The Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross
Awarded to Men of Portsmouth
- Henry James Raby VC -

Headstone of the grave for Henry James Raby

Location of Grave:
Highland Road Cemetery (See map)
O/S SZ 658 988
OTHER AWARD: CB - Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.
Details of Award:
On 18 June 1855 in the Crimea, immediately after the assault on Sebastopol, a soldier of the 57th Regiment, who had been wounded in both legs, was observed sitting up and calling for help. At once Lieutenant Raby and two seamen (CURTIS, Henry and TAYLOR J.) left the shelter of their battery works and ran forward a distance of 70 yards, across open ground, through heavy gunfire and succeeded in carrying the wounded man to safety.
Further Information
Raby later achieved the rank of Rear Admiral. He was the first person, ever, to receive the Victoria Cross at an Investiture on Hyde Park on 26th June 1857. It was presented by Her Majesty Queen Victoria. (Even though he was not the first person to be awarded the VC, that honour going to Mate Charles Davis LUCAS).
It was as second-in-command of a ladder party on the Redan, that he won his VC.
He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB). He also held the Legion d'Honneur of France, the Order of Medjidie, the Crimean, Sardinian and Turkish Medals with Clasps for Sebastopol and Inkerman.
Naval Career
08 MAR 1842: Volunteer 1st Class
1842: HMS Monarch
07 MAR 1848: Mate, HMS Rodney
21 APR 1848: Mate, HMS Trafalgar until 30 JUN 1848
08 JUL 1848: Mate, HMS Victory until 19 DEC 1848
30 MAR 1849: Mate, HMS Ocean
28 NOV 1849: HMS Terrible until 21 JAN 1850
15 JAN 1850: Lieutenant
02 OCT 1850: HMS Wasp West Coast of Africa and afterwards on the coast off Circassia in support of the Turkish Army 23 OCT 1854 - 16 SEP 1855: Landed with the Naval Brigade and served in the Crimean Trenches
20 SEP 1855: Promoted to Commander for his bravery
04 JAN 1856: Left HMS Wasp
01 AUG 1856: HMS Medusa in command
12 OCT 1859: HMS Weser in command
27 JAN 1860: HMS Alecto in command. Captured the boats of the squadron at the capture and destruction of Porto Nova, West coast of Africa (wounded 23 APR 1861) and Mentioned in Despatches
24 NOV 1862: Captain
22 JUN 1868: HMS Adventure, Captain in Command. While serving on the west coast of Africa he was frequently Mentioned in Despatches for actions against the slave trade. Received the thanks of the Foreign Office for the conclusion of a treaty with the chiefs of Old Calabar River
18 JAN 1871: Left HMS Adventure
21 MAR 1878: Rear Admiral
Victoria Cross
British Crimean Medal with 'Inkerman' and 'Sebastopol' clasps
The Turkish Crimea Medal
Knight of The Legion d'Honneur (France)
Medal of Valour from Sardinia
Companion to the Order of the Bath (Military) Gazetted 29 MAY 1875
Order of the Medjidie 5th class (Turkey)
Family History
Henry James Raby was the son of Arthur Turnour Raby and Henrietta Jane, of Llanelli, Carmarthen, Wales. He was educated at Sherborne School and entered the Navy in 1842. On 9th December 1863, in Bradford-upon-Avon, Wiltshire, he married Judith, daughter of Colonel Watkin Forster, Holt Manor, Trowbridge, Wilts. She is buried in St Mary's Cemetery, Horseshoe Road, Bath (his name is on her headstone). A son, Montague, was born on 1st November 1865 (he died 21st September 1897 and is buried in the same grave as his father), followed by a daughter (b.1867) and a son Arthur (b.1869) and a further son Henry who died aged 9 years.
Life in Southsea
In 1875 Raby was reported to be living at Crembourne House, Nightingale Road, Southsea. After 4 years there he moved briefly to Bath before returning to 6 Clarence Parade, Southsea. He moved finally to 8 Clarence Parade in 1881 where he died of senile decay, aged 79, in 1907. He is buried in Highland Road cemetery, 2nd Central Plot, Row 11, Grave 8.
Raby was a Trustee and Director Royal Sailors Home, Queen Street, Portsea, and the Home for Sick Children, Ryde View, Southsea. This was "A temporary Home for Sick Children of the poorer classes belonging to the District of Southsea, where they will receive good Medical attendance, nourishing diet, and careful nursing, until they are discharged, cured, or at least relieved. All applications for admission must be made at the Hospital on Tuesdays at 2 o'clock. Children between the ages of 3 and 22 only are elegible for admission. No child suffering from an infectious or apparently incurable disease can be admitted. The hospital is open to the inspection of Visitors every week-day afternoon. The Friends of the Children may visit them on Sundays and Thursdays between 3 and 4 o'clock"
Amongst the three trustees listed (1887) is Rear-Admiral Raby VC CB
Committee includes Mrs Raby and Rear Admiral Raby
Hon. Secretary and Superintendent - Mrs Raby
Hon. Treasurer - Rear Admiral Raby, 8 Clarence Parade, Southsea
In 1902 listed as Southsea Hospital for Sick Children at 2 Ryde View, Clifton Terrace, Southsea and he was the Hon Treasurer, Trustee and Committee Member. By 1891 it had become The South Coast Medical, Surgical and Convalescent Home for Women Was also Chairman of Portsmouth and Hayling Life Boat Committee 1885