Promoted Chief Motor Mechanic 1 September 1917
Demoted to Motor Mechanic 5 September 1918
Excerpt from The Motor Launch Patrol by Donald Maxwell. . It requires courage of no mean order to stand on the unprotected deck of a frail wooden craft and go steadily on into an enemy port under a murderous fire, and go alongside a ship that is being hammered by half a dozen shore batteries, as the block-ships were hammered by the German guns; yet M.L.283 was alongside Brilliant once, and twice alongside Sirius, on the night of 22nd. April, and M.L.532 was with her until her accident. M.L.276 was alongside Brilliant that night and twice alongside Vindictive with M.L.254 on the night of 9th May
Chivers is one of the ratings Keyes (1919) notes in his description of Lieutenant Ronald Bourke, D.S.O. RNVR. who "volunteered for rescue work in command of M.L.276, and followed Vindictive into Ostend, engaging the enemy’s machine on both piers with Lewis guns. After M.L.254 had backed out, Lieut. Bourke laid his vessel alongside Vindictive to make further search. Finding no one he withdrew but hearing cries in the water he again entered the harbor, and after a prolonged search eventually found Lieutenant Sir John Alleyne and two ratings, all badly wounded, in the water, clinging to an upended skiff, and rescued them. During all this time the motor launch was under a very heavy fire at close range, being hit in fifty-five places, once by a 6in. shell- two of her small crew being killed and others wounded. The vessel was seriously damaged and speed greatly reduced. Lieutenant Bourke, however, managed to bring her out and carry on until he fell in with a Monitor, which took him in tow. This episode displayed daring and skill of a very high order, and Lieutenant Bourke’s bravery and perseverance undoubtedly saved the lives of Lieutenant Alleyne and two of the Vindictive’s crew."
Report from the Poverty Bay Herald on a speech given by Lieutenant-Commander R. Bourke, V.C. D.S.O. Chevalier of the Legion Honor. The Ostend Operations. The first attack on Ostend was made simultaneously with the raid on Zeebrugge, and the second took place on May 10th. An attempted raid at Ostend on April 12th had given the enemy warning, said Lieutenant Bourke and on April 23rd the Huns were ready for them and had moored a guiding buoy, with the result that the block-ships, Brilliant and Sirius were misled and failed to block the entrance. The only consolation was that all the officers and crew on the sunken block-ships were rescued by the motor launches. (Applause) The block-ships on the second occasion were the Vindictive and the Sappho; but the Sappho, unfortunately, broke down on the way and could not take part in the operation. The intention had been to smoke screen both piers, and leave the entrance to the harbor clear of smoke, but a change in the wind filled the harbor mouth and the harbor with smoke and the Vindictive had to feel her way for 15 minutes before she got between the piers and she failed to completely block the harbor. On this occasion Chief Motor Mechanic Polsford, of Wellington conducted himself with great bravery and was awarded the D.S.M. (Applause) Other New Zealanders who took part in these raids were Chief Motor Mechanic Chivers of Auckland, and Lieutenants “Billy” Jones and “Tommy” Turnbull of Wellington, of the Motor Boat Patrol. Lieutenant Jones was engaged in smoke-screening on the first occasion at Zeebrugge, and on the second at Ostend, while Lieutenant Turnbull was in both the Ostend operations. “Smoking”, under the enemy’s fire, for two or three hours from two miles down to half a mile from shore on two occasions, so close together was no small test of a man’s nerve. (Applause)
Service on ML276 derived from DSM citation in the London Gazette
Reported as serving in this ML in September 1918 with NZ officer Cranahan RNVR - Palmer recruit. Fought at Zeebrugge [poss. Ostend] in MLs awarded the DSM for volunteering for dangerous rescue work at the second blocking AWMM