b. ? d. ?
DATE OF AM ACTION: 30/05/1881 between Calcutta and London.
Very little is known about Francis Pitts AM other than his action aboard SS Pleiades.
At about 7 a.m., on the 30th May last, while the Pleiades was running before a very heavy south-westerly gale, an able seaman was washed overboard. Three life buoys were at once thrown to him, and the engines slowed. Soon after the lookout man reported him to be on the starboard beam, but owing to the tremendous sea that was running the Master deemed it unsafe to lower a boat, and for the same reason it was impossible, without imperilling the ship, to turn her to the direction of the man. The Master then, knowing Mr. Pitts to be a fair swimmer, called upon him to attempt the rescue of the man by swimming to him with a line. Without a moment’s hesitation Mr. Pitts jumped overboard with the line, but after going about 300 yards he was obliged to let go the line and swim towards the ship. So great was the force of the waves that he was carried past the ship and was not rescued without much difficulty. When taken out of the water he was quite exhausted.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD. SOLD AT DNW IN MAY 2019 FOR £4,400.
Dix Noonan Webb – Image of the Pitts AM medal.