From September 15-16, 1931, around a thousand sailors in the British Atlantic Fleet went on strike after a hefty pay cut (and rumour of even heavier cuts) following the Great Depression. Kelly took charge of the fleet in the aftermath and his excellent personnel skills and perceptive view of the ‘mutiny’ were crucial in dealing with the consequences, including blaming the Admiralty for its poor handling of the pay issue.
Earlier, in the First World War, he had been commanding officer of the cruiser HMS Dublin which came close to intercepting the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben.
Newbury saleroom Antony Cribb (22% buyer’s premium) on July 12-13 offered an admiral of the fleet regulation bullion trimmed bicorn hat, the leather and silk liner with maker’s panel for Walton Gosport and with owner’s initials JDK (John Kelly), together with its companion bullion epaulettes and bullion decorated leather sword belt.
Estimated at £700-900, the lot sold for £5500.