Society for the Protection of Life from Fire, Type 5, ‘Royal’ removed, 41. 2mm bronze bronze with top riband bar, (William Brooks, Totterdown, 19-12-32.) EF+


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A superb medal and rescue.

William John Brooks was born in Highbridge, Somerset, on 8 June 1901, and joined the Bristol City Police on 26 November 1924. He was awarded the Bronze Medal for the Protection of Life from Fire for his gallantry in rescuing a 72-year-old man from a burning building at Oxford Street, Totterdown, on 19 December 1932:

‘Constable William Brooks was walking along St. John’s Lane when he saw smoke and flames rising from the house. He found the upper storey alight, and heard a women shout, “Save him: my father is up there”. Pulling himself up by the ledges of the windows of the burning building Brooks made a perilous climb to a smoke-filled bedroom and, after being forced back to the window for air, succeeded in finding Mr. George Mockridge lying unconscious on the floor. By means of his belt and an old pair of trousers, the officer lowered the man to the people in the road in the face of great heat and dense smoke. The whole of the premises except for one room were destroyed by the fire.’ (Bristol Evening World, 22 March 1933 ). Brooks was presented with his medal by the Lord Mayor of Bristol, who commented: ‘Under stress of great circumstances you rose to the occasion, and under great difficulties you rescued this man from certain death. It is a pride to the city to know we have such a force of men who in an emergency are prepared to face risks in the cause of life. The men in the Force today are carrying out its great traditions.’

Brooks additionally received a Parchment Certificate of Merit by the Watch Committee for this action, and during the course of his career he was also commended several times by the Chief Constable. He served throughout the Second World War, being awarded the Defence Medal, and received his Police Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1951. He died in Clifton, Bristol, on 12 December 1967. Sold with copied research.