Spencer Loxton Earthy 1858 - 1917
Spencer Loxton Earthy was the 7th of 9 children to Edwin and Mary Earthy.
He was born in Barnet in 1858, at the age of 40, the year after his discharge from the Marines he married Flora Jane Palmer in Fulham 1898, they had 2 children: Gordon Spencer Earthy born 1907 & Olive Earthy.
He was just 14 years old (14 years 111 days) when he joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry for an initial binding term of 15 years 254 days, he was allocated the service number 618 and began his service as a 'Drummer boy', he was to remain in the Marines as a Private for 24 years and 279 days.
On his Enlistment At Chatham in Kent on the 12th of February 1873 (At 12 o'clock) he is described as having a fair complexion, with blue eyes, light coloured hair and having no distinctive marks. His height was 4 feet 10 and 3/4 inches - on his discharge he had grown to 5 feet 4 and 1/2 inches.
Enlistment and Attestation Papers.
Service and Discharge Papers.
Of Spencer Loxton's 24 years and 279 days military service a total of 9 years 196 days were spent ashore, and 15 years 83 days were spent afloat, he also experienced 20 days in the 'cells'
He received 4 Good Conduct Badges and was awarded on the 18th May 1895 the 'Egyptian Medal' adorned with an Alexandria clasp and the Khedive Bronze Star.

Whilst Spencer Loxton was serving aboard HMS Penelope, the British, French and Turkish governments became concerned about the political stability of Egypt and thus the continued availability to them of the Suez Canal, which had been operational for just the past dozen years.

The war in Egypt 1882

In the June of 1882 Egyptian army dissidents seized control from the nominal ruler of Egypt, the Khedive. Following riots, he and most Europeans left Cairo for the relative safety of the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria. However, during several days most Europeans sailed out of Alexandria as riots spread there too. By the beginning of July much of Alexandria was in rebel hands and they began to strengthen the defences against a sea-borne attack. In response the British government sent warships from Malta and England and prepared troops from England and India for immediate transport to Egypt.

Demands for the rebels to stop work on their defences were ignored and by mid July, over a period of several days, the warships bombarded the defences into rubble. Several men aboard the Penelope were injured by return rebel fire. Meanwhile the rebels slaughtered any European they found and ransacked and burnt their property before the British troops were eventually landed and then cleared the city of dissidents.

The British forces were tasked with returning the Khedive to power and decided to fight through to the rebel H.Q. in Cairo. Rather than try and fight their way down the river Nile they decided to sail, via Port Said, to Ismailia, mid way down the Suez canal; and from there fight their way cross country to Cairo, hoping to bring the rebel forces to battle and defeat them before they reached the capital.

In mid August, leaving a small defensive force at Alexandria the main fleet, headed by HMS Penelope carrying 500 marines and lighters, forced the canal and landed the troops and supplies at Ismailia. The British forces, in mid September, first took control of the lock gates at Kassasin on the sweetwater canal linking Cairo and Ismailia and then executed a successful night attack upon the rebels at nearby Tel-el-Kebir. The next day they were in complete control of the situation in Cairo itself.

Rikk Earthy April 2004.
Margaret Masters on a research trip (Nov 2002) to the Public Records Office at Kew was able to find the ship log books containg the day-to-day notes kept by the captain of the ships Spencer Loxton served upon.

The JUNO, a wooden ship built in 1868 (tonnage 2216) left Sheerness on 25th November 1875 with a crew of 235 (25 officers, 41 Petty Officers, 99 seamen, 31 boys and 29 marines) and set off down the Channel for Portsmouth, Gibraltar and Malta, arriving there on 19th January. (Captain notes other ships in harbour: Hercules, Hibernia, Devastation, Invincible, Research, Pallas, Antelope, Helicon, Cockadnie and Cruiser (must have been quite an impressive sight!)

One week later, they set off again for Port Said (where the captain of a French frigate and the English Consul came on board), then through the Suez Canal to Suez and Aden. During the voyage, the boys received religious instruction, gun drill and school, seamanship instruction, rifle drill and cutlass drill.

By 30th March 1876, the ship had arrived in Singapore and then continued on to Hong Kong. During this time the captain recorded 2 deaths - a boy of 17 and a man of 37, both buried at sea - and "a stoker lost 1 finger whilst oiling the machinery". The crew receive regular issues of soap and tobacco.

The ship is based in Singapore from May 76 until the middle of February 77, with short trips to Malacca and Penang. Stores taken on board include 600 lbs. of sugar, 100 lbs. chocolate, 212 lbs. tea, 50 gallons vinegar, 96 lbs. currants, 2 dozen bottles of port wine.

1877 was a busy year with the ship visiting Sarawak - Bang-Kok - Singapore - Nagasaki - Shanghai (where a smallpox patient was offloaded to hospital) and the Yangtze River

1878 was spent in Yokohama (where on 28th June 1878 the ship "was dressed in honour of H. Majesty's coronation" ). There were short trips around the coast of Japan and the ship was dressed again on 4th November "in expectation of H.Majesty the Empress of Japan coming to visit her ships")

They finally left Yokohama on 10th March 1879 to return home via Hong Kong - Singapore - Natal - St. Helena - Ascension - and arrived back in Sheerness on 9th October.

Spencer's next ship - the PENELOPE - was of iron construction, tonnage 4394.

It left Sheerness on 18th October 1881 for Gibraltar - Malta - Alexandria - Port Said - Ismalia and then back via Vigo, arriving Sheerness in October 1882, where it stayed until Jun 1883.

By contrast, ASIA was a wooden stationary ship with 268 crew, moored in Portsmouth.
HUMBER was a much smaller iron ship, built in 1876 (tonnage 952) with a company of only 85 (of which 10 marines).


October - November 1887: Sheerness - Portsmouth - Gibraltar - Argostoli - Gibraltar - Sheerness.

November 1887 - June 1888: Sheerness - Portsmouth - Gibraltar - Malta - Port Said - Suez - Aden - Bombay - Aden - Suez - Port Said - Malta - Gibraltar - Portsmouth - Sheerness.

December 1888 - March 1889: Sheerness - Madeira - St. Thomas - Colon - Port Royal - Bermuda - Fayal - Sheerness.

March - June 1889: Sheerness - Gibraltar - Malta - Alexandra - Sheerness.

August - December 1889: Sheerness - Gibraltar - Malta - Salonica - Isa - Syra - Isa - Nauplia - Piraeus - Malta - Gibraltar - Sheerness.

February - May 1890: Sheerness - Madeira - St. Thomas - Colon - Port Royal -Bermuda - Fayal - Sheerness.

June 1890 - April 1891: Sheerness - Gibraltar - Malta - Port Said - Aden - Zanzibar (2 months) - River Chindi - Mozambique - Zanzibar - Aden - Suez - Malta - Suda Bay - Volo - Salonica - Malta - Piraeus - Malta - Alexandra - Port Said - Salonica - Malta.

HUMBER was then based in Malta for about a year, making short trips in and around the med.

.......more information on the HOTSPUR and MERSEY later.
HMS Penelope
The Obverse
The Reverse
In February 2009 we were fortunate to obtain Spencer Loxton's Egypt Medal (1882) it is adorned with the Alexandria 11th July clasp, he was also awarded the 1882 Khedive Bronze Star.
The somewhat worn inscription reads: S. L. Earthy. PTE RM. HMS Penelope (Click on the photo's to view larger images).

History of the Royal Marine Light Infantry.
The major administrative change of the period was on 2nd February 1856 when Queen Victoria announced that the Corps of Royal Marines should in future be designated as a 'Light Corps'.
This resulted in a separate Division at Portsmouth and the title 'Royal Marine Light Infantry. The separation of the Royal Marine Artillery became more pronounced when the companies that up until then had been attached to the Chatham, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Woolwich Divisions, all formed one 3,000 strong Division at Portsmouth in 1859. Their headquarters were to be the brand new barracks being built at Eastney, Southsea. The first detachment marched in during 1864 and the barracks was gradually occupied as more parts were completed, until the RMA fully moved into the barracks in 1867. From then on, to amalgamation in 1923, the light infantry were known as the 'Red Marines' and the artillery as the 'Blue Marines', being references to the colour of their respective tunics.
Gordon of Khartoum 1833 -1885.
British general Charles Gordon became a national hero for his exploits in China and his ill-fated defence of Khartoum against Sudanese rebels.
The son of an artillery officer, Gordon was commissioned in the Royal Engineers in 1852. He distinguished himself in the Crimean War (1853-56) and in 1860 volunteered for the 'Arrow' war against the Chinese. In May 1862 Gordon's corps of engineers was assigned to strengthen the European trading centre of Shanghai, which was threatened by the insurgents of the Taiping Rebellion. A year later he became commander of the 3,500-man peasant force raised to defend the city. During the next 18 months Gordon's troops played an important role in suppressing the Taiping uprising.
He returned to England in January 1865, where an enthusiastic public had already dubbed him 'Chinese Gordon'. In 1873 he was appointed governor of the province of Equatoria in the Sudan. Between April 1874 and December 1876 he mapped the upper Nile and established a line of stations along the river as far south as present Uganda. He was then promoted to governor-general, where he asserted his authority, crushing rebellions and suppressing the slave trade. However, ill health forced him to resign and return to England in 1880 before travelling once more to places including India, China and South Africa.
In February 1884 Gordon returned to the Sudan to evacuate Egyptian forces from Khartoum, threatened by Sudanese rebels led by Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi. Khartoum came under siege the next month and on 26th January 1885 the rebels broke into the city, killing Gordon (against al-Mahdi's instructions) and the other defenders. The British relief force arrived two days later.
The British public reacted to his death by acclaiming 'Gordon of Khartoum' a martyred warrior-saint and by blaming the government, particularly Gladstone, for failing to relieve the siege. However, historians have since suggested that Gordon defied orders and refused to evacuate Khartoum even though that remained possible until late in the siege.
It is highly probable that Spencer Loxton named his son Gordon after Gordon of Khartoum, his son was called Gordon Spencer Earthy, and the next 2 generations to the present day retain the name Gordon, Gordon Spencer Earthy (again) and Peter Gordon Earthy.
Research by Margaret Masters, August & November 2002, Rikk Earthy April 2004. Updated Russell Parkes February 2010..