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George Cross

Civil Defence Volunteers - Roll of Honour 3/3

The George Cross is the highest civilian gallantry award, people are well aware that this decoration is only awarded for exceptional bravery. The very mention of the George Cross inspires the question: "What did the person do to warrant such a high award?" People want to hear the story behind the award as they know they will learn about actions that reflect the very best of humanity. The Civil Defence Association has published a book that does this in full measure. Entitled 'Come if ye Dare', it features the stories of bravery of 11 Civil Defenders who were awarded the George Cross. It has been written by CDA member Terry Hissey and is based on his research at The National Archives at Kew, museums, libraries and archives in several parts of the country as well as receiving support from relatives of many of the recipients.

In his introduction at the book's launch CDA President Sir Graham Meldrum CBE QFSM FIFireE said:
"The roles of the 11 Civil Defenders featured in this book included civilian Bomb Disposal, ARP Warden, Heavy and Light Rescue and the Fire Services. They set the standard and demonstrated that the tradition of service was already well entrenched."

The Foreword for the book has been written by Mr Jim Beaton GC CVO JP, Chairman, VC & GC Association. In it he wrote of the volunteers who staffed the WWII Civil Defence Services:
"Their professionalism, dedication and sheer courage is a perfect illustration of how, when called upon, these people and many others gave of their best and beyond".

This is the 3rd book published by the CDA, the first being A Brief History of Civil Defence in 2005 and the second, a Book of Remembrance for the Bethnal Green 1943 Tube Disaster 'Stairway to Heaven' Memorial Trust. It is part of the programme to make the subject better known.

The title
Come if ye Dare was chosen not least because it is also the title of The March of the Civil Defence Services which was rediscovered by the author in 2005.

The author, CDA member Terry Hissey, was born in Harrow, Middlesex, and has lived there all his life. He is a graduate of Brunel University where he studied Music and History. He has been interested in social history since his late teens when he became involved with voluntary archive work. A life long interest in gallantry awards and more recently the George Cross has led to the writing of this book.

To order a copy, please contact the author.