The Royal Irish Regiment

E M Panter-Downes

In the autumn of 1898 the bronze medal of the Royal Humane Society was presented to Lieutenant E M Panter-Downes by Colonel W Lawrence who was Commanding the 18th Royal Irish regimental district. In August 1898 Lt Panter-Downes and Captain Vigors went for a swim at Kilkee in County Clare and saw a man's clothes on the rocks. Looking out to sea, which was very choppy at that time, they saw a man, exhausted and in difficulty. Lt Panter-Downes jumped in and swam 40 yards to rescue him. He brought the man back to an iron ladder where Captain Vigors, with great difficulty, helped them out as huge waves were crashing against the wall.

Edward Martin Panter-Downes was born on 3rd Dec 1872 at Rushford rectory in Thetford, Norfolk, the son of a naval captain. He was educated at Clifton College, where he proved to be a good rugby player, and RMA Sandhurst before entering the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment in 1894. He was a lieutenant in 1897 and a captain in Sep 1901. He served in South Africa from 1899 to 1902 and with the West African Frontier Force from 1909 to 1911. He transferred to the 2nd Battalion in 1911 with the rank of major and was seconded to the Gold Coast Regiment as acting colonel. He returned in time for the First world War but was killed at the battle of Le Cateau in the retreat from Mons on 26th August 1914. He left a widow, Marie Kathleen and a daughter, Mollie, who became a well-known author. His name is carved on the Clifton College Memorial Arch.

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by Stephen Luscombe