later. He received several awards from both The Admiralty for several inventions he created as well as the Humane Society for saving a life at sea. During WWI, he served on Admiral Jellicoe’s staff for a year before being promoted to commander in 1915. After his promotion, he served as a navigating officer of HMS Emperor of India from 1915 to 1917. In April of
1918, he finally became the captain of the HMS Vindictive.
During his year on the Vindictive, he was told to land on Zeebrugge with 200 Royal Marines. For bravery and his ability to work under pressure.
“For most conspicuous gallantry.
This officer was in command of “Vindictive.” He set a magnificent example to all those under his command by his calm composure when navigating mined waters, bringing his ship alongside the mole in darkness. When “Vindictive” was within a few yards of the mole the enemy started and maintained a heavy fire from batteries, machine guns and rifles on to the bridge. He showed most conspicuous bravery, and did much to encourage similar behaviour on the part of the crew, supervising the landing from the “Vindictive” on to the mole, and walking round the decks directing operations and encouraging the men in the most dangerous and exposed positions. By his encouragement to those under him, his power of command and personal bearing, he undoubtedly contributed greatly to the success of the operation. Capt. Carpenter was selected by the officers of the “Vindictive,” “Iris II.,” and “Daffodil,” and of the naval assaulting force to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant, dated the 29th January, 1856″
– Message in the Fourth Supplement of the London Gazette about Captain Carpenter receiving his Victoria Cross.
“Alfred Carpenter.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 May 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Carpenter.