Order of the Rising Sun of Japan

Contributed by Fiona

Order of the Rising Sun of Japan

My Great Grandfather, Sir Charles Walker, was appointed Accountant General of the Navy in 1918. Japan had been an important ally, particularly through its ships in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, during the First World War, and there were good relations between the Royal Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy, in which my great grandfather must have been involved.

His award of the Order of the Rising Sun, second Class, is dated "the ninth day of the twelfth month of the eighth year of Taisho," (1920) "corresponding to the two thousand five hundred and seventy-ninth year after the coronation of the Emperor Jimmu." It is signed by the Emperor Yoshihito.

My great grandfather died on October 2, 1940, fourteen months before Pearl Harbour (December 7, 1941) and the sinking by the Japanese Navy of the British battleship Prince of Wales and battle cruiser Repulse three days later, with the loss of 840 men. Churchill commented later on this disaster: "In all the war, I never received a greater shock."

The Order is an illustration of the fragility of alliances - of which a later example was the support given by America and Britain to Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war.

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