Robert Dunn Dow AM

b. 22/06/1855 Aberdeen, Scotland. d. 31/10/1932 Wallington, Surrey.

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

Robert D Dow AM

Robert was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, one of six children of William Saunders and Ann Dow (nee Dunn). By 1861, the family had moved to England and settled in Plumstead, London. In 1879, he married Ann Eliza Baker in Woolwich, London. They had eight children, with three of the sons serving in World War I. He spent most of his post-Army retirement in Surrey. His wife Ann died in 1930, and he re-married to Lilian Edith Proctor, just a few months before he died on 31st October 1932.



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 1000 yards distance, a .steam fire engine was got to work, and the fire party which had been organised commenced their highly dangerous task of clearing cell No. 8, in which was stored some 19,000 Ib. of gunpowder; they eventually succeeded in so doing, thereby cutting of 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 Ib. 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. Dow and some native assistants. A series of heavy explosions of cordite now took place, and on the occurrence of a lull, Captain Clark 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 organised, 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.






Allan Stanistreet – Image of Robert Dunn Dow AM.