|Above: Trooper Frederic William Piggin photographed just prior to his departure to South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War. The two Piggin brothers photographs had remained
together for decades until sold separately on an online auction. After a number of years they have been reunited here.
Berl Storer - Photographer
Long Eaton, Derbyshire, England
I was sadden by the loss of historical and familiar context that would result in what seemed to be the permanent separation of the pair of photographs.
Fast forward to a few short weeks ago when I found myself rummaging through the same online auction site. I was performing one of my usual keyword searches when one of the results
immediately caught my eye. Even after a decade the long lost photograph of Henry Arthur Piggin was instantly recognized. This time I was determined to acquire the image and placed a
maximum bid that would certainly guarantee my winning the auction this time around. It did.
I had researched the life and ultimately tragic military career of Frederic Piggin not long after purchasing his photograph. As one might expect I also uncovered a bit concerning his
bother Henry - they both served in the same unit during the Anglo-Boer War and World War One so some of their records were found pretty much side by side. Below is that research
along with some new additional information regarding the long lost Henry Arthur Piggin.
Frederic(k) William Piggin was born around 1877 in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, the son of Richard S. and Mary A. Piggin. The elder Piggin was a butcher and farmer of some 60 acres in
and around Long Eaton. Younger brother Henry Arthur Piggin who was born about 1880 also in Long Eaton.
Both brothers served in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War. I have found a ship's manifest for the R.M.S. Kildonan Castle that lists Mr. F.W. Piggin age 24 and Mr. H. Piggin age
21 returning to England from South Africa in 1902. Both men are listed as members of the "Col. Defce. Force". Examining the medal rolls for both the Queen's and King's South Africa
Medal reveals that both Frederic and Henry served together in 1/Kitchener's Fighting Scouts and 2/Branbant's Horse. Frederic Piggin served as Quartermaster Sergeant in
2/Barabant's Horse and Quartermaster Sergeant and Squadron Sergeant Major in 2/Kitchener's Fighting Scouts. The Queen's South Africa Medal roll shows him as being entitled to the
clasps: "Wepener", "Belfast", "Wittebergen", "Cape Colony", "Orange Free State" and "Transvaal". He was also entitled to King's South Africa Medal with its two clasps: "1901"
and "1902". His brother Henry Arthur’s medal entitlements were exactly the same so one can assume that they remained together during their entire service in South Africa.
Frederic William Piggin was wounded twice during the Anglo-Boer War. At Jammersburg Drift (severely) on 9 April 1900 and at Lindley (lightly) on 31 December 1900.
Frederic is mentioned in the as being a butcher by trade in the September 13, 1910 edition of the London Gazette with his business being located at 24 High Street in Long Eaton while
living in Hall Croft, Beeston, Nottingham.
The two Piggin brothers seem to show up again during World War I as members of the Notts Yeomanry, T.F. (South Notts Hussars). Henry Arthur Piggin is shown as a 2nd lieutenant of
the Nott's Yeomanry, then a Lieutenant in the 1st North Midland Field Ambulance and finally as a captain in the Army Remount Service. His theater of operations is shown as France on
his medal index card.
Frederic stayed in the 1/1st South Nottinghamshire Hussars (Yeomanry) during almost his entire World War I service. Serving in Salonica, Egypt and Palestine he rose to the rank of
captain and was awarded the Military Cross for actions mentioned in the 5 July, 1918 edition of the London Gazette:
"Lt. [acting captain] Frederick William Piggin, Yeo. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was in command of the leading squadron in an action, and led his men with
great skill. He advanced rapidly over very difficult country, driving back a superior force of the enemy. He cut the enemy's line of retreat, capturing two field guns and some prisoners"
Frederic Piggin remained on active service in Egypt (his unit was transferred there from Salonika in June of 1917 and remained there as part of the Desert Mounted Corps until April
Additional information regarding Frederic Piggin and his death during World War I has been kindly provided by Mr. Jean-Baptiste Piggin of Hamburg. Frederic Piggin was drowned
when the troop transport ship Leasowe Castle was torpedoed off Alexandria, Egypt on 27 May, 1918 with a loss of 83 men, officers and other ranks. His name is listed on the Chatby
Memorial which is located in Chatby War Memorial Cemetery, Alexnadria. Based on this it is probable that Piggin's body was lost at sea during the sinking.
Frederic Piggin’s promotions during World War One were as follows:
Squadron-Sergeant-Major, South Nottinghamshire Hussars - 1914
Second Lieutenant - 27 November, 1914
Temporary Lieutenant - 12 November 1915
Temporary Captain - 1 August, 1916
Lieutenant & Temporary Captain - 24th July, 1917
Acting Captain (commanding Yeo. Squadron) - 15 December, 1917
Lieutenant - 4th February, 1918
Gazetted for the Military Cross - 4th February, 1918
Drowned off Alexandria, Egypt- 27 May, 1918
For his service during the Great Was Frederic William Piggin was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals along with the Military Cross. He appears to have never married and
his medals were forwarded to his sister in Birkhamstead.
Henry Arthur Piggin was entitled to the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory Medals for service in France during the World War.
Henry survived the war which took his brother’s life and would marry Miss Kathleen Ida Cooper in September 1926. In 1931 Henry was still active as a riding instructor and dealer in
horses at Repton, Derbyshire. He passed away in Hampshire, England on 14 December 1961.
A wealth of information on the extended Piggin family can be found at Mr. Mr. Jean-Baptiste's website:
|Above: Henry Arthur Piggin photographed at his home town of Long Eaton just prior to his deployment to South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War. There is no
doubt that the two Piggin brothers where photographed at the same time by photographer Bert Storer.
Berl Storer - Photographer
Long Eaton, Derbyshire, England