b. 28/10/1881 Sheerness, Kent. d. 23/04/1964 Portsmouth, Hampshire.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 27/02/1917 Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands.
Edmund John Pysden was born in Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey, Kent on 28 October 1881. He was the son of Frederick and Caroline Pysden. He had a sister Annie. A Coppersmith by occupation, he entered the Royal Navy as an Acting Engine Room Artificer 4th Class in October 1903. He was confirmed in that rank in January 1905 when on Sutlej and promoted to E.R.A. 3rd Class in October 1906 when on Widgeon and to E.R.A. 2nd Class in October 1910 when on Glasgow. Ranked as an Acting Artificer Engineer in September 1913 and confirmed in that rank in September 1914. Posted to the Manipur in January 1916, the ship was renamed Sandhurst in July 1916. It was on the repair ship Sandhurst, moored at Gutter Sound, Scapa Flow, that the above accident occurred and Pysden performed his gallantry in saving life. Pysden was promoted to Acting Mate (Engineering) on 7 June 1917. In 1916, he married Dorothy Ingram in Portsmouth, and they had a daughter.
On the morning of the 27th February 1917, one of the auxiliary stop valves in one of H.M. ships accidentally burst, the boiler room immediately becoming filled with dense steam. In spite of the danger of burning and suffocation from steam, and of the fact that it was impossible to draw fires or at once lift the safety valves, which rendered the possibility of a second and even worse accident highly probable, Mr Edmund John Pysden, Artificer Engineer, R.N., made several gallant attempts to enter the stokehold, and succeeded in in bringing out two men who were lying insensible on the stokehold plates, and helped to bring out others. Several of the survivors would undoubtedly have lost their lives but for the rescues effected by this officer and others. Mr Pysden also eventually succeeded in opening the safety valve, which relieved the immediate danger of a further accident. Although he had a wet rag tied over his mouth, he swallowed a considerable quantity of live steam, and was partially incapacitated by its effects. Notwithstanding the gallant efforts of Mr Pysden and other members of the ship’s company, three men lost their lives owing to the accident and nine were seriously injured.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD. SOLD AT DNW IN MAY 2011 FOR £8,000.
Dix Noonan Webb – Image of Pysden’s AM medal.