D.S.M., (GV). ( Sto. P.O. H.M.S. Laertes.), 1914/15 Star (307943, F. Pierce, Sto. P.O. R.N. this re-impressed in an official style), B.W.M., Victory (M.I.D. oak leaves) (S.P.O. R.N.); Royal Navy L.S.G.C., GV)., 2nd issue, fixed suspension ( S.P.O. H.M.S. Pembroke.),
D.S.M. L.G. 23/10/1914:
For services in ‘the engagement off Heligoland’ on 28 August 1914
M.I.D. London Gazette 23/10/1914:
Commodore Tyrwhitt’s despatch notes: ‘Was on watch in the engine room and behaved with conspicuous coolness and resource when a shell exploded in No. 2 boiler.’
Frank Pierce was born in Margate, Kent, on 14 September 1886 entered naval service on 28 October 1904 as a Stoker 2nd Class, occupation fisherman. He was serving as a Stoker Petty Officer, rated as such since September 1913, in H.M.S. Laertes on the outbreak of war, and at the Battle of Heliogoland in August 1914.
Laertes took part in the Battle of Heligoland Bight on 28 August 1914, where she was seriously damaged suffering four shell strikes. The most serious struck the boiler room, temporarily cutting off all steam supplies to the engines leaving the ship motionless; it was for Pierce’s response to this that he was decorated. Another shot destroyed the middle funnel, while a gun was also hit. While Laertes was seriously damaged and stopped in the water, Lapwing went to her aid under heavy fire. Lieutenant-Commander Gye manoeuvred to pass a tow, but in getting underway the towing hawser parted. Laertes was saved only by the arrival of the battle cruiser Lion. The ship managed to restore some power but had to be towed back to England.
Awarded L.S.G.C. on 7 March 1923, was pensioned to shore on 7 November 1926.