The youngest recipient of the George Medal

Today we have a heartwarming story of a forgotten heroine of World War 2 which carries with it a South African twist.

1941: Betty Quinn, 17, the youngest recipient of the George Medal, at the Investiture Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. She saved seven people from a bombed air raid shelter while serving as an ARP Warden in Coventry during WW2.

Betty Quinn, a St. John Ambulance cadet, was awarded the George Medal for her bravery on 14 November 1940 during the heaviest night of the Coventry Blitz. She was giving first aid at an ARP post when a shower of incendiary bombs fell in the district: “Without waiting for assistance she ran outside. AA batteries were putting up a heavy barrage and shrapnel was falling all round. Bombs began to fall and a man was injured by one. Miss Quinn assisted him to a private shelter.

A report came in of an Anderson shelter receiving a direct hit and although bombs were still falling, Miss Quinn ran there and commenced digging in the crater with a spade. She assisted to dig out seven persons who had been trapped and then attended to their injuries. She stayed until all had been removed by ambulance, although shells were bursting overhead most of the time. She then returned to the post and carried on with her duties.”

Betty Quinn was tracked down in 2005 for an invite to attend the unveiling of the Women of WW2 Memorial, next to the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. Betty was living in Cape Town, South Africa where she had been living for 63 years, a direct result of what happened in 1940. Following her fame which spread throughout the Empire after her award, she received a marriage proposal from a South African, which was obviously too good to refuse.

Photo by Keystone/Getty Images, reference British and Commonwealth Forces Facebook page. Posted for the SA Legion by Peter Dickens


Search this Site

Next Event

Jul
31
Mon
2017
all-day Ypres Passchendaele Centenary @ Tyne Cot Cemetery
Ypres Passchendaele Centenary @ Tyne Cot Cemetery
Jul 31 all-day
Ypres  Passchendaele Centenary @ Tyne Cot Cemetery
    Descendants of those who fought at the Third Battle of Ypres will be invited to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium to mark the centenary of the Battle
Aug
12
Sat
2017
11:00 England Branch Legion Committee ... @ Shipwrights Arms
England Branch Legion Committee ... @ Shipwrights Arms
Aug 12 @ 11:00 – 13:30
England Branch Legion Committee Meeting Q3 @ Shipwrights Arms | England | United Kingdom
Purpose: All Branch members are invited to contribute in providing suggestions/feedback, or just listen to the quarterly update.
Sep
16
Sat
2017
18:00 SA Legion Formal Ball @ The Hall
SA Legion Formal Ball @ The Hall
Sep 16 @ 18:00 – 23:45
SA Legion Formal Ball @ The Hall | England | United Kingdom
Our Annual Black Tie Event Details to follow!

Auction Now On