b. 28/08/1896 Streatham, London. d. 16/10/1939 South Queensferry, Scotland.
DATE ABD PLACE OF GC ACTION: 16/10/1939 Firth of Forth, Scotland.
Richard Frank “Dick” Jolly (1896-1939) was born on 28th August 1896 in Streatham, London, the son of Frank and Ellen Alice Jolly (nee Parker). He had a sister, Juliet, and brother Alfred. His father was an auctioneer and estate agent, though the family had strong naval historical links. Whilst he was at school, he was a member of the 2nd Rowing VIII and was Company Sergeant Major in the Officer Training Corps. Dick joined the Royal Navy with a Special Entry cadetship from Bedford School in 1914. He gained first prize in gunnery and torpedo in his term at Keyham College, the Royal Naval Engineering College in Plymouth.
In May 1915, he was appointed Midshipman on the battle cruiser “Princess Royal”, and took part in the decisive victory in the North Sea Battle. He served on Princess Royal for two years and was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in March 1917. He then transferred to a destroyer “Foxhound” and was promoted to First Lieutenant. He then moved on to the minesweeper “Penarth” for the remainder of the war.
On 30th August 1919 Dick married Brenda Bowring Wimble, after which he successfully applied for “home service”. For the next two years, he was based at Portsmouth Barracks. In the 1920s, Dick and his wife moved to Boughton, Kent, and they had a son, Martin. Dick then returned to sea and served on various ships such as the “Valiant”, “Hecla”, “Viscount” and “Versatile” up to April 1927. He then was appointed to his first command on “Rowena”, and then later commanded “Walpole”, “Vivien”, “Volunteer” and “Beagle”. He was promoted to Commander in June 1932.
He was then appointed Training Commander at Chatham, and became the first commander of the sloop “Enchantress” which also served as the Admiralty yacht. He was partially held responsible when the Enchantress collided with a car ferry in 1935, and this incident and his reputation as being hard-headed meant that he was often passed over for further promotions.
In October 1939, he was given command of HMS Mohawk, his last posting. On 16th October 1939, in the Firth of Forth, Scotland, the Mohawk was attacked by enemy aircraft and suffered many casualties. Jolly was severely wounded in the stomach but refused to leave the bridge or allow himself to be attended to; he continued to direct the Mohawk for the 35 mile passage home, which took 1 hour 20 minutes. He was too weak for his orders to be heard, but they were repeated by his wounded navigation officer. He was repeatedly offered medical aid but refused, telling them to treat others first. Jolly rang off the main engines and then collapsed. He died 5 hours later from his wounds.
Jolly was buried in St Peter’s Churchyard, Boughton, Kent, and on 23rd December 1939, it was announced in the London Gazette that he had been awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal of the Military Division. Brenda Jolly attended the investiture of the EGM at Buckingham Palace. When the exchanges took place after the institution of the George Cross in September 1940 the next of kin of those EGM who had been killed since the start of the Second World War received the GC. Dick’s medals including his GC, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, War Medal 1939-45, 1935 George V Silver Jubilee Medal, and 1937 Edward VIII Coronation Medal are privately held.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: ST PETER CHURCHYARD, BOUGHTON, KENT.
Picture - Kevin Brazier