Shaw A – 1943
BB Gazette Vol.52 No.1 – The Boys’ Brigade Cross for Heroism has been awarded to Private Alfred Shaw, aged 14, of the 3rd Grimsby Company, for bravery and presence of mind in an air raid on July 13th, 1943, when he was instrumental in rescuing his family after extricating himself from the ruins of their home.
Alfred Shaw is only fourteen years of age and small for his years, a lucky fact as it proved on that adventurous night.
It was in the small hours that the siren sounded, followed by heavy gun fire and parachute flares. The family consisted of Alfred, his eighteen year-old sister and his father. As bombs were falling in the vicinity they took refuge in the cupboard beneath the stairs.
Almost immediately bombs fell in front and rear of the house, which collapsed, burying the family in debris. After a time Alfred was able to free himself and with a brick smashed a hole in the upper panel of the cupboard door, through which he wriggled (to the amazement of those who afterwards saw the smallness of the hole), tearing his shirt from his back in the process. He shouted for help and was joined by a member of a rescue squad, who, seeing the state of affairs, sought further aid.
But Alfred meantime was not idle, though the raid was still in progress. Securing an axe he set to work on the door, and by the time the rescue party arrived he had almost demolished it. The sister was then extricated with her dog, and later the father, who was completely pinned down in a doubled-up position under a mass of debris.
As an eye witness in the rescue squad wrote: “Mr Shaw was in a most dangerous position, and owes his safety to his Boy’s action. If Alfred had not risen to the occasion the family would probably not have been found for many hours. No praise is too high to describe his conduct.”