This page is concerned with the polices officers that have been award the George Cross; the highest gallantry award for a civilian.
ERIC GEORGE BAILEY
Eric George Bailey was a Sergeant with the New South Wales Police Force. He was born on 14 October 1906 in Tenterfield, New South Wales.
During the night of 12 January 1945 Sergeant Bailey was on patrol in Adelaide Street (Blayney, NSW) when he stopped man whose movements made Sergeant Bailey suspicious. While being questioned, the suspect produced a gun and shot Sergeant Bailey in the stomach. Despite having two further shots fired at him, and profusely bleeding from the stomach wound, Sergeant Bailey managed to hold the man on the ground until assistance arrived. Sergeant Bailey died shortly afterwards from severe shock and loss of blood.
The citation for Sergeant Bailey’s George Cross was published in the London Gazette (dated 29 October 1946):
At about 8.30 p.m. on the I2th January, 1945, Sergeant Bailey, whilst on duty in Adelaide Street, Bailey, had occasion to speak to a man whose movements were suspicious. During the questioning the man pulled a revolver from his pocket and fired a shot which struck Bailey in the stomach. The Constable immediately closed with his assailant who fired two more shots. Although fast succumbing to his injuries and suffering from the effects of shock and haemorrhage, Bailey continued the struggle with the offender and held him on the ground until’ assistance arrived. Shortly afterwards he died.
The fortitude and courage manifested by this Police Officer, in spite of the mortal injuries sustained by him at the outset of the encounter, constitute bravery and devotion to duty of the highest order.London Gazette 29 October 1946.
JAMES WALLACE BEATON
At the time of the events which led to his George Cross, James Wallace Beaton was an Inspector with Metropolitan Police (Royal Bodyguard). He was born on 17 February 1943 in St. Fergus, Scotland.
On the evening of 20 March 1974, Princess Anne (daughter of Queen Elizabeth II) and her then husband Captain Mark Phillips were returning to Buckingham Palace. During this journey, an armed attempt was made to kidnap Princess Anne. Inspector Beaton was hit twice and fell unconsicous as he and three passers-by managed to foil the kidnap attempt.
The citation for Inspector (later Chief Superintendent) Beaton’s George Cross was published in the London Gazette (dated 27 September 1974):
At about 8 p.m. on 20th March 1974, Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips were returning to Buckingham Palace from an official engagement. Their car was being driven by Mr. Callender and they were accompanied by Princess Anne’s personal Police Officer, Inspector Beaton, and her Lady-in-Waiting.
As the Royal car approached the junction of the Mall with Marlborough Road, a white car swerved in front of it, causing Mr. Calender to stop suddenly. Leaving the vehicle, the driver went to the Royal car and Inspector Beaton, who was seated in the front passenger seat, got out to see what was wrong. As Inspector Beaton approached, the man pointed a revolver at him and fired, wounding him in the shoulder. Despite his wound the Inspector drew his pistol and fired at the man, but the shot missed. He was unable to fire again as his gun jammed, and as he moved to the nearside of the car and tried to clear the stoppage the gunman told him to drop his weapon, or he would shoot Princess Anne. As he was unable to clear the weapon the officer placed it on the ground.
The gunman was trying to open the rear offside door of the Royal car and was demanding that Princess Anne went with him, but Princess Anne and Captain Phillips were struggling to keep the door closed. As soon as the Lady-in-Waiting left by the rear nearside door Inspector Beaton entered the same way, and leant across to shield Princess Anne with his body. Captain Phillips managed to close the door and the Inspector, seeing that the man was about to fire into the back of the car, put his hand up to the window directly in the line of fire to absorb the impact of the bullet. The gunman fired, shattering the window, and the officer was wounded in the right hand by the bullet and by broken glass.
Despite his wounds the Inspector asked Captain Phillips to release his grip on the door so that he might kick it open violently to throw the man off balance. However, before he could do so, the man opened the door and fired at the officer again, wounding him in the stomach. The Inspector fell from the offside door and collapsed unconscious at the gunman’s feet.
All the individuals involved in the kidnap attempt on Princess Anne displayed outstanding courage and a complete disregard for their personal safety when they each faced this dangerous armed man who did not hesitate to use his weapons. It is entirely due to their actions, as well as to the calmness, bravery and presence of mind shown both by Princess Anne and by Captain Mark Phillips in circumstances of great peril, that the attack was unsuccessful.
FREDERICK WILLIAM FAIRFAX
Frederick William Fairfax was born in Westminster, London, on 17 June 1917. Fairfax was a Detective Constable in the Metropolitan Police Force. He later became a Detective Sergeant.
On the evening of 2 November 1952, two armed youths (Derek Bentley and Christopher Craig) were seen to climb over the side gate of a warehouse at Tamworth Road, Croydon, and to reach the flat roof of the building about 22 feet above. The alarm was given and Detective Constable Fairfax, together with other police officers, went to the premises in a police van. One of the youths fired at the detective constable and wounded him in the right shoulder, but he did not give up the chase. Several more shots were fired at the police officers as they tried to corner the two men on the roof, and Police Constable Miles was shot dead. Despite his wound Detective Constable Fairfax continued to lead the chase until both men were captured, and repeatedly risked death in so doing.
The award of the George Cross to Fairfax was published in the London Gazette on 6 January 1953.
ANTHONY JOHN GLEDHILL
At the time of the events which led to his George Cross, Anthony John Gledhill was a Police Constable in the Metropolitan Police Force. He was born on 10 March 1938 in Doncaster.
On 25 August 1966 Constable Gledhill, accompanied by another officer, were patrolling in the Deptford of London when they were ordered to chase a car that was driving erratically the wrong way down a one-way street. During the chase, some 15 shots were fired at the police car. Eventually the chased car crashed into lorry and a fight ensued between the unarmed police constables and the armed men. Despite receiving injuries, the police officers managed to subdue the men until further assistance arrived.
The citation for Constable (later Detective Sergeant) Gledhill’s George Cross was published in the London Gazette (dated 19 May 1967):
Constable Gledhill was driving a police vehicle with Constable McFall as the wireless operator when a message was received that the occupants of a motor car had been seen acting suspiciously at Creek Side, Deptford. As thie officers reached the area the car they were looking for, which contained five men, drove past them.
The officers immediately chased the escaping vehicle which was being driven recklessly through the streets of South London travelling on the wrong side of the road arid against the one-way traffic system. In such conditions Constable Gledhill exercised considerable skill in following, at high speed, and keeping up with, the bandit vehicle. During a chase which covered a distance of 5 miles at speeds of up to 80 miles an hour an attempt was made by the bandits to ambush the police vehicle and no less than 15 shots were fired at the police car by the occupants of the bandit vehicle using a sawn-off shotgun and revolvers, pellets from the shotgun striking the windscreen of the police car on three occasions. Finally at a road junction the escaping car crashed into a lorry.
The five men immediately left the car and a group of three, one with a pistol in his hand, ran into the yard of a transport contractor. The Officers followed the group of three and as the police car reached the yard gates the men ran towards the car and the one with the pistol held it to Constable Gledhill’s head and ordered the Officers to get out of the car or be shot. Both Officers left the car and the man with the pistol got into the driving seat with the obvious intention of using it to make a getaway. Constable Gledhill was then backing away across the roadway and the man reversed away from the gates towards him pointing the pistol at him as he did so.
However, when he stopped to engage a forward gear he momentarily turned his head away and Gledhill immediately grabbed hold of his gun hand and as the vehicle moved off managed to hold on to the car window with his left hand. While this was happening Constable McFall had run along the roadway to a group of men to get a lorry driven across the road to block it when he heard Constable Gledhill shout. He ran back to the police car and saw him holding on to the car window. He then saw the car gather speed, dragging Gledhill along the road. At this point the front offside tyre burst, the car veered across the road, crashed into parked vehicles and Gledhill was thrown under one of them. McFall opened the front passenger door and as the driver was still holding the pistol began hitting him about the legs and body with his truncheon. Gledhill had then regained his feet and as he went to the driver’s door it was flung open knocking him to the ground.
The man got out of the car and backed away from the Officers. He warned them not to move and at the same time fired a shot The Constables then heard the gun click and both rushed at the man and as McFall struck at him with his truncheon Gledhill grabbed the man’s right hand: and took the gun from him. There was a violent struggle and the gunman fell to the ground trying desperately to reach the inside of his jacket. At this stage other officers arrived. The man was subdued and another gun, an automatic pistol, was found in the pocket of his overalls.
Both Gledhill and McFall received injuries and had to receive hospital treatment. They had faced a sustained firearm attack and from the early stages knew the risks they ran of being killed or seriously injured.
Constable McFall was awarded the George Medal.
ROGER PHILIP GOAD
Roger Philip Goad was a Captain (Explosives Officer) with the Metropolitan Police Force. He had previously been awarded the British Empire Medal.
On 29 August 1975, following a tip-off from a telephone call, the police went to the front door of a shop. They found a plastic bag, which appeared to contain a bomb. The police then cleared and closed the street. Captain Goad arrived to deal with the bomb itself. After being briefed by officers already at the scene, Captain Goad approached the shop-door area alone. He was observed to be defusing the bomb when it exploded, killing him instantly. Captain Goad was 40 years old.
The citation for Captain Goad’s George Cross was published in the London Gazette (dated 1 October 1976):
On 29th August, 1975, a telephone call was made to the office of a national newspaper stating that a bomb had been left in a shop doorway. This information was immediately passed to the Police and two police officers patrolling in the vicinity went to the scene. The officers found a plastic bag in a shop doorway; one of them examined the bag and saw a pocket watch fixed to the top of the contents by adhesive tape. It was almost certainly a bomb and the officers raised the alarm.
The street was taped off, cleared of pedestrians and the occupants of surrounding buildings were warned to keep to the rear of premises and away from windows. Captain Goad was returning to London after having dealt with a suspect parcel and accepted the call to deal with this device. On his arrival he was briefed by a senior police officer while they walked towards the shop. Some distance from the bomb the police officer stopped and Captain Goad walked on alone and entered the shop doorway. He was seen to bend over the bomb and was in the process of defusing it when it exploded. Captain Goad was killed instantly by the force of the explosion.
Captain Goad displayed exceptional gallantry and devotion to duty in circumstances of extreme danger. He showed no regard for his personal safety when without hesitation he attempted to defuse the bomb.London Gazette 1 October 1976.
STEWART GRAEME GUTHRIE
Stewart Graeme Guthrie was born on 22 November 1948 in Dunedin New Zealand. He was a Sergeant in the New Zealand Police force as well as a NCO in the Armed Offenders Squad.
On 13 November 1990, Sergeant Guthrie was the sole duty officer at Port Chalmers police station. For his gallantry during the Aramoana massacre, Sergeant Guthrie was posthumously awarded the George Cross. The citation for the George Cross was published in the London Gazette on 17 February 1992:
On 13th November 1990 at the seaside resort of Aramoana, located on the outskirts of Dunedin, a young man ran amok with a firearm and massacred twelve people before being fatally shot by Police the next day.
Sergeant Guthrie, the officer in charge of the Port Chalmers Police Station, was the sole duty officer at the time the incident was reported and was able to identify the gunman as a person he knew. Sergeant Guthrie went to the Aramoana township alone and armed. On arrival he was able to call on the services of another Constable. Sergeant Guthrie took immediate command of the situation, armed the Constable with a privately owned rifle and the pair reconnoitred the village. Their every movement was fraught with danger as they moved about the village being constantly reminded of their own danger by the extent of the visible carnage, the gunman having already killed twelve people.
With limited resources available to him and impending darkness Sergeant Guthrie had the task of locating and containing the crazed gunman, dealing with the wounded and preventing further loss of life.
On arrival near the gunman’s house Sergeant Guthrie deployed the Constable to cover the front of the house while he located himself at the more dangerous position at the rear. A thin cordon of the gunman’s house was later completed by the arrival of a Detective and two Constables. The gunman had been sighted within his house and it can only be presumed that Sergeant Guthrie chose the dangerous position based on his sense of responsibility and the fact that he knew the area and the gunman. The Sergeant had given clear and concise situation reports to Police control and clearly indicated his intention to contain the gunman.
Sergeant Guthrie could see the gunman inside the house and became concerned that he might soon move as he had blackened his face and taken up a backpack. The Sergeant reported the gunman breaking windows and endeavouring to throw what appeared to be an incendiary device into the house. After spending some time moving about his property, the gunman moved towards a Constable’s position. Sergeant Guthrie reported his concern that he had lost sight of the gunman and warned the Detective to advise staff to be on the alert. A Constable had now sighted the gunman approaching him and issued a challenge, the gunman retreated in haste passing to the rear of his property. Due to lack of communication Sergeant Guthrie was unaware of this movement. Sergeant Guthrie had taken cover in sand dunes at the rear of a crib (seaside cottage) next to the gunman’s house when suddenly out of the darkness he was confronted by the gunman.
Sergeant Guthrie very courageously challenged him, saying “Stop …, stop or I shoot”. The Sergeant then discharged a warning shot from his .38 calibre police revolver. The gunman then moved around and down upon the sergeant killing him instantly in a volley of shots. The gunman then took the Sergeant’s revolver.
Throughout this ordeal Sergeant Guthrie displayed conspicuous courage. His actions in placing himself in danger to protect his staff and members of the public at the cost of his own life were selfless acts of heroism. His bravery and courage were in the highest traditions of the New Zealand Police.
At the time of the events leading to the award of the George Cross, Brandon Moss was a Special Constable with the Coventry Constabulary.
On 14 November 1940, during air raids on Coventry, Special Constable Moss led two rescue attempts on houses that had been demolished by a direct hit and completely collapsed.Working in extremely dangerous conditions, with falling rubble and fractured gas mains nearby, Moss worked his way into the house and managed to free threepeople who were trapped inside.
The second rescue, again led by Moss, lasted for some seven hours. Working alone, Moss managed to rescue another person and recovered four bodies. During all this time, Moss was in danger from falling debris and a delayed action bomb which had fallen some 20 yards from the rescue scene.
The citation for Special Constable Moss’ George Cross was published in the London Gazette (dated 13 December 1940):
Special Constable Moss was engaged on duty when a house was struck by an H.E. bomb and completely demolished, burying the three occupants. He led a rescue party in clearing an entry to the trapped victims under extremely dangerous conditions owing to collapsing debris and leaking gas. When conditions became critically dangerous he alone worked his way through a space he cleared and was responsible for the saving of the three persons alive.
It was then learned that other persons were buried in the adjoining premises and Moss at once again led the rescue. The workers became exhausted after many hours of work but Moss laboured unceasingly and inspiringly throughout the complete night, again with falling beams and debris around him, and as a result of his superhuman efforts and utter disregard for personal injury one person was rescued alive and four other bodies recovered.
During the whole of the time of the rescue, bombs were dropping around and it was known that there was a delayed action bomb in the doorway, of a tavern only 20 yards away. Moss was working from II p.m. until 6.30 a.m. without pause.London Gazette 13 December 1940.
MICHAEL KENNETH PRATT
Michael Kenneth Pratt was born on 13 November 1954 in East Melbourne (Victoria). At the time of the events which led to the award of his George Cross, he was a Constable with the Victoria Police Force.
On 4 June 1976, while off-duty and unarmed, Pratt was driving passed a bank when he saw three masked and armed men enter the bank. He immediately drove his car up the kerb and blocked the entrance to the bank, raising the alarm and telling a passer-by to contact the police. When challenged by one of the robbers to move the car, Pratt refused and removed the ignition key. During the ensuing struggle, Constable Pratt was shot and seriously wounded by one of the robbers.
The citation for Constable Pratt’s George Cross was published in the London Gazette (dated 4 July 1978):
On the morning of 4th June 1976 three masked men entered a bank and carried out an armed robbery. One of the men ordered the staff to lie on the floor, another jumped over the counter and removed money from the tills while the third remained in the public area and fired a shot in the direction of the manager and a customer when they ran towards the rear of the bank.
Constable Pratt, who was off-duty and unarmed, was driving past the bank in his private car and saw the men entering the bank; he noticed that each man was masked and carrying a firearm and realised that they were about to commit an armed robbery. He immediately turned his car, switched up the lights and, sounding his horn, mounted the kerb and blocked the bank entrance. He instructed a passer-by to call for police assistance.
The raiders were taken by surprise, but one of them threatened the Constable with a gun and signalled to him to remove the car, there upon the officer refused, removed the ignition key, and armed himself with the handle of a car jack. The men then attempted to leave the bank by kicking in the lower section of the glass door and climbing over the bonnet of the car. As the first man straddled the front of the car Constable Pratt grabbed him firmly and during the violent struggle which ensued the robber was knocked unconscious. By this time a second gunman had left the bank and climbed over the car, aimed his weapon and threatened to shoot the officer at close range; the man had his arms extended at shoulder height and pointed a revolver directly at Constable Pratt.
The first man had by now recovered consciousness and was getting to his feet, so the officer grabbed him again and the man called to the gunman to shoot the Constable. A shot was then fired and Constable Pratt who was in the process of trying to protect his back and at the same time retain his hold on his captive, was seriously wounded.
Constable Pratt displayed outstanding bravery, devotion to duty and a complete disregard for his own safely when, unarmed and single handed, he faced and attempted to arrest these dangerous armed criminals.
GERALD IRVING RICHARDSON and CARL WALKER
Gerald Irving Richardson was born in Blackpool on 2 November 1932. Carl Walker was born in Kendal on 31 March 1934. Both men were officers in the Lancashire Constabulary: Richardson a Superintendent and Walker a Constable (later Inspector).
On 23 August 1971, an armed gang raided a jeweller’s shop in Blackpool. Following the robbery, a prolonged chase occurred involving several unarmed police cars. Superintendent Richardson was shot in the stomach, whilst attempting to persuade one of the robbers to surrender his weapon. Richardson died from his injuries later that day.
During the chase, Constable Walker blocked the path of the robber’s car with his own police car. However, the robbers reversed their car, smashing into the side of Walker’s car. Despite suffering from shock, Constable Walker ran after the robbers until he was shot in the groin.
The citations for the award of the George Cross to Superintendent Richardson and Constable Walker were published in the London Gazette (dated 13 November 1972):
Following an armed robbery at a jewellers in BIackpool, Constable Walker, having been directed to the scene by radio, arrived to see the bandits running towards a Triumph Estate car. All the men succeeded in getting into the car and a shotgun was pointed through the window at P.C. Walker; the car was then driven away followed by the Constable.
A chase at high speeds then ensued; at several stages Constable Walker lost contact briefly with the Triumph but came upon it stationary in a blind alley. All the occupants were out of their car; the Constable remained in his Panda car which he parked at right angles to the alley, thus blocking the exit. The men then climbed back into the Triumph which was reversed at a fast speed down the alley into the side of the Panda car. As the car drove away from the alley Constable Hampson arrived on the scene in his Panda car. He saw Constable Walker sitting in his car, in a shocked condition, and he followed the Triumph.
The bandit’s car was driven in a fast and dangerous manner through various streets and Constable Hampson during the whole of this chase remained five to ten yards behind the Triumph relaying his position to Blackpool Central by personal radio. The Triumph suddenly screeched to a halt and Constable Hampson pulled up about five or six yards behind it. One of the gunmen ran back to the Panda car and shot the Constable through the passenger door window of the Panda car. The Constable, who was badly wounded in the chest, fell from the car into the roadway but managed to raise himself, reached his radio transmitter and gave his position to Control Room.
A number of police cars were now in the area and Constable Walker, who had resumed the pursuit in his damaged Panda car saw the Triumph, and positioned his Panda at a junction to block its route. As he did so Constable Jackson in a Panda car, and Constable Hillis in a C.I.D. car, drove either side of his Panda, trapping the Triumph between them. Constable Jackson collided with the offside of the Triumph and Constable Hillis with the front nearside. All the gunmen climbed out of the Triumph. Constable Jackson was thrown across the front seat of his Panda car by the force of the collision and the driver of the Triumph threatened him and then ran towards an alley to the next street.
Constable Hillis got out of his police car and saw the five men who were then retreating from the crashed car. The officer ran towards them and the driver of the Triumph pointed a pistol at him and fired two or three shots from a distance of about six feet, but did not hit him.
Constable Hillis raised his arm in front of his face and when at this stage one of the robbers broke away, he ran after him and caught him after a violent struggle. In the meantime, another police car had arrived at the scene with Inspector Gray, Inspector Redpath and Superintendent Richardson. Inspector Redpath got out of the car and then the officers saw three of the gunmen, running towards an alley.
Inspector Redpath ran after them. Inspector Gray with Superintendent Richardson drove into the next road in an effort to head them off. The three men were by now running along the alley, followed by Constables Walker and Jackson and when Constable Walker was about ten yards from the bandits the driver of the Triumph turned and fired a shot at him. The officer carried on running towards him, and when the man reached the end of the alley he turned to face the Constable and fired a second time; at a distance of about six feet he fired a third time and hit him in the groin. The man pointed the gun at Constable Walker again, looked at the officer who was clutching his injured leg, then turned away towards a Ford Transit delivery van which was parked outside a butcher’s shop. The man jumped into the driving seat of the butcher’s van, and two of the men ran to the back of the van and jumped in just as Inspector Gray and Superintendent Richardson arrived on the scene in their police car; the butcher’s van moved off rapidly.
Constable Jackson got into the police car with Superintendent Richardson and Inspector Gray, who then drove off in pursuit of the butcher’s van which attempted to turn into an alley, collided with a garden wall and stopped. The police car stopped behind the van and Inspector Gray went to the rear of the van, attempting to keep the doors closed and trap the men inside. Superintendent Richardson and Constable Jackson ran to the front passenger door and saw that the front of the van was empty, the driver having clambered out and run to the rear of the van. The Superintendent and the Constable then went to the rear of the van just as the doors burst open and the men appeared and jumped out; two of the men ran off down the alley. Superintendent Richardson and Inspector Gray tried to talk the driver into surrendering his gun; but he continued to threaten the officers, turned round and ran off. The Police Officers ran after him, Superintendent Richardson leading, followed by Inspector Gray.
A few yards into the alley Superintendent Richardson caught hold of the gunman. The man turned, thrust his gun into the Superintendent’s stomach and fired. Before Inspector Gray could reach them the man fired a second time as Superintendent Richardson was falling to the ground. The man then escaped in a stolen van. Superintendent Richardson was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where he died later the same morning.
The other two bandits were seen by Sergeant Mackay and Constable Hanley, who had just arrived in the area in a C.I.D. car. These officers, still in their car, entered the pursuit and caught up with the two fugitives, one of whom levelled his pistol at Sergeant Mackay’s head as the C.I.D. car drew alongside him. The Sergeant swung the driver’s door open and it struck the man, knocking him off balance. The police car stalled and Constable Hanley, who was getting out of the passenger door, stumbled and fell. Both men ran off with Constable Hanley and other officers chasing them on foot. Sergeant Mackay re-started the police car and drove after them, he quickly overtook the men and they turned round; one, who was only about six feet from the front of the car, levelled the revolver at Sergeant Mackay and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire. The Sergeant drove the car directly at the two men knocking them off balance, he knocked them off their feet several times by driving at them, he then got out of the police car and ran towards one of the men. During the chase through the alleys the men had run almost all the way back to the butcher’s shop where Constable Walker had been shot.
Inspector Redpath, who was still outside the butcher’s shop, saw them emerge from the end of the alley, running directly towards him. Sergeant Mackay was immediately behind one of them and closing on him. The Inspector saw that he was carrying a revolver but he stood his ground waiting for him to come closer. The Sergeant then crash-tackled the man and brought him to the ground with his arms sprawled out in front of him, immediately in front of Inspector Redpath, who kicked the gun out of his hand. Constable Hanley, who was chasing the other man, knocked him down and arrested him.
Throughout the pursuit which followed the robbery, all the police officers concerned were aware that they faced the threat of death or serious injury, but gave no thought to their own safety in their efforts to effect the arrest of armed and dangerous criminals.
HENRY WILLIAM STEVENS
Henry William Stevens was born on 24 January 1928 in Upton Park, London. At the time of the events leading to his George Cross, Stevens was a Police Constable in the Metropolitan Police Force.
On 29 March 1958, while patrolling with another constable, they received a message to investigate a suspected break-in at a house in Bickley (Kent). When they arrived at the scene, Stevens went around to the rear of the house when he saw a man climb over the house’s fence. Stevens chased after the man and was only a few yards away when the man turned around and shot Stevens in the mouth.
Despite his injury, Stevens continued to chase the man back around the house and onto the road. Finally catching up with the man Stevens, who was suffering from loss of blood, managed to grasp the man but the man slipped out of his coat. By this time, two other policemen had come to Stevens assistance and the man was finally arrested.
The citation for Constable (later Chief Inspector) Stevens was published in the London Gazette (dated 21 October 1958):
Constable Stevens was on duty in plain clothes in a police car at Bromley, Kent, with two other police officers, when they received a police radio message to go to a dwelling house, where a burglar alarm system had given an alarm.
They went to the house, and two of the officers entered the front garden to search while Constable Stevens went to the rear, which was separated from the road by a high fence. As the Officer reached the rear of the house, a man jumped from the fence, about 5 yards from him; the Constable immediately shouted that he was a police officer and called upon him to stop. The man, however, ran off and the Constable pursued him. After covering about 75 yards, the man turned and pointing a revolver at the Officer threatened to shoot him. Stevens continued running towards the gunman, who, when the Constable was close to him, fired the revolver, the bullet striking Stevens in the mouth, shattering his teeth and part of his jaw bone.
In spite of these painful injuries, the Officer threw himself on the man and, wrenching the weapon from him, pinioned him against some railings. The man stopped struggling and intimated that he would yield, but suddenly broke away and ran back along the road. Although bleeding extensively from the mouth and in great pain Constable Stevens pursued the man, who after about 40 yards doubled back and tried to pass him. The Officer again tackled the gunman, but was unable to prevent him from struggling free, leaving his jacket and coat in the Officer’s hands. Stevens, almost on the point of collapse, continued the chase but after a short distance fell to the ground, exhausted. Mainly owing to the jacket and coat which Stevens had succeeded in retaining, the man was traced and later arrested.
Constable Stevens displayed courage of the highest order in disregarding a threat with a firearm, closing with a gunman after being shot in the mouth and, although seriously injured, continuing in his efforts to arrest the criminal.London Gazette 21 October 1958.