Henry Edward Pargiter AM

b. 17/01/1871 Hampstead, London.  d. 29/09/1916 Basra, Mesopotamia (now Iraq).

DATE OF AM ACTION: 30/08/1906 Ferozepore, India.

Henry was the youngest of eight children born to Joseph Daniel and Harriet Mary (nee Hagg). After basic schooling, Henry became a baker’s apprentice, before enlisting in the Royal Artillery as No 72641 Driver. He served in the UK and India before a transfer to the Bengal Unattached List as a Sergeant on 11th April 1897. On 20th September 1898 he married Maud Stanis Lacnam at Dinapore, and they had a son and two daughters. Sadly, their son died in infancy. He was promoted to Sub Conductor in 1904 and then Conductor in 1906 just after the incident at Ferozepore. He was presented with his Albert Medal at the Delhi Durbar on 13th December 1911 by King George V. His AM and other medals were stolen from his barracks in Kirkee when he was on leave from December 8th-15th 1914. A duplicate was issued on 3rd June 1915. Henry died of cholera whilst in Basra on 29th September 1916, aged 45.

 

AM CITATION:

On the 30th August, 1906. a fire broke out in one of the Magazines of the Ferozepore Arsenal comprising 5 cells, in which were stored cordite, small arms’ ammunition and gunpowder. At an early stage the ends of one of the outer cells (No. 10) were blown out by an explosion of cordite, while from cell No. 9, where small arms ammunition was stored, smoke was seen to be issuing. Major-General Anderson, who directed the subsequent operations from a roof at the edge of the Magazine Compound, at a distance of some 20 yards, having ordered all persons to be cleared out of the fort, and placed a cordon round it at 1,000 yards distance, a steam fire engine was got to work, and the fire party which had been organized commenced their highly dangerous task of clearing cell No. 8, in which was stored some 19,000 Ibs. of gunpowder; they eventually succeeded in so doing, thereby cutting off the fire by the intervention of an empty cell. Had the powder in this cell exploded, the explosion must have been communicated to cells in an adjoining magazine, where 300,000 Ibs. of gunpowder were stored. Captain Donovan volunteered to clear cell No. 8, and led the fire party, and all concerned acted with the greatest coolness in circumstances calling for a high degree of courage. The door of the cell was opened and the fire hose turned on. Major Campbell joined the party by the cell, and returned in a short while and reported to General Anderson that though the cell was full of smoke, and the barrels hot, there was .no actual fire in the cell. As, however, the explosions in the ruined cell No. 10 were becoming more violent, General Anderson, fearing that the barrels of powder which were being removed from cell No. 8 would be ignited, ordered the discontinuance of efforts to clear the cell; the pumping engine was, however, kept at work by Mr, POW. and. some native assistants. A series of heavy explosions of cordite now took place, and on the occurrence of a lull Captain Clarke went to reconnoitre, and reported that cell No. 9 was still apparently intact. Major Campbell and Mr. Pargiter subsequently went into the enclosure to investigate, and on their report being received a party including 50 lascars was organized, and the removal of the powder barrels in cell No. 8 was recommenced under cover of the fire hose. During their removal the last important explosion of cordite took place some 12 yards away. Eventually all the barrels were removed without accident.

 

BURIAL LOCATION: BASRA WAR CEMETERY, IRAQ.

PLOT III, ROW N, GRAVE 16.

LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.

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