ON THIS DATE in 1952, fifteen-year-old Jack Bamford crawled through flames to a back bedroom of his home in Newthorpe (U.K) in order to save younger brothers Brian, six, and Roy, four
Jack’s shirt had been burnt and his torso was roasting when he reached the boys. When he dropped the youngest from a window to his father’s arms, the six-year-old broke free of Jack’s grasp and, panic-stricken, raced to the back of the bedroom. Rather than jump to safety, Jack lunged through the flames one last time to retrieve his screaming brother.
Both parents and all six Bamford children survived the blaze. “What can you think? You have got to get them out,” Jack Bamford told the Nottingham Post six decades later.
It took the courageous youth four months to recover from the burns that blistered his face, neck, chest, back, arms, and hands. For his actions, Jack received the George Cross, Britain’s highest civilian award for bravery. At the time, he was the youngest-ever recipient of the award.