Life Saving Awards from the Collection of John Wilson
Date of Auction: 25th March 2013
Sold for £750
Estimate: £300 - £400
Jubilee 1887, clasp, 1897, Metropolitan Police (P.C. J. Danzey, T. Divn.); Coronation 1902, Metropolitan Police (P.S. J. Danzey, J. Div.); Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire, 4th type, bronze (John Danzey, Hackney 22nd Decr. 1899) with silver straight bar suspension and silver brooch bar, nearly very fine and better (3) £300-400
FootnoteEx R. W. Gould Collection, D.N.W. 20 September 2002.
The Times. Friday January 5th, 1900:
‘Inquest – At the Hackney Coroner’s Court yesterday, Dr Wynne Westcott held an inquest on the body of George Stephen Funnell, aged 33, a police constable attached to J Division Metropolitan Police, who died on the 2nd inst, from injuries received while attempting to save life at a fire which occurred at the Elephant and Castle public House, Wick-road, Hackney, on December 22.. The house was closed at 12.30 am, and at that time the occupants were Mrs Fowler (the wife of the land lord), Alice Maryon and Minnie Lewis (barmaids), and William Goodridge (a barman). Constable Thomas Baker, 322J, said that he discovered the fire, and the deceased with witness, Sergeant Danzey, and Constable Read, 274J, went into the house when the barman opened the door. This caused a considerable draught and the fire immediately spread in all directions. Funnell, hearing that there were other persons in the house, disappeared through the flames and witness did not see him again until after the fire had been got under. He was then rescued by witness and the other officers but he was unconscious and badly burned. The evidence of Alice Maryon and Minnie Lewis, the barmaids, showed that the deceased officer came up the stairs to rescue Mrs Fowler, the landlady, and themselves. The deceased carried Mrs Fowler and Alice Maryon through the flames, both of them being burned, and Mrs Fowler was so severely injured, that she was unable to attend the inquest, but Minnie Lewis said that she stopped to dress and collect money she had in her bedroom. She then found that her retreat had been cut off by the flames. She saw Funnell and called upon him to assist her. He did get her out of the way of the fire, but then he fell back into the bar-parlour, and she did not see him again. He was subsequently found unconscious in this room. The witness Lewis escaped by the backdoor. Sergeant Danzey, 20J, said that the other officers were so overcome that they had to go on the sick-list. One of the men nearly fell into the fire from exhaustion. Dr Hall, of Hackney Infirmary said the deceased had been badly burned. Death was due to pneumonia following on partial suffocation and burning…..’
Police Constables Danzey, Weavers, Baker, Read, and Elrick were each awarded the Society’s bronze medal for their services at a fire at the Elephant & Castle public house in Wick Road, Hackney, on 22 December 1899, in which Constable George Funnell lost his life.
Sold with further research including an article from the L.S.A.R.S. Journal No. 25 concerning the heroism of Constable Funnell, with a group photograph of the other five constables.