Life Saving Awards from the Collection of John Wilson

Date of Auction: 25th March 2013

Sold for £580

Estimate: £300 - £350

Four: Fireman Harry Blann, Worthing Fire Brigade

Defence Medal, unnamed; Society for the Protection of Life from Fire, 5th type, bronze (Harry Blann, Worthing, 25-4-40) edge bruising; National Fire Brigades Association L.S. Medal, 1 clasp, Ten Years (11499 Harry Blann) bronze; British Fire Services Association L.S. Medal, for 20 Years (H. Blann) silver, with ‘B.F.S.A.’ top bar, mounted for display; together with St. John Ambulance Association Re-Examination Cross, bronze (367683 Harry Blann) in named card box of issue; Identity Disk ‘726072 Blann H.’ ‘N.F.S. 32’, very fine and better (6) £300-350


Ex D.N.W. 2 March 2005.

Worthing Herald, Friday, April 26, 1949, p.1 ‘Fire Chief Saves Women Trapped in Bedroom’ – Two women – one aged 87 and the other 77 – were carried to safety from the window of a top floor bedroom in a smoke-filled house in Western Place in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Both were rushed to Worthing Hospital. The elder, Miss Annie Sharpe, who sustained head injuries, was stated to be in a serious condition. Her friend, Miss Annie Ingram, has recovered.

Fire had broken out in a kitchen on the ground floor of Edgeworth, 17 Western Place. And the dense smoke which made it impossible for firemen to reach the door of the bedroom threatened them with suffocation.

Chief Officer H.J. Jones ordered a fire escape to be run up to the window, which is about 35 feet from the ground. He mounted the escape, shattered the window and called to the frightened women. So thick was the smoke that he could not see or reach them. While Fireman H. Bann donned a breathing apparatus the Chief Officer talked to the women to keep up their spirits. Fireman Blann entered the room and lifted Miss Ingram onto the Chief Officer’s shoulder. Mr Jones carried her to the street below and returned for Miss Sharp.

Immediately after he had carried the second woman to safety, the Chief Officer, overcome with smoke, collapsed. He was carried to Haslett’s Garage, which is an A.R.P. centre, and recovered consciousness after treatment.

Five children and ten adults were sleeping in the house, which is let off as flat, and had not Mr Thomas Squires, whose bedroom was on the first floor, smelt smoke when he got up for a drink of water at about 2.30 more lives would have been in danger. Mr Squires dashed downstairs, knocking on all the doors as he went and one of the men sleeping on the ground floor phoned for the fire brigade. Police arrived and ordered all the occupants to leave the house. They were made comfortable at the garage across the road.

“The place was one mass of smoke and flames when I carried my baby downstairs,” said a woman sleeping on the first floor.

The kitchen on the ground floor was completely destroyed and that on the first floor was partly damaged.’

Case 17,410: Chief Officer H. J. A. Jones awarded the Silver Medal; Fireman Harry Blann awarded the Bronze Medal. With a newspaper clipping from the Worthing Herald bearing a picture of Blann being presented with his life-saving medal by The Mayor, Alderman E. A. Brackley. With copied research.