REGARDING Sir Henry Benbow KCB DSO 1838-1916, I wonder if I might seek the help of your readers?
I am trying to obtain details of Sir Henry Benbow, an extraordinarily brave man and an outstanding practical and professional engineer who went on to become the Royal Navy’s Chief Engineer and was buried in Ocklynge Cemetery, Eastbourne in 1916.
He came to fame in the Sudan during the failed attempt to rescue General Gordon at Khartoum in 1885 while serving in the Nile gunboat Safieh.
While at Wad Habeshi she was hit by a shell which penetrated her boiler and all those below were scalded.
With only hand tools under conditions of appalling heat and continuous fire from the enemy ashore, he succeeded in drilling and patching the boiler.
Some 12 hours later the Safieh was able to get under way and steam to the assistance and eventual evacuation of the British army force which otherwise would have been massacred.
His Commanding Officer, Lord Charles Beresford, said of Benbow that had he known the rules he would have recommended him for a Victoria Cross.
Born in Croydon, it would appear that he spent many of his final years in Sussex and addresses for him include Merton House, Ringmer; 4 Seaside Road, Eastbourne; Osbourne House, Eastbourne and Habeshi, Darman’s Park, Lingfield, Surrey.
I am particularly keen to find out if he has relatives in the area but would be grateful for any other information on this splendid man.
8 Telford Terrace
London SW1V 3AE