Private Gerrighty RMLI Albert Medal
Unit/ Formation: RM People
Location: Western Mediterranean Sea
Period/ Conflict: 1800's
Date/s: 27th July 1878
Private Gerrighty RMLI was the first Royal Marine to win the Albert Medal but also was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Bronze Medal for the same action.
The citation reads:-. "On the night of the 27th July last (1878), at 10 pm, a lunatic named Field, on his passage home in the transport ship Baron Colonsay, of Greenock, broke away from the sentry in the sick berth and climbed to the foretop-gallant yard. Men were sent aloft to try and prevent his falling. However on their approach, he struck one of them on the head.
After remaining aloft all night calling ‘murder’ etc., he came down about 5 am on the 28th. The sentries placed to watch him tried to secure him but he jumped overboard. Gerrighty instantly jumped after him and though struck at with a knife, which Field had in his hand, succeeded in rescuing him. This occurrence took place in latitude 36 deg. 26 min. N., longitude 2 deg 52 min W., the ship going eight knots and a fresh breeze blowing".
It is recorded in The Globe and Laurel, of March 1919 that Gerrighty
presented his Albert Medal and Royal Humane Society Medal to the Officers of his old division. The R.H.S. Medal held by R.M. Museum has a small ‘R’ alongside the naming on the rim, suggesting it is an official replacement and that the medal above is an original.
R.M. service papers show that he had been entered into the defaulter’s book many times. He was also imprisoned for desertion two years before his act of gallantry. When he deserted from the R.M.L.I. he appears to have joined the 17th Lancers.