Port trust employees, Parsis were in WWI

The war column in Khareghat Colony, created “in pious memory of the Zoroastrians, who died doing their duty during the Great War”, was unveiled in 1926 by Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy. “In his speech, he dwelt upon the havoc and distress wrought by the Great War,“ says a Times of India report on the inauguration. “He concluded by hoping that the memorial would teach future generations to stand by their rulers and be patriotic.“

The inscription on the cenotaph is in English, Gujarati and the ancient Avestan language. “We are perhaps the only civil organization in India, which over the years has been paying homage to these soldiers on our community’s day of the dead,“ says Vispi Dastur, president of the Bombay Parsee Association which organises an annual function

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  • Dear Nergish,

    I read your article in today’s TOI on p.8.
    I am attaching a note on Pirojshaw Palamkote who served during World War I.
    Late Pherozeshah Dinshawji Sorabji Palamkote (1871-1949)

    He served the Bombay Municipality in Roads department. During World War I he was held as a prisoner by Turks in the battle of Kut-Al-Amara. He held the post of 2nd lieutenant and lieutenant in the erstwhile Parsi Battalion. He served for many years in the Parsi Ambulance Division, St.John Ambulance Brigade. His services during World War I were mentioned in despatches and the then Viceroy of India and Governor of Bombay sent him letters of thanks. He was the father of Rustom Palamkote, the fire brigade officer who died in the explosion at Bombay Docks..

    He passed away at age 78 on Roz 28, Mah 10 Dae 1318 Y.Z. 27th June, 1949. (Source: Parsee Prakash Vol. VIII p. 362, 363)

    On 28th December, 1922 he was named Platoon Commander in the First Territorial Battalion, Bombay Pioneers in the Gazette of India. (Parsee Prakash Vol. VI p. 90)

    On 20th October, 1923 he was granted honorary Kings Commission as 2nd lieutenant in 11th Battalion, Second Bombay Volunteers. (Parsee Prakash Vol. VI p. 125)

    The services of Mr. Palamkote, surveyor of Bombay Municipality were requisitioned by War Department. In June 1915 he left as Divisional Treasurer of Mesopotamian Force D on behalf of Poona Volunteer Rifles. When he was held prisoner by Turks he used his presence of mind, patience and determination to help officers, soldiers and the sick.

    When the Arabs plundered and set fire to 25 military boats near Shaikh Said carrying food, the very next day he took 56 boats laden with food as a British warrant officer from Amara to Kut.

    The siege of Kut-Al-Amara lasted 150 days. He set in order the administration of the hospital. He helped in cutting hair and washing clothes and won the appreciation of his officers.

    King George from Buckingham Palace sent him a message in 1918 thanking him for his services.

    Major Saunders on returning to Bombay from leave in the U.K. went to his home to congratulate Mrs. Palamkote for the services rendered by her husband. As Mrs. Palamkote was in the maternity hospital at Fort he called her to congratulate her and presented Rs. 200/- to her and Rs. 100/- to her son. (Jame Jamshed 1-3-1920) (Source: Parsee Prakash Vol. V p. 223, 224)

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