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sufficient evidence to justify me in recommending them for the Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient servant.’
Henry Singleton Pennell VC did not, like many war heroes die on the battlefield. Instead, he died while on holiday in Switzerland with brother officers. Many Devon newspapers had something to say about him at the time - his deeds were very well-known throughout the county - we have selected his local newspaper - the Dawlish Gazette to tell the outline of the story of his life. This is followed by an account of his untimely death from a New Zealand newspaper. His obvious courage shines through in both accounts.
From the Dawlish Gazette
26 January 1907
A Reuter’s telegram, from St Moritzdorf, Switzerland, dated Sunday last, said Captain Henry Singleton Pennell VC, Staff captain of the Administrative Staff on the Southern Command, died here last night as a result of injuries sustained in an accident on the Cresta Toboggan Run.
Captain Pennell was the second son of Mr Edwin Pennell formerly of Dawlish and presently residing in Exeter. The family of Pennells are held in much respect in this town and Dawlishians heard with extreme regret of the sad occurrence which cut short the career of this brilliant young officer. Born in Dawlish in June, 1874, the deceased was educated at Eastbourne College and joined the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbyshire Regiment) in 1893. He served with the 2nd Battalion of his regiment in the Tirah Expeditionary Force of 1897 under Sir William Lockhart. He was present at the storming of the Dargai Heights (He was mentioned in Despatches at the capture of the Sampsgha and Arhanga Passes) and in the operation in the Khaki Mastura ,Waran and Bazar Valleys.
The act for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross (he also held the India medal with two clasps), took place in the attack on the Dargai Heights. Captain W. E. C. Smith of the Sherwood Forester was struck down, whereupon, Lieutenant Pennell ran to his assistance and made two distinct attempts, under what was described as “a perfect hail of bullets” to carry and drag him back to cover, and only desisted when he found Captain Smith was dead.
The late Captain Pennell also served in the South African War with the West Yorkshire regiment and took part in several engagements including the Relief of Ladysmith, the action at Colenso, the operations at Spion Kop, the actions at Vaal Krantz and Pieter’s Hill (at the latter of which he was wounded). Lang’s Nek and in the Transvaal and east and west of Pretoria, being twice mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with five clasps.
The news was received with profound regret in Salisbury. The distinguished captain who held the appointment of staff-captain at the headquarters of Administration, Southern Command, was held in great respect by all ranks, and was a welcome guest at social functions in