James Hodgson

In 1941, 17 year old James Hodgson from Lister Street, a full time messenger with the AFS was officially on holiday but he decided that he would lend a hand as bombs began to fall. He made his way to a nearby wrecked house where a number of people were reportedly trapped. James crept along a tunnel that was being made under the wreckage by Harry Cardwell from an adjoining property and spotted a 15 year old girl. Beatrice Dove, who he knew from school. She was pinned under debris, only her face and one hand showing, lying on a couch with a dead 3 year old alongside her and her dead father laid over her. A fire blazed close by and James used a pump to cool the bricks and wreckage around her and fed her water from a baby’s bottle. He chatted to her about local cinemas etc to take her mind off her predicament before making his way back out of the tunnel as the wreckage became unsafe. Minutes later the building collapsed and Beatrice was killed along with ten others who were smothered. Harry Cardwell was awarded the George Medal, James earned the highest praise for his actions and was awarded the British Empire Medal.