b. 1908 Oldham, Manchester. d. 07/01/1932 Manchester, Lancashire.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 07/01/1932 Manchester, Lancashire.
Little is known about the life of John Birks other than his actions at the Co-op Laundries in Manchester on 7th January 1932. He was buried at Philips Park Cemetery on 16th January 1932.
On the 7th January, 1932, at 6.45 a.m., Birks and another washerman, Harry Perkins, were changing their shoes in a messroom on the premises of the Co-operative Laundries Association, Manchester. The messroom was formed by two partitions in a corner of the Boiler Room, and the floor was three feet below the general floor level. Suddenly a large water tank above the messroom burst and volumes of scalding water cascaded through a skylight into the messroom between the two men from the only door through which they could have escaped. The lights went out, and the room was dark and full of steam. Birks immediately placed himself between Perking and the cascade of scalding water, and helped Perkins on to a table, whence he was helped over the partition by other men outside. Birks who was probably unable to reach the top of the partition unaided, finally escaped from the messroom through the door. Both men unfortunately died as a result of the scalds which they sustained. Perkins was only 18 years of age, and there can be no doubt that Birks, who was only 6 years older, deliberately gave up his own chance of escape in attempting to save Perkins.
BURIAL LOCATION: PHILIPS PARK CEMETERY, MANCHESTER, LANCASHIRE.
SECTION B GRAVE 752.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.
NO IMAGE AVAILABLE