The George Cross Diary for 16th September contains four recipients of the George Cross, all with very different stories of gallantry which led to the award of the Albert Medal, Empire Gallantry Medal or direct George Cross.
David Hwyel Evans AM/GC was born on 28th May 1898 in Carmarthen, Wales. He was the son of Samuel J Evans OBE and his wife, Annie (nee Griffiths). He was brought up on Anglesey and he was educated at Llangefni Grammar School where his father was the Headmaster. He had a brother, Frederick. David became Head Boy of his school, and on leaving at 18, he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) as a signalman. In the First World War, he served in the 13th Submarine Flotilla and in HMS Trident in the Dover Patrol. He took part in both the Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids which saw a number of gallantry awards.
On the 16th September 1918, he was in Dover, Kent, when there was an explosion amidships on HMS Glatton. The explosion and fire cut off the after part of the ship, killing or seriously injuring all the officers who were on board with one exception. The whole ship could have blown up at any moment. Evans, Lieutenant George Belden, Petty Officer Albert Stoker and Able Seaman Edward Nunn were in boats that were rescuing men who had been blown overboard or jumped into the sea. They proceeded on board on their own initiative and entered the superstructure, which was full of dense smoke, and then went to the deck below. They succeeded in rescuing 7 or 8 badly injured men from the mess deck, as well as 15 men whom they rescued from the superstructure. This work was carried out without gas masks, and, although at one point they were driven out by fire, they proceeded down again after hoses had been played on the flames. They continued until all chance of rescuing others had passed and the ship was abandoned; she was sunk by torpedo as the fire was spreading and it was impossible to flood the magazines. All 4 men were awarded the Albert Medal, but only Evans lived long enough to exchange it for a George Cross.
After the War, Evans resigned his commission and studied for a General Science degree and became Science Master at Radley College from 1923 to 1925, but the call of the sea was strong and he returned to the Navy, and served until 1947 as an Instructor Officer.
In 1947, he was offered a post as a part time lecturer in the Maths Department, and was Warden of the Devonshire Hall of Residence, University of Leeds. He had married Marjorie Elisabeth Lea who hailed from Canada in 1932 and they had a daughter Bronwen. Evans and his wife retired to Yorkshire, and Evans was Honorary Secretary of the Albert Medal Association from 1966 to 1972, and a committee member of the VCGCA from 1972. He died on 8th December 1985 near Ripon, Yorkshire. He is believed buried in Yorkshire. His medals are held by his family.
Very little is known about the life of Abdus Samid Abdul Wahid Golandaz EGM/GC (no image available) including when he was born and where he was brought up. All that is known is his actions on 16th September 1933 at Surat, India which led to the award of the Empire Gallantry Medal.
The river Tapti had swollen to such proportions that one of the sluices in the city wall had been damaged and water was pouring in through it, threatening to flood the city. Golandaz volunteered to dive into the flooded river and ascertain the nature and extent of the damage. He accomplished this brave feat successfully and then blocked the sluice with sandbags at considerable risk to his own life. He owned a fleet of boats, which he often placed at the disposal of the authorities whenever Surat, Rander or the surrounding districts were threatened by floods. In 1930 he rescued the boys of the Government High School and the family of the excise inspector from flooding.
His EGM was automatically exchanged for the GC in 1940, and sadly he passed away in 1949 and is believed cremated. His medals are privately held.
Richard Valentine “Dick” Moore GC, CBE, FIEE, FIMechE was born on Valentine’s Day 1916 in Lambeth, London. He was the only son of Randall and Ellen Moore (nee Keny). He was educated at the Strand School and at London University, where he obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked for the County of London Electricity Supply Company from 1936 until war was declared in September 1939.
Commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1939, he joined the Naval Unexploded Bomb Department from HMS Effingham, serving as an assistant torpedo officer.
He was 24 years old and serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve when the Luftwaffe dropped 25 parachute mines over London, where they caused widespread damage. Moore, with Lieutenant Commander Richard Ryan GC, volunteered to render safe the 17 that did not explode. On 21st September Moore, Ryan and Chief Petty Officer Reginald Ellingworth GC went to Dagenham to deal with several unexploded mines. Moore carefully examined one and found that the fuse ring had become distorted; resorting to the method practised by many disposal men of simply using whatever tool they could find, he borrowed a drill from the factory outside which the mine was lying. He drilled two holes on opposite sides of the ring so that it broke, enabling him to remove the fuse, aware that at any time it could explode. As he was in the process of removing the trigger, Ryan arrived having neutralised another mine. Ryan then went off to deal with the last of the mines with Ellingworth. This was hanging from a parachute in a warehouse 200 yards away. WIthout warning it went off, killing both Ryan and Ellingworth. All three men were awarded the GC.
On leaving the Navy in 1946, Moore worked for the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, where he was appointed maintenance manager of the research reactor Bepo. Soon he was drawing on his pre-war experience to conduct a study on whether a larger reactor could produce heat at cheaper prices.
In 1944, he married Ruby Edith Pair and they had three sons, though sadly Ruby died during the childbirth of the third child. Moore died on 25th April 2003 in Warrington, Cheshire and was cremated at Walton Lea Crematorium. His medals are privately held.
Graham Leslie Parish GC was born on 29th August 1912 in Eccleshall Bierlow, Sheffield, the second son of Stephen Owbridge Parish and Ethel May (nee Mundy-Knight). He had an older brother Roland and a younger sister Joan. His father was a Provision Stores Manager but was called up during the First World War. Sadly, Stephen Parish died of malaria in 1918 and was buried in Alexandria War Cemetery, Egypt. His widow, Ethel was working as a milliner at the time.
Graham attended Abbeydale School and then Firth Park Grammar School where he passed his Matriculation at the age of 15, and then went to work in a bookshop. As soon as he was old enough, in 1929, he joined the Sheffield Central Library and worked his way through all the examinations until in 1939 he was promoted to the post of Borough Librarian at Lytham St Annes.
On the outbreak of World War Two, Graham initially didn’t enlist, but he enlisted with the RAFVR in February 1941 after receiving a white feather in the post. In 1942, he joined a Bomber Squadron taking part in nightly attacks in London including the infamous Operation Millenium, the Thousand Plane Raid on Cologne and then on to Essen.
On 16th September 1942, he was navigator of a Wellington bomber being delivered to the Middle East Command. Shortly after take off, the port engine failed and the pilot attempted to return to the airfield, but the Wellington struck a building and burst into flames. All of the crew except Sergeant Parish and a passenger named Flowers, whose legs were broken, succeeded in getting free from the burning aircraft. At the time of the crash Parish was in the astro-hatch and Flowers was by the emergency door in the floor of the bomber. When the blazer subsided, Parish's body was found leaning against the rear gun turret; Flowers was beside him with his arms over the navigator's shoulders. It was clear that Parish had carried him from the emergency door to the rear turret, a distance of 8 yards, presumably in the hope that they could both escape through the turret. Sergeant Parish could have made his escape through the astro-hatch but his unselfish desire to assist Flowers cost him his life.
Parish was buried in Khartoum War Cemetery, Sudan. His medals are privately held.