Tom 'Toya' Lewis - Hero of the Newport Dock Disaster

Photo reference number: 591

Tom's bravery in attempting to rescue a trapped man was rewarded at Buckingham Palace with the presentation of the Albert Medal - the civilian equivalent of the Victoria Cross:
"Tom climbed through the timbers to a depth of 60 feet and for hours, sawing desperately at a beam, tried to free Fred Bardill. He had managed to release one of his limbs. There was a groan and the timbers began to shift. The decision was made to pull Tom from the trench. He emerged, cut and bloodied, into the arms of the rescuers, sobbing for the trapped man. Thanks to Tom's efforts, Fred was pulled free in the hours that followed, the last man to leave the trench alive. (see link below to a full account of the disaster).

For a detailed account of the disaster and ten minute film...

Tom's Albert Medal