Henry Walter Mustoe

– the story behind the picture

Henry Walter Mustoe

Henry Walter Mustoe


Henry Walter Mustoe was born in Bethnal Green on 6th July 1874.

In May 1893 aged 18 years and 10 months he enlisted in the Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) for 21 years. During his service he served both on board ship as a Bombardier and on shore in Portsmouth. Whilst on board ship he saw action in the Ashanti Wars.

Feb 1895 – took part in an expedition against the Brass River Chiefs
July/Aug 1895 – took part in expedition against Chief Mbaruk
Aug 1896 – Present at the bombardment of Sultan’s Palace at Zanzibar
Feb 1897 – Landed during Benin expedition

Medals awarded:
21st May 1896 – Ashanti Medal and Brass River Clasp
23 May 1898 – “Mwele” engraved and Benin Clasp
10 March 1914 – Long Service and Good conduct medal

During 1913 Henry Walter Mustoe was part of the Military Police at Eastney Barracks in Portsmouth.

By May 1914 he had completed his enlistment and was discharged from the RMA. The discharge document (below) is dated 16th May 1914.

Having served in the Military Police, he joined the Railway Police and moved with his first wife and 2 children from Portsmouth to Carlisle to work for the Midland Railway as a Constable, No 181. The picture (above) shows him resplendent in his, probably, new PC’s uniform.

His service as a PC was short lived as on 2nd August he was re-enlisted into the RMA for service in the First Wold War. This is because he would have been placed on the Reserve List when he was discharged in the May of 1914.

Returning to Portsmouth he was to serve out WW1 there and finally left the RMA in 1919. After leaving the RMA Henry Walter Mustoe moved to London with his second wife and 3 children.

On 4th Dec 1929 he died aged just 55, leaving a widow and 6 children, the last of his 6 children was my mother.

So there you have a synopsis of my Grandfather’s life with his few months as a PC in the Railway Police.

Just one question – Can you identify the bars just above the breast pocket on his PC’s uniform?

by John Sturt


H. W. Mustoe -  RM Certificate of Service

H. W. Mustoe – RM Certificate of Service


H. W. Mustoe – RM Certificate on Demobilisation


WebMasters Note:

BTPHG member, Richard Stacpoole-Ryding answers John’s question:

I believe the medal ribbons equate to the following:

East & West Africa Medal 1877 -1900
(He was awarded the Brass River Clasp (1894) & Benin Clasp (1897)

Royal Navy Long Service & Good Conduct Medal
(Royal Marine Artillery & Light Infantry were, and still are, entitled to the RN LS&GC medal)

Mustoe’s papers state (as noted in John Sturt’s article above) the Ashanti Medal and the above clasps to the medal. There was an Ashantee Medal 1873-1874 and only had one clasp ‘COOMASSIE’. So his papers are incorrect as far as the medal name is concerned – a case of wrong medal but right clasps. The E&W Africa Medal came immediately after the Ashantee Medal and had the same ribbon – talk about confusing! I would hazard a guess that the E&W Africa Medal was identified with the Ashantee Medal because of the same ribbon and was in a sense ‘nicknamed’ the Ashantee Medal.

The Ashanti (note different spelling) Medal 1901 had no clasp awarded to it and I would venture to say that Mustoe was not awarded this medal.


Thanks to John Sturt for providing the text and photograph of his Grandfather.

Thanks also to BTPHG member and Project Manager, Steve Beamon, whose continuing researches enabled contact to be made with Mr Sturt.