30 June 1994
Pair: Station Officer H.A. Moon, Birmingham Fire Brigade
ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL FIRE BRIGADE OFFICERS MERITORIOUS MEDAL, silver (Station Officer A. Moon (Dec'd.) 1919); A.P.F.B.O. LONG SERVICE, bronze (Fireman, 1916) nearly extremely fine, the first very rare (2)
This lot was sold as part of a special collection, Medals from the Collection of the late Mike Minton.
Station Officer Henry Alfred Moon lost his life gallantly attempting to rescue two gassed men after an immense escape of gas at the Birmingham Corporation Gasworks at Nechells, on 26 February 1919. Describing the efforts made by the firemen to recover the two 'gassed' men, Chief-officer A.R. Tozer said they were going into the basement in relays, both with and without breathing apparatus, till he was told by a doctor it was no use making further attempts. A fireman, named Cross, from Aston Station, graphically described the conditions in the gas-laden atmosphere. Moon was in the basement, and by the way he was waving his arms it was thought he was in distress. The man who tried to draw him up collapsed and had to be taken from the building. Then witness and another fireman named Oswald got Moon out. It was then found that Moon had only been signalling for a rope to attach to one of the 'gassed' men, and he insisted on descending a second time. 'Then,' said Cross, 'there was a sharp, heavy pull on the line I was holding. I thought Moon had collapsed, and just then Oswald fell. I pulled the rope to see if I could get any reply from Moon, but only found his dead weight on it, and while I was going our of the building for more help, I became unconscious myself.' Another fireman, Herbert Dyche, lost his life in attempting to rescue Station Officer Moon. The Meritorious Medal was instituted in 1925 for acts of conspicuous individual merit performed at personal risk. It was awarded posthumously to Moon and Dyche. Sold with further research.