Harry Errington

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Harry Errington
Harry Errington GC.jpg
Born (1910-08-20)20 August 1910
Westminster, England
Died 15 December 2004(2004-12-15) (aged 94)
Clapham, England
Known for Only London firefighter to be awarded the George Cross during the Second World War
Awards George Cross

Harry Errington, GC (20 August 1910 – 15 December 2004) was the only London firefighter to be awarded the George Cross during the Second World War.[1]

He was born in Westminster on 20 August 1910 to a family of Polish immigrants, previously named Ehrengott. He first trained as an engraver and later as a tailor. When war broke out he volunteered as an auxiliary fireman at a station on Shaftesbury Avenue, near the business where he worked.

On 17 September 1940 during The Blitz, a bomb demolished a three storey garage being occupied by the London Auxiliary Fire Service. The basement of the building was being used as an air raid shelter and took the full force of the collapsing floors. Twenty people, including six firemen, were killed. Errington recovered consciousness to find the basement shelter consumed by fire. He rescued a trapped colleague and battered his way through the debris to safety up a stone staircase. He returned to the conflagration to rescue another trapped man and, despite his badly burned hands, also carried him to safety. [2]

Errington was later active in basketball administration (particularly during the London Olympics of 1948) and served as treasurer of The Victoria Cross and George Cross Association until 1990. His George Cross is on display in the collection of the Jewish Museum London. Errington died in London on 15 December 2004.


  1. ^ "Obituary Harry Arrington". The Telegraph. 17 December 2004. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  2. ^ John Frayn Turner (2010). Awards of the George Cross 1940–2009. Casemate Publishers. pp. 14–. ISBN 978-1-84884-200-7. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hissey, Terry – Come if ye Dare – The Civil Defence George Crosses, (2008), Civil Defence Assn (ISBN 9780955015328)