Burford E – 1935
BB Gazette Vol.44 No.2 – The Boys’ Brigade Cross for Heroism has been awarded to Private Edward James Burford, aged 13, of the 1st Taunton Company, for saving a Boy from drowning in the River Tone at Taunton, on the 13th of July. Edward was bathing with some B.B. chums when he heard cries for help coming from a big Boy of 16 who was in difficulties in deep water at a wide part of the river. Edward at once swam to the rescue of the Boy who had already sunk twice. He managed to seize the drowning lad, whose greater strength caused him to pull his rescuer under too. Edward did not relax his hold and ultimately with the assistance of two other Brigade Boys he was successful in reaching the bank, by which time rescuer and rescued were in a distressed condition.
From the Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser 25th September 1935 – TAUNTON BOY HONOURED – BB CROSS FOR LIFE-SAVING – PRESENTATION BY DEPUTY MAYOR – The Boys’ Brigade Cross and certificate for heroism has been awarded to Private Edward James Burford (13), of the 1st Taunton Company, living at Lambrook-road, for his plucky action in going to the rescue of Frank Rogers, of Cleveland-street, when he was in difficulty in the River Tone at French Weir on July 13th last, and, eventually, bringing him safely to the bank.
The Company, which is attached to the Temple Methodist Church, officially attended service there on Sunday evening, and at the conclusion the award was publicly presented to Edward by the Deputy-Mayor, Mr G H Stainer, who is an officer of the church. Two other Brigade members, Albert Menley, of Wood-street, and Clifford Phillips, of Nursery-place, who assisted to complete the rescue, each received a bound copy of “Tom Brown’s Schooldays.” All the boys were in the river bathing at the time.
REAL CASE OF BRAVERY – Mr Stainer said that the French Weir Recreation Ground was a very popular resort of the young people of the town, and the fact that the River Tone was running through it increased its attractiveness, but there was a danger connected with it. On Saturday July 13th Frank Rodgers, aged 10, was bathing in the river and got into difficulties. There was considerable danger and a probability that the boy would be drowned. He had already sunk once when Edward, seeing his plight, immediately plunged into the river, swam to him and clutched him.
Although both boys sank once, Edward retained his hold, and the two other lads present that evening, Albert and Clifford, went to their aid and assisted in bringing Frank to the bank. He (Mr Stainer) thought those present would agree that this was a very gallant action on the part of these boys, and the officer commanding the 1st Taunton Boys’ Brigade felt that the deed should be brought to the notice of the Headquarters of the Brigade. Captain Foy therefore communicated with Headquarters, and after a good deal of correspondence and exhaustive enquiries to find out if it was a real case of bravery – BB Headquarters did not give awards unless there was genuine cause for doing so- they had decided to award Edward the bronze medal and certificate for bravery.
BRIGADE EXECUTIVE’S CONGRATULATIONS – The Deputy-Mayor then read a letter from Mr G Stanley Smith, the Brigade Secretary, to Mr W B Foy, notifying the award, and adding, “ Will you please convey to Edward the congratulations of the Brigade Executive, and their best wishes for his continued success in the Boys’ Brigade and in after life. Will you also congratulate the members of the 1st Taunton Company on the honour that has come to the Company through Edward’s gallant action?”
This account has been complied using records held in The Boys’ Brigade Archive Collection, local and national newspaper archives and other sources. If there are any omissions or errors we sincerely apologise, and request that you come forward with this information, so that this can be corrected.