Thomas Salter Pyne

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Caricature of Pyne by Spy for Vanity Fair, 1900 Thomas Salter Pyne Vanity Fair 15 February 1900.jpg
Caricature of Pyne by Spy for Vanity Fair, 1900

Sir Thomas Salter Pyne CSI (1860–1921) was a British engineer based in Afghanistan.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.



He was born in Broseley,Shropshire, the son of John Pyne and Alice Salter. He was apprenticed to an engineer at the age of 15, becoming manager of a foundry and engineering works by 1879.

In 1883 he went out to India, where he worked for the merchant Thomas Acquin Martin for a few years. In 1887, when Martin was appointed Agent by Abdur Rahman Khan, the Amir of Afghanistan, he was sent by Martin to Kabul to be Chief Engineer of Afghanistan. There, as the first European to live in Afghanistan since the Second Anglo-Afghan War of 1879–81, he trained the local people to make guns, swords, ammunition, coins, soap, candles, etc. On behalf of Martin's firm, he built an arsenal, a mint and various factories and workshops, employing in total some 4000 workers.

Sir Thomas Acquin Martin, was an English industrial pioneer in India, and agent-general for Afghanistan.

Abdur Rahman Khan Emir of Afghanistan, 1880-1901

Abdur Rahman Khan was Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901. He is known for uniting the country after years of internal fighting. He is also known for signing the controversial Durand Line Agreement with British India.

Kabul Metropolis and municipality in Afghanistan

Kabul is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan, located in the eastern section of the country. It is also a municipality, forming part of the greater Kabul Province. According to estimates in 2019, the population of Kabul is 5.266 million, which includes all the major ethnic groups of Afghanistan. Rapid urbanization had made Kabul the world's 75th largest city.

In 1893 he was sent to India by the Amir as a Special Ambassador, and at the conclusion of the negotiations was invested a Companion of the Order of the Star of India (CSI) and knighted [1] by the British government in recognition of his services. He was also a vital contact with the Durand Mission who were defining the borders of Afghanistan. He left the Amir's service in 1899 because of failing health and was replaced by Thomas Martin's younger brother Frank. He received a diamond inlaid watch from the Amir as a token of thanks.

Order of the Star of India order of chivalry of the British Empire

The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1861. The Order includes members of three classes :

  1. Knight Grand Commander (GCSI)
  2. Knight Commander (KCSI)
  3. Companion (CSI)

The dignity of Knight Bachelor is the basic and lowest rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised orders of chivalry; it is a part of the British honours system. Knights Bachelor are the most ancient sort of British knight, but Knights Bachelor rank below knights of chivalric orders.

Durand Line Afghanistan-Pakistan border

The Durand Line is an international 2,200-kilometre (1,400 mi) border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was established in 1893 between Sir Mortimer Durand, a British diplomat and civil servant of the British Raj, and Abdur Rahman Khan, the Afghan Amir, to fix the limit of their respective spheres of influence and improve diplomatic relations and trade. Afghanistan was considered by the British as an independent state at the time, although the British controlled its foreign affairs and diplomatic relations.

He died in 1921. Sir Mortimer Durand said of him 'Pyne has gained a remarkable position in Afghanistan... The more I have to do with him, the more respect I feel for his sagacity.'

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  1. "No. 26501". The London Gazette . 6 April 1894. p. 1953.