|Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer|
3 February 1915 |
|Unit||Honourable Artillery Company, Royal Engineers|
|Battles/wars||World War II bomb disposal|
Colonel Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer GC OBE ERD (born 3 February 1915), known as Stuart Archer, is the oldest living recipient of the George Cross, the highest British and Commonwealth award for gallantry not in the face of the enemy. On 3 February 2015 Archer became the first recipient of the Victoria Cross or the George Cross to reach 100 years of age.
Award of George Cross
He was awarded the medal on 30 September 1941. The award was for extensive work on defusing German bombs dropped on United Kingdom during World War II. Before joining the Royal Engineers, who carried out bomb disposal work in the United Kingdom, he served with the Honourable Artillery Company. He had carried out bomb disposal work since June 1940, and had dealt with 200 bombs prior to the awarding of the George Cross, and provided the War Office with five different fuses as well as the Zus anti-handling devices.
Before joining the army he was a qualified architect with the Royal Institute of British Architects, at the youngest possible age of 21, in July 1936, starting work in Grays Inn with a firm he became a partner in and remained with for all of his working life. In 1963 he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the bomb disposal regiments of the Royal Engineers. Archer has been the Chairman of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association since 1994, and represented the Association at the funeral of the Queen Mother in 2002.
The original announcement of the award read simply:
|“||The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the GEORGE CROSS in recognition of most conspicuous gallantry in carrying out hazardous work in a very brave manner, to: —
Second-Lieutenant (Acting Lieutenant) Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Archer (126305), Corps of Royal Engineers.
The full citation is:
|“||On the 15 July 1940, four 250 kilogram bombs were dropped on St Athan aerodrome, South Wales, two of them within 10 yards of some vitally important assembly sheds. Lieutenant Archer immediately went to the scene and the first bomb was excavated. As its fuse was expected to be booby trapped, it was loaded, with the fuse still in, on to a lorry. Lieutenant Archer himself drove the lorry to a site some two miles away and the bomb was detonated. The other bomb was dealt with in the same way.
On the 17 August 1940, at Moulton South Wales, a further 250 kilogram bomb was excavated down to the fuse pocket, which contained a number 50 fuse. As this fuse was required for War Office experiments an attempt was made to extract it. When this failed, Lieutenant Archer removed it by hand by means of a pick head; although well aware of that the fuse might be a booby trap.
On 27 August 1940 at Port Talbot docks this officer was instrumental in recovering the first number of fuses for experimental purposes.
Archer is entitled to the following medals
|George Cross (GC)||1941|
|Order of the British Empire (OBE)||Officer - Military Division|
|General Service Medal 1918||Awarded from 1918 - 1962|
|Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal||1953|
|Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal||1977|
|Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal||2002|
|Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal||2012|
|Emergency Reserve Decoration (ERD)||2 Clasps|
- Ashcroft, Michael (2011). George Cross Heroes. Headline Publishing Group. ISBN 0755360842.
- Ashcroft, Michael (30 January 2015). "Stuart Archer: The 100-year-old hero and longest holder of the George Cross medal". Daily Express. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- "Bertram Archer, GC". George Cross database. Archived from the original on 2007-11-16. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
- The London Gazette: . 30 September 1941. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
- The London Gazette: . 25 October 1963. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
- World War 2 Awards website: ARCHER, Bertram Stuart Trevelyan Retrieved 3 December 2007
- "Oldest GC holder meets the newest". Defence News. MoD. 23 March 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
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