In The News

People pay last respects to hero of the Blitz

People pay last respects to hero of the Blitz

PEOPLE in Portsmouth have paid their last respects to a former policeman who was awarded the George Medal for his bravery during the Blitz.

Goronwy Evans was 94 when he died in the city where he had served as a police officer for 30 years.

He had been a young constable when he performed the act of bravery which was to result in his award. The incident happened in 1941 at the height of one of the worst air raids on Portsmouth.

A bomb had struck a house beside a nursing home in the Elm Grove area of the city. The blast had demolished part of the house and a fire was threatening to reach the nursing home.

PC Evans, who had originally joined the force as a boy fireman in the late 1930s, volunteered to enter the building to tackle the blaze. Armed only with a  stirrup pump he crawled into the partly collapsed structure. On at least two occasions he had to receive treatment after being overcome by fumes but he returned to battle the flames.

The official entry in the London Gazette, which announced the award of the George Medal, said: “P.C. Evans displayed outstanding bravery and perseverance and his actions definitely prevented the flames from spreading to an adjoining nursing home.”

The young Welshman received the medal from King George VI at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace which was attended by his parents. He was so nervous that he was unable to remember what the King had said to him.

His bravery was recalled at his funeral service which was attended by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth. Members of Hampshire Police Choir sang at the service and officers also carried the flag-draped coffin from the Church.

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