Richard John Hammersley Ryan GC, RN

Richard John Hammersley Ryan (23/07/1903-21/09/1940). was awarded the George Cross for his actions on 16-21 September 1940 in Dagenham, Essex.

“He was 37 years old and serving in the Royal Navy when he was one of two officers who dealt with a Type C magnetic mine that fell at Clacton. When the first magnetic mines fell on London, Lt Cmdr Richard Ryan, with Chief Petty Officer Reginald Ellingworth, came forward without hesitation for the perilous work of making them safe, although with their unrivaled knowledge they were well aware of the dangers. The clock of the bomb fuse was normally timed to explode 21 seconds after impact. If it failed to do so, it might be restarted by the slightest movement. Together they dealt with 6 of these mines, one of them in a canal where they worked waist-deep in mud and water, making any escape impossible. The fuse could only be found and removed by groping for it under water. At Hornchurch they made safe a very hazardous mine which threatened the aerodrome and an explosives factory, and then they went to Dagenham to tackle a mine hanging from a parachute in a warehouse. Tragically, it exploded, killing them both.”

He is buried in Haslar Royal Naval Cemetery

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