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Sapper James Hawker


Harrogate Herald - 27th February 1918

Sapper James Hawker, of the Royal Engineers, who is in the Royal Bath Hospital, was on Thursday presented with the Military Medal in hospital by Surgeon-General Bedford. Sapper Hawker won the decoration by helping to save the lives of an officer and two men at Messines. The Germans had blown up a mine, and by the resultant fall of earth and officer and five men were imprisoned. A small party, of whom Sapper Hawker was one, made a gallant effort to get them out, but at the first attempt could not reach them Flying Officer the poisonous gases which permeated the mine. They hurriedly got the life-saving apparatus and thus equipped they were able to penetrate into the mine, and they got the officer and two men out alive. The other three men when they got were got out were dead. Sapper Hawker was recommended straightway for the medal. He was subsequently attacked with rheumatism through exposure, which has crippled his hands. He was invalided home and went into a hospital at Nottingham, where he learnt that he had been awarded the Military Medal. He was transferred from Nottingham to Harrogate. For the presentation ceremony the men in hospital foregathered in the big hall. Here Surgeon-General Bedford, who was a visit to the hospital from York, presented the invalided soldier withy the decoration. He complimented the recipient on his heroic deed, and referred to the men at the Front who uphold the honour and credit of the Army. He mentioned that the men in the Harrogate hospital had the advantage of having been sent to one of the foremost health resorts in the kingdom, a fact which, no doubt, they appreciated. General Bedford pinned on the medal amid the cheers of the wounded.


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