Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (13 January 2021)
Date of Auction: 13th January 2021
Sold for £2,600
Estimate: £2,400 - £2,800
Queen’s Gallantry Medal (Nigel Timothy Bryant) with Royal Mint case of issue; Police L.S. & G.C., E.II.R., 2nd issue (Sergt Nigel T Bryant) with Royal Mint case of issue, extremely fine (2) £2,400-£2,800
FootnoteQ.G.M. London Gazette 18 March 1975 Nigel Timothy Bryant, Constable, Kent County Constabulary (in a joint citation with Inspector Robert Roxby Neville and Sergeant Arthur Kelso, both Kent County Constabulary):
‘When an emergency call was received in the early hours of the morning that a man had fallen from a pier into the River Thames, the area car crew, which included Constable Bryant, were already engaged on another call nearby. Leaving the other crew member to deal with this, Constable Bryant went to the pier. He saw a man struggling in the water some 30 yards from the shore. Pausing only to remove his jacket and shoes the Constable entered the water and swam to the man and with some difficulty was able to bring him alongside the pier supports.
Inspector Neville and Sergeant Kelso had also been notified of the incident and drove to the pier. On arrival they found a number of onlookers on the pier steps and from what they were told they were able to locate Constable Bryant by means of a hand torch. The Constable had managed to find a hold on the supports and was holding the man. While Sergeant Kelso returned to the police car for a rope to lower to the Constable, Inspector Neville, believing that Constable Bryant would need some assistance in securing a rope, prepared to enter the water.
At that moment the man started to struggle with Constable Bryant and broke free. He was again found with the aid of a hand torch and seen to be about 40 yards from the shore. Realising now that the man was in the river by design and not accident, Inspector Neville made sure that Constable Bryant was all right, and then entered the river. He swam to the point where the man had last been seen, searched and finally found him floating just beneath the surface. He dragged the man to the surface and tried to calm him, but he struggled violently with the officer and several times dragged him beneath the water. Inspector Neville managed to break the man’s grip and was successful in keeping him on the surface.
In the meantime Sergeant Kelso had collected a rope and returned to the pier. He could see Inspector Neville and the man struggling in the water; he quickly stripped and dived 20 feet into the river. He swam to Inspector Neville and the man who had by now been carried some 80 to 100 yards up river by the current. Together the two police officers were able to contain the man’s violent struggling, despite being pulled beneath the surface again on a number of occasions. Eventually they were able to wrap the rope round him and temporarily secure him.
The officers held on to the man until the Port of London Authority launch manoeuvred alongside them and dropped another rope which after some difficulty they managed to wrap around the man. The crew and the police officers managed to drag the man into the boat, but he continued to be extremely violent and a doctor also boarded the launch from another vessel. It took the efforts of two members of the crew, the two police officers and the doctor to restrain him.
In entering the river at a point where it is extremely dangerous due to underwater currents Inspector Neville, Sergeant Kelso and Constable Bryant all displayed outstanding courage and a complete disregard for their personal safety when they rescued this mentally unbalanced man.’