A fine Collection of Life Saving Awards

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Date of Auction: 12th December 2012

Sold for £880

Estimate: £400 - £500

A ‘London Blitz’ B.E.M. pair awarded to Jack Weeks, for rescue work at Tottenham Court Road on the night of 24 September 1940

British Empire Medal, (Civil) G.VI.R., 1st issue (Jack Weeks); Defence Medal, unnamed, edge bruising, nearly very fine (2)
£400-500

Footnote

B.E.M. London Gazette 27 June 1941. ‘John Wilkins, Leader; Jack Weeks, Labourer, A.R.P. Rescue Party, Holborn’ ‘Owing to enemy action buildings collapsed and caught fire. People were trapped in a ground floor room and Wilkins, followed by Weeks, reached it through a service hatch. Two brick columns leant over towards a wall and between these was a large heap of debris. Hindered by the fire raging on the other side of the wall and drenched by fireman’s hoses, Wilkins and Weeks removed the debris. Because of the removal of this support to the leaning columns, the whole of the wreckage was liable to collapse on to them. They were finally successful in extricating a woman, who was passed to safety through the safety hatch.’

A report by the Officer in Charge of the Rescue Services, Holborn, adds further details: ‘At about 21.30 hours on the 24th September 1940, a mine fell in Tottenham Court Road outside the Central Y.M.C.A. premises. Wilkins was the leader of the first rescue party to arrive and he proceeded to help in searching for casualties on the upper floors and in their removal to the basement. On the completion of this work he and his men came out of the building. Wilkins was then informed by a Warden that there were trapped casualties in the rear premises at the side of the Blue Posts Public House on the opposite side of Tottenham Court Road at the corner of Hanway Street. On this side of the road many buildings had collapsed and fierce fires were raging. Wilkins was taken into a ground floor room and shown the adjoining room where the casualties were. He gained access to the latter room through a service hatch the small size of which would only permit one of his men, Weeks, to follow. .......’

With copied gazette extracts and other reports.