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VC/GC Diary

Welcome to the Victoria Cross and George Cross Diaries


Here we add daily diary entries on the anniversaries of when the Victoria Crosses and George Crosses were awarded.

GC Diary 25th September

By victoriagreen068, Sep 25 2016 07:03AM

The George Cross Diary for 25th September unfortunately has no direct recipients or any anniversary of citations for the award, so therefore I am going to include the story of a recent discovery as a George Cross holder, who was originally omitted from the invitation to exchange his Edward Medal for a George Cross in 1971.

Percival Leslie Norwood EM/GC was born in Eastleigh, Hampshire on 15th November 1893. Little is known about Norwood other than the actions which saw him awarded the Edward Medal.

On 27th November 1913, in Liss, Hampshire, a blacksmith named Harry Rasell was driving downhill towards the London and South-Western Railway Station, Liss, when his pony bolted and dashed into the gates of a level-crossing, which were already closed owing to the approach of a train only 80 to 120 yards away. Rasell was pitched over the gates and lay stunned across the inside rail on which the train was approaching. The driver of the train put on his brakes and reversed the engine, but was unable to pull up until he had run over the level-crossing. Just as the train came up, Norwood jumped down from the platform and tried to pull Rasell clear by his legs; failing to do so, he went in front of the engine, grasped Rasell by the shoulder, and tried to roll him over. Norwood just succeeded in getting Rasell clear, but was struck on the head by the front of the engine, which came to a standstill a few yards further on.

If the driver had not reversed his engine, both Rasell and Norwood must have been killed. The injuries to Norwood’s head were serious, and he is stated by the doctor who attended him to have had a miraculous escape from death. His intention to effect the rescue at all hazards is shown by his changing his hold on Rasell, and by his maintaining his hold after being struck by the engine.

Norwood died on 29th June 1972 in Exminster, Devon, without having knowledge of the opportunity to exchange his EM for a GC. His final resting place and location of his medal is unknown.

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