Police Roll of Honour - Lest We Forget

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Honouring and Remembering British Police Officers who Lost their Lives in the Line of Duty ~ Lest we Forget

THE CARNEGIE HERO FUND TRUST

Andrew Carnegie - (click to go to website)

“We live in a heroic age”

Andrew Carnegie

Industrialist and Philanthropist.

Carnegie Hero Roll

100 YEARS OF HEROISM

(An article by the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust)

“We live in a heroic age” – Andrew Carnegie, Industrialist and Philanthropist.

Times have changed considerably since Scots-born rags-to-riches philanthropist Andrew Carnegie wrote these words in 1904. But the extraordinary heroism of ordinary people in everyday situations continues to impact upon our lives. For 100 years the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust has recognised such people and considered the welfare of their families.

The Trust has one common aim – to recognise the heroism of ordinary people who risk their lives to help a fellow human being. They give financial assistance, where necessary, to civilians who have been injured or to the dependants of people who have been killed in attempting to save another human life. This applies to an incident occurring anywhere in the UK, Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and surrounding territorial waters.

“Heroic action is impulsive” – Andrew Carnegie.

The Hero Fund is celebrating its centenary year and the Trustees are eager to hear about the actions of ordinary people who may fall within the scope of their work. Chief Executive Nora Rundell, said, “We have been constantly inspired by these heroes and their families for many years. We would like to continue to give aid where a heroic act has brought misfortune to the rescuer or the rescuer’s family and are eager to further Andrew Carnegie’s legacy 100 years on. We owe it to his memory.”

Over the years, certificates and support have been awarded to individuals and families across the UK and Ireland, from Thurso to Cork. The Trustees are prepared to consider cases where a voluntary heroic act has occurred, involving risk to the rescuer’s life, injury or death. In some occupations the ordinary discharge of duty necessitates risks, and such risks cannot in general be regarded as voluntary. However, where the ordinary requirements of duty have been exceeded a case is eligible for consideration.

In 1968, Geoffrey Mason and Geoffrey Jones risked their lives in a courageous attempt to rescue a nine-year-old boy who had fallen from a railway bridge on the Birmingham to Wolverhampton railway line. He was caught on high tension electrical cables below carrying 25,000 volts. Both men attempted to lift the boy from the cables but received severe electric shocks in doing so. They were thrown onto the railway below where trains were passing frequently. The boy made it to hospital where he lay critically ill and the men received severe burns to the arms, hands and face but amazingly all three survived. The men were awarded the Honorary Certificate for their actions and their names placed on the Roll of Honour.

In 1935, Alfred Brennan, a one-legged man was involved in the exceptional rescue of a woman from drowning in the sea near Thurso. Having seen the woman in distress, he then entered the water and abandoned his crutches when he reached a level where he was able to swim. With only one leg and one arm free and in high winds and strong undercurrents, Mr Brennan reached the woman who had become numb and exhausted. After great difficulty he finally brought her back to the safety of land. Alfred Brennan was awarded an honorary certificate and his name placed on the Roll of Honour.

To see the first Roll of Honour at Carnegie’s Birthplace Museum in Scotland’s first capital city, Dunfermline, is a powerful experience. Three beautifully bound volumes hold over six thousand names, many of whom sadly lost their lives in undertaking their heroic act, of those recognised by the Fund from its inception in 1908 through to the present day. The early pages of the first volume detail mining accidents, near-drownings, runaway horses and wartime bombing raids and exhibit a rapidly changing history. Through the beautifully inscribed pages both the heroic deeds and the changing times are laid bare.

The Museum, situated close to Dunfermline Abbey and the picturesque Pittencrief Park, (a gift to the people of Dunfermline from Carnegie in 1902) incorporates the birthplace cottage and documents the spectacular rise of Carnegie, who became the richest man in the world. Carnegie believed, however, the rich were merely trustees of their wealth and that they should distribute it for the benefit of humanity. At the time of his death in 1919, he had given away over $350 million to provide free libraries, church organs, schools and colleges.

During his lifetime he established numerous Trusts and Foundations throughout Europe and America which today distribute $150 every minute. Dunfermline is the headquarters of the four independent British Trusts: the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust.

The Hero Fund Trust makes two awards – a Certificate and a Bronze Medallion. The latter, its highest honour, is reserved for outstanding acts of heroism, usually involving repeated or sustained endeavour. To date only 174 medallions have been awarded.

In 1967, Andrew Taylor attempted to rescue fellow miners following an underground fire at a Fife colliery. A serious fire had broken out underground where 314 men were working. After leading two men to safety, Mr Taylor, who was in charge of the section, returned to try to rescue other miners at the coal face. Sadly he never returned and the men to whose assistance he went were among the nine victims of the disaster.

He was awarded posthumously the highest honour, the Bronze Medallion, and his widow received a grant and allowance to help raise their two young sons.

The first Hero Fund, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, was established in America in 1904 after a colliery disaster near Carnegie’s adopted home of Pittsburgh when 181 men, including two who gave their lives in rescue attempts, were killed in an explosion at the Harwick Colliery. In these days, when a family lost the breadwinner, some barely survived. When Andrew Carnegie heard of the tragedy, he immediately donated the sum of $50,000 thus doubling the amount raised by public subscription.

Established in Britain in 1908, the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust was followed by nine funds on the continent in France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

Once a case is recognised as falling within the scope of the Trust, the name of the hero or heroine is added to the Roll of Honour and an initial grant is made. The Trustees then consider whether or not continued financial assistance is required by the rescuer or his or her family. They are also very aware that Carnegie meant the Trust to provide more than money and they try to build up a relationship of mutual confidence and personal knowledge between the Trust and its beneficiaries. The interest and care of the Trust extended to any one beneficiary or family will last as long as it is needed and has, on occasions continued for up to sixty years. The Trust is currently involved with around 120 families and awards grants and single payments where applicable totalling approximately £100,000 each year.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Trust can be contacted on 01383 723638 or by
Email: herofund@carnegietrust.com
Website: www.carnegiehero.org.uk

Carnegie Hero Roll - Posthumous Police Awards

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Page updated 29 May 2012

National Police Officers Roll of Honour Copyright © Anthony Rae 1985-2012

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