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Bywater, Richard Arthur Samuel

Date of birth:
November 3rd, 1913 (Birmingham, United Kingdom)
Date of death:
April 6th, 2015 (Australia)
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

He was the only civilian to be awarded both the GC and GM.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Factory Developement Officer
Unit:
ROF Kirkby, Ministry of Supply, British Government
Awarded on:
September 26th, 1944
Action:
"On 22 February 1944, 19 operatives were at work on the last stage of filling fuses; each operative had a tray of 25 fuses before them. The fuses were stacked on portable tables each holding 40 trays. There were over 12,000 fuses in the building when one fuse detonate, immediately involving the whole tray. The girl working on that tray was killed and the two standing behind her were injured, one fatally. The building was also badly damaged. Bywater realised the damaged fuses might cause an explosion of fearful magnitude. The initial blast had been caused by a defective striker and it was obvious that the same defect might be present in some of the other fuses. Bywater volunteered to remove all the fuses to a place of safety and he, with three other volunteers, worked for 3 days removing 12,724 fuses from the wrecked buildings, plus a further 4,000 suspected of being defective. It was the inspiration of his leadership that enabled this dangerous work to be concluded safely."
George Cross
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Factory Developement Officer
Unit:
ROF Kirkby, Ministry of Supply, British Government
Awarded on:
September 18th, 1945
George Medal
Action:
"A few months after his exploits for which he was awarded the GC, Arthur was involved in another explosion in the same factory. This occurred during the filling of ammunition, the initial blast was followed by others which put out all the lights. The only illumination at the site was provided by the numerous fires. Once the fires had been extinguished and the salvage work was finished a team was needed to clear the wrecked building. Arthur and three colleagues volunteered. The ammunition which had caused the accident consisted of anti-personnel, anti-disturbance and time-delay bombs which were scattered through and beneath the debris and were in danger of detonating without warning. The movement of wreckage posed a constant hazard because ignorance or a moment of carelessness by any member of the team could endanger the lives of the others, but the clearance operations were completed without casualties."
Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Medal 1953

Sources

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