Life Saving Awards from the Collection of John Wilson

Date of Auction: 25th March 2013

Sold for £300

Estimate: £300 - £350

Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire, 4th type, silver (George Ward, West Hartlepool, 29th Oct. 1901) suspension bar slightly bent, edge bruising, about very fine £300-350


Ref: The Times – 6 December 1901, p.7. ‘The Royal Society for the Protection of Life from Fire has just awarded its silver medal and five guineas to George Ward, West Hartlepool, for an act of exceptional bravery there on October 29. A man named Callaghan, employed by the South Durham Steel and Iron Company, fell into a pit 17ft deep, in which were several ingots of fluid steel which had been drawn from a Siemen’s furnace. In spite of the terrible temperature Ward lowered himself into the pit and found Callaghan between two ingots, but on taking hold of him found the flesh on his arms already giving way. Finding himself being overcome by the intense heat, Ward had to leave the pit, but returning, he succeeded in taking Callaghan out, but he died two hours later. Ward’s clothing was burned to a cinder and he narrowly escaped the fate of his comrade.’