Delight at NRM as last LNER bravery medal joins the first

By Geoff Courtney

A bravery medal awarded to employees by the LNER over a period of just six years, is to be commemorated by the National Railway Museum after it had acquired one of the very first and one of the last presented under the scheme.

Medal winner: Driver Frederick Smart with his bravery medal after it had been presented to him by LNER chairman Sir Ronald Matthews on December 18, 1947. NATIONAL RAILWAY MUSEUM
Bravery recognised: The LNER bravery medal presented to driver Frederick Smart, who with three colleagues prevented a potential disaster when a wagon carrying mustard gas bombs caught fire near Cambridge on July 23, 1947. The medal has been donated to the NRM and will be put on display with another LNER bravery medal, awarded posthumously to William Stewart, who died trying to save a diver who became trapped under water at LNER docks in Fife, Scotland. NATIONAL RAILWAY MUSEUM

Announcing the launch of the medal in 1941 at the height of the Second World War, the LNER said they would be awarded to staff ‘for outstanding acts of gallantry and resource which are not connected with enemy action, but which are of such a standard as would warrant recommendation for Government recognition had the acts been connected with enemy action.’

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Designed by Gilbert Bayes, the silver medal bore the LNER coat-of-arms on its face and on the reverse a scroll naming the recipient and date superimposed on a laurel wreath and a background representing the rising sun.

The medal, said the LNER, recognised acts of courage and resource connected with the railway equivalent to those recognised by the George Cross, the George Medal or the British Empire Medal.

Read more in Issue 251 of HR – on sale now!

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Sam Hewitt