Pigeon, John Walter (1886-1920)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who have lost their lives in the service of their country, 1919-1939 and 1946 to date.
If you have any additional information about this individual, or if you use one of our images, we would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or email us via the Sherborne School Archives website: oldshirburnian.org.uk/school-archives/contact-the-school-...
Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: John Walter Pigeon (1886-1920), born on 25 December 1886 in Hull, son of Dr Henry Walter Pigeon and Ellen Elizabeth Pigeon (nee Grindley), 6 Albion Street, Hull. Married to Elsa/Elsie Marie Pigeon (nee Nash). Lived at 17 Oppidans Road, Primrose Hill, Middlesex.
Attended Hymers College, Hull.
Attended Sherborne School (Abbeylands), September 1902-August 1905; 6th form. Took part in the 1905 Sherborne Pageant www.flickr.com/photos/sherborneschoolarchives/15355367973..., www.flickr.com/photos/sherborneschoolarchives/18006456609...
Attended Christ’s College, Cambridge (1st class Natural Science, 1908; bachelor scholar; President of the Cambridge Old Shirburnian Society).
St Bartholomew’s Hospital, MRCS, LRCP, 1912.
1st in examination for Commission in the Indian Medical Service, 1914.
Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps; no.12, Indian General Hospital, Indian Expeditionary Force (despatches); Indian Medical Service.
Killed in action on 3 September 1920 in Samawa, Mesopotamia.
Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, plot XVII, A.1/29.
Sherborne School Book of Remembrance.
The War Record of Christ’s College Boat Club (1914-1918):
Pigeon, J.W. m. 1905:
2nd Lent VIII 1906 Stroke Captain Indian Medical Service, 2nd Lent VIII 1907 Stroke, 2nd May VIII 1907 Stroke, 2nd Lent VIII 1908 Stroke, 2nd May VIII 1908 6, 2nd May VIII 1909 Stroke.
Killed in action in Mesopotamia after the armistice.
Capt. John Walter Pigeon, M.A., who was killed in action in Mesopotamia on 3 Sept. 1920, was the son of Henry Walter Pigeon, F.R.C.S., M.Ch., of the College. He was born at Hull 25 Dec. 1886 and was educated at Sherborne School. Coming into residence in 1905 he graduated in the 1st class of the Natural Sciences Tripos in 1908 and was elected to a Bachelor Scholarship. In 1909 he entered St Bartholomew’s Hospital and qualified three years later and entered the Indian Medical Service. He served throughout the war and was mentioned in despatches. Captain Pigeon was an earnest, steady student, but one of those who by devotion to their immediate duty help the World and their fellow-creatures toward better things.
The Siege of Samawa I
The weakest part of the British defence network lay a few hundred yards south of Samawa town: here, a long way from the river and more or less cut off from the rest of the garrison, the British had built a railway station through which ran the Basra–Baghdad line. In order to maintain rail supplies from Khidhr station, seventeen miles to the south, it had to be defended and in August 1920 it was held by a hundred men of Napier’s Rifles and fifty troopers of the 10th Lancers, under the overall command of Lieutenant Oswald Russell, also of the 10th Lancers. Two other British officers were at this position, known as Station Camp – Second Lieutenant H.V. Fleming, commanding the Napier’s Rifles and a medical officer, Captain J. W. Pigeon. By chance, an armoured train with a 12-pounder gun was also parked at Station Camp.
The plan was for around half the men of Napier’s Rifles, led by Lieutenant Fleming, to march down the railway line in the direction of Main Camp while 200 men of the Mahrattas would sally out to meet them at a point about 400 yards from the station. Meanwhile the remainder of the Station Camp garrison would be loaded into the trucks of the armoured train which would then advance in the same direction. Lieutenant Russell and the medical officer, Captain Pigeon, would accompany the train. However, as the armoured train pulled out of the station it hit some faulty points and jumped the tracks. Seeing this, around 3,500 insurgents poured out of the town and charged towards it. Lieutenant Russell ordered his men to make their escape towards the Mahrattas’ lines as best they could. Led by Lieutenant Fleming, they soon encountered large numbers of rebels and while most of them broke through and joined their comrades, a number were killed while others were forced back into the armoured train, where they rejoined the remaining two British officers who had stayed with the wounded and sick.