Haile D – 1952

BB Gazette Vol.61 No.1 – The Boys’ Brigade Cross for Heroism has been awarded to Private Dennis C. A. Haile, aged 13, of the 16TH Birmingham Company, for rescuing two young children from a burning house on 28th November 1951. It was not until nearly six months after the incident that the news of his action leaked out.

Haile was passing a house on his way to school when he met a man shouting that some children were trapped in a fire. Dennis saw smoke pouring from an upstairs bedroom window at which were the screaming children. The man made no attempt at rescue but went off to call the Fire Brigade. Dennis immediately climbed up the iron work on the front porch of the house, which was of the semi-prefab type, straddled across a wide gap, and put one foot on a three-inch ledge at the top of the window. Clinging to the narrow bedroom window sill with his fingers, Dennis edged his way along so that he was under the open window. He took the small boy of six on his back and carried him to the porch, handing him to someone below. He then went back for the girl of four, and brought her safely down.

Haile has been presented with a wrist-watch by the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire. In handing it to him the Lord Mayor of Birmingham congratulated the Boy on his presence of mind in face of danger.

Boys Brigade cross for heroism

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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.


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