Herbert Cummings French AM

b. 22/11/1869 Quebec, Canada. d. 13/10/1913 Marylebone, London.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 17/11/1902 Straits of Malacca.

Herbert C French AM

Herbert was the son of Major General Sir George French KCMG, of the Royal Artillery, who became the first commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Herbert was educated in England, and trained as a doctor, being commissioned as a Captain. He then served in the Boer War in South Africa. He was promoted to Surgeon Major by April 1905 and became an expert on syphillis, and wrote several papers on it in the British Medical Journal. He also received the Royal Humane Society Silver Medal for the rescue.



While His Majesty’s transport ” Wakool” was steaming, at the rate of about 12 knots an hour, through the Straits of Malacca, on the 17th November, 1902, a native fireman jumped overboard. Captain French, who was a passenger on board, immediately dived off the promenade deck, a height of about 36 feet from the water, and swam to the place where he had observed the man. Before he reached the spot the man had disappeared, and Captain French was obliged to make for a lifebuoy, as he was exhausted with the weight of his clothing. Subsequently both were rescued by the ship’s lifeboat. Captain French incurred considerable risk, as a strong current was running at the time, and he might have been drawn under the propellers of the ship. He was also in danger of sharks and water snakes, which are known to frequent the Straits of Malacca.



West Portion, Compartment 6.



Allan Stanistreet – Image of Herbert French AM.