b. ? 1821 d. 13/08/1886 Brighton, Sussex.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 20/06/1868 Karachi Harbour, (then India).
Very little is known about Captain Edward Giles other than his AM action. He died in Brighton on 13th August 1886 and is buried in Hove Cemetery.
The barque “Alicia,” of Greenock, was driven upon the bar of Kurrachee Harbour, at 4-20 P.M. of the 20th June, 1868, in very heavy weather, and at the height of a south-west monsoon, when the bar is epvered with a continuous line of heavy breakers at all times of tide. The sea at once made a complete breach over the vessel, washing boats and everything else from her decks and obliging the crew to take to the mizen rigging. CAPTAIN GILES, the Master Attendant, and Mr. Robert Henry Mason., Senior. Pilot at Kurrachee, made attempts to reach the stranded vessel in two boats twenty-five feet long, fitted as life boats, and manned by natives. CAPTAIN GILES’ boat on entering the breakers was swept back half filled, but was carried into comparatively smooth water. By great exertion however, he brought her within 50 feet of the vessel, the confused mass of surging wreck threatening instant destruction if he had approached nearer. The shipwrecked crew were at first too frightened to attempt to leave their vessel, but eventually, upon a light line being successfully flung on board of her, two seamen and the pilot hauled themselves by means of it through the water, and were got into the boat. The boat up to this time had been kept clear by bailing, but now, being half filled by a heavy sea which struck her, was compelled at once to return, and the three men were transferred to another boat waiting in smooth water. A little before sunset CAPTAIN GILES was again by the wreck, passing through the midst of broken spars and all kinds of wreckage. Having rescued six more men, he was taking them ashore when a wave rolled over the boat and filled her, breaking her rudder and six oars, and sweeping three of her crew overboard. The following roller fortunately carried these men into smooth water, where they were picked up by the waiting boats. Both of the station life boats were now disabled; but as some of the crew still remained on board the “Alicia,” CAPTAIN GILES determined upon a further attempt in the boat of the tug “Dagmar.” This boat was fitted with cork floats, tut was heavy. After great exertion the wreck was reached, and the remaining men, with the exception of the master, were got into the boat, when she was carried away half filled. The master of the ” Alicia,” who had jumped overboard with a plank, was carried in the direction of the waiting boats, and ultimately picked up. The Commissioner of Scinde, in bringing the case to the notice of the Governor of Bombay, bears testimony to the ” conspicuous bravery” of CAPTAIN GILES, in thus rescuing fourteen persons during a strong gale of wind and very high sea, a service which occupied three hours, at any moment of which the boats in the surf ran risk of being swamped.
BURIAL LOCATION: HOVE CEMETERY, HOVE, SUSSEX.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL WAR MUSEUM, JOHANNESBURG, SA.