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

Edward Womersley Reynolds EGM

Edward Womersley Reynolds (1917 – 14/12/1955)  was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM) for two separate incidents in Bristol in the late summer of 1940.

The Citation reads:
“Lieutenant Edward Womersley Reynolds, 101 and 102 Bomb Disposal Sections, RE.
On 17th August 1940, a 250kg bomb landed in a garden, but did not explode. On digging down 17ft, he found that it had a new type of fuse, about which no instructions had been received. However, he removed the fuse and found that it had a clockwork delayed action. This was of great merit due to the lack of any exact knowledge of this type of fuse. On 1st September a large bomb fell in Temple Street, wrecking the front of some business premises. However, on 3rd September an unexploded 250kg bomb was found in the debris. Reynolds, summoned to the scene, found it had a clockwork fuse that was still ticking; according to orders, he applied for instructions, suggesting that the sooner it was dealt with the better. Permission was given to attempt to disarm the bomb due to the effect on public morale. Lieutenant Reynolds removed the fuse and rendered the bomb inoperative. The risk in doing so was very considerable.”

His Empire Gallantry Medal was later exchanged for the George Cross (GC)

Edward passed away on 14th December 1955 in Birmingham and is buried in St Peters Churchyard, Harborne, Birmingham.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 15/03/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green.