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A fine ‘Birmingham Blitz’ George Medal pair awarded to John Hadley, Member of an A.R.P. Rescue Party on the occasion of the devastating raid on the B.S.A. Works at Small Heath on the night of 19-20 November 1940 - the original recommendation concludes with the statement that ‘the Regional Commissioner considers that Hadley’s actions deserve the George Cross.’
George Medal, G.VI.R., 1st issue officially named to: John Hadley

Defence Medal unnamed as issued.

Mounted as worn, good very fine.

G.M. London Gazette 11 April 1941:
‘John Hadley, Member, A.R.P. Rescue Party, Birmingham.
As a result of aerial bombardment a four storey building collapsed. A man and a girl, who had taken shelter under a bench on the ground floor, were buried under the wreckage. Hadley, after three hours of effort with an oxy-acetylene apparatus, succeeded in cutting a way to the trapped couple, and rescued them. The precarious nature and weight of the debris made any form of propping or support for a tunnel impossible. The building was burning and work was suspended several times so that water could be directed into the tunnel. Hadley displayed great courage and determination in the face of grave danger.’
Lord Dudley, the Regional Commissioner, made a recommendation for the award of the George Cross to Hadley but this was refused on the basis that a works electrician, A. F. Stevens, had been gazetted for the George Medal in January 1941 for the same incident and for a similar act of gallantry.
The night of 19th-20th November 1940 saw the first major aerial raid launched on Birmingham as part of a campaign by the German Luftwaffe designed to break the Brummie spirit. Coming five days after the destruction of Coventry, Birmingham fell prey to the most severe attack during the course of the Second World War. Lasting nearly all night the nine hours’ of intense bombing by 440 bombers killed 450 people and badly injured 540 others. Around 400 tonnes of high explosives were dropped during the raid – Hitler’s retaliation for British raids on Hamburg, Bremen and Kiel. Factories damaged in the raid included Lucas Industries and G.E.C. works and the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) factory was also badly damaged – 53 employees were killed as they took shelter behind blast walls, 89 were injured, 30 of them seriously, and rifle production was said to have been halted for three months as a result.
Sold with research including copied ‘Secret’ and confidential reports on the B.S.A. works raid and Selection Committee recommendation for the George Medal which concludes with the statement that ‘the Regional Commissioner considers that Hadley’s actions deserve the George Cross.’

Product Code: EM3246

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