George Paterson Niven EGM

George Paterson Niven (1898 ? – 02/02/1947) was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal for his actions on 26/07/1929 at Skiathos, Greece, as a member of the crew of HMS Devonshire.

“On 25th July 1929, HMS Devonshire was carrying out full calibre firing when at the first salvo there was a massive explosion in X turret, which blew off the turret roof. Marine Albert Streams was the only man in the gun turret not killed or badly wounded. He climbed to the top of the turret but, on looking down and seeing the conditions, he climbed back into the smoke and flames, notwithstanding the grave risk of further explosions. He then helped evacuate the dead and wounded; when all were removed, he collapsed. Anthony Cobham GC then took stretcher parties, including Niven, aft and ordered one crew to follow him and the other to rig hoses. On reaching the turret, they assisted the men who were on fire. Cobham and Niven did what they could for them and then went into the turret, where there was still a lot of cordite burning fiercely.”

Niven and Cobham were both awarded the EGM, which was eventually exchanged for the new George Cross in 1940. Niven died in Birmingham on 2nd February 1949 and is buried in an unmarked grave in Yardley Cemetery, Birmingham.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 16/03/2017. Image and information courtesy of Mark Green

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