CENTRAL CHANCERY OF
THE ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD
St. James’s Palace, London S.W.I
29th May 1986
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards of the Queen’s Gallantry Medal and for the publication in the London Gazette of the names 1 of those shown below as having received an expression of Commendation for Brave Conduct:
Awarded the Queeris Gallantry Medal
David BRITTON, Constable, West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police.
Richard GOUGH, Installation Engineer, Shipley, West Yorkshire.
David HUSTLER, Assistant Supermarket Manager, Shipley, West Yorkshire.
John Richard INGHAM, Constable, West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police.
Charles Frederick MAWSON, Chief Inspector, West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police.
Terence Michael SLOCOMBE, B.E.M., Chief Inspector (formerly Inspector), West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police.
On 11th May 1985 at approximately 3.40 p.m. fire broke out in the main grandstand at the Valley Parade football ground in Bradford. Police officers and spectators assisted in the initial evacuation but the fire spread rapidly to the roof. Within seconds the entire structure was ablaze. Intense heat and breathing difficulties forced rescuers to retreat to the comparative safety of the playing area. Constable Ingfaam’s attention was drawn to a woman in difficulties behind a barrier wall near to the half-way line.
Her clothes and hair were on fire. The Constable took an overcoat from a fellow officer and, using it as a shield against the heat, rushed towards the inferno. He reached the woman, took hold of her, and -pulled her over the wall onto the pitch. Constable Ingham rolled the woman on the ground in an attempt to extinguish the flames.
Other officers ran to his assistance and the woman was pulled to safety. Constable Britton also entered the stand to assist a man he had seen struggling to climb over a wall. The heat was intense, and parts of the roof were falling in the area. Constable Britton held the man by the waist and managed to pull him over a wall onto the track where attempts were made to douse flames that had begun to engulf the man. Constable Ingham saw Constable Britton struggling with the man on the track and ran to his assistance.
The conditions were so extreme that Constable Britton’s hair caught fire spontaneously and he was forced to leave the area. Constable Ingham took hold of the man’s coat and pulled him a further few yards away from the blaze before he was stopped by heat and exhaustion. Despite severe bum injuries, Constable Britton returned to the scene to assist other officers in the final stages of the rescue.
Mr. Hustler was the last person to leave his section in the main grandstand. He moved forward over seating in order to escape the fire. At the front of the rear section of seats Mr. Hustler discovered a woman in a state of shock. He took hold of her and pulled her over a barrier into the front section of seating. Together they climbed over plastic seats to the front of the stand. Mr. Hustler pushed the woman over the perimeter wall to safety and was about to jump himself when he heard a cry for help.
Looking back, Mr. Hustler saw a boy lying on the floor with his coat on fire. The blaze, by this time, was at its height. Paint was bubbling with the heat and burning debris was falling from the roof. Despite suffering severe burn injuries, to hands, head and legs Mr. Mustier returned and took hold of the boy and pushed him over the perimeter wall. A number of spectators rushed forward and carried the boy to safety. Mr. Hustler then pulled himself over the wall and ran to the centre of the pitch.
Mr. Gough had vacated his position in the main grandstand and saw a woman in difficulty attempting to climb the perimeter wall. Her hair was on fire. Mr. Gough ran to the wall, climbed it, and reached the woman. He hit her head to extinguish the flames. Mr. Gough took hold of her under both arms and pulled her to the wall. The heat of her coat burned his hands. Mr. Gough persisted and pulled the woman over the wall. He was joined by other spectators. Together they carried the woman to the safety of the playing area.
Chief Inspector Mawson was the senior operative police officer on duty at the ground. He went to
the location of the initial outbreak of fire. The heat was intense. Burning bitumen and flaming roof felt fell from the roof. Chief Inspector Mawson ran forward towards the blaze and pulled a man to
safety. As the fire spread, the officer proceeded along the full length of the stand, assisting with the
evacuation and the rescue of spectators. At one point he saw a man totally ablaze. Chief Inspector Mawson ran to this man, grabbed hold of him by the arm and pulled him away from the immediate vicinity of the fire.
Other officers and spectators assisted Chief Inspector Mawson to douse the man’s blazing clothing. Inspector Slocombe’s initial involvement in the evacuation continued until the heat caused his tunic to catch fire and it had to be removed. Shortly afterwards, he saw that spectators were still in great difficulty. Inspector Slocombe ran forward taking a police officer’s coat to use as a shield against the ferocity of the fire. He managed to grab an elderly man who had collapsed near to a perimeter wall. With assistance from a spectator he was able to pull the man away from the fire.
Chief Inspector Mawson and Inspector Slocombe were aware that a number of people were trapped in a toilet adjacent to the blazing stand. The officers ran towards the inferno and entered the toilet With assistance from another police officer they took hold of three people. The group then ran from the toilet to the pitch, and had to avoid large quantities of falling debris on the way.
These four police officers and two civilians displayed outstanding courage and bravery. Despite severe fire and extremely dangerous conditions they acted in a way which endangered their personal safety in order to save lives.