Police Constable Charles William Ward (145) and Special Constable (231) Herbert Henry Cheesman


It was announced in the London Gazette in August 1941 as ‘Highly Commended for brave conduct’ in the Civil Defence. Police Constable Ward of 57 Constable Street a policeman for seventeen and a half years and Special Constable Cheesman who ran a Greengrocers at 208 Hawthorne Avenue and has served as a Special Constable for two and a half years. The commendation was for gallant rescue work at the Trinity Almshouses damaged in a heavy raid on Hull 8th and 9th May 1941.

At Great risk to themselves they rescued five GPO linesmen who after leaving there Lorries in Osbourne Street took shelter in the vaults while High Explosives and Incendiary bombs dropped on the city. The vaults had been partially demolished and were in an extremely dangerous condition. To get to the men they entered the vaults through a small trapdoor at the East end of the building. To gained access to the first section of the vaults Ward and Cheesman crept through a small opening into the second section of the vaults which had collapsed and was full of debris. As they went forward moving debris as they went the roof dropped and they shored it up so they could reach the men. The only light available was from their pocket torches, and they were continually warned about the state of the building and the risks they were taking.

The rescued men were; Arnold Ditchbourne, Robert Albert Sherwood, James Nicholson, Thomas Clark all of York and Thomas Firn of Selby none of whom were seriously injured. P.S. Sanderson, P.C. Morris and Police War Reserve Dorman assisted with the rescue all with a total disregard for their own safety.