- Name: William LLOYD
- D.O.B: 6th Mar, 1906
- D.O.A: 3rd Oct, 1927
- D.O.D: 16th Jun, 1978
- Award: Edward Medal translated to George Cross
- Occupation at time of action: Sub-foreman, Quibell Brothers Ltd, Newark-on-Trent
- Book: The Complete History - Volume 3
BETWEEN THE WARS
The stresses of the First World War led to political revolution in much of Europe and, in extreme cases, social collapse. Even the victors, Britain and France, were not immune to the economic upheaval and labour unrest resulting from the transition from war to peace and the demobilization of hundreds of thousands of men. This made them extremely nervous of the rise of the Bolsheviks in Russia and they decided to send aid to the anti-Bolshevik forces. However, an Allied North Russia Expeditionary Force had to be withdrawn once it became clear that internal opposition to the Bolsheviks had been defeated. In Britain a postwar boom failed to prove long-lasting and in May 1926 there was a General Strike, triggered by a crisis in the Mining Industry. The Great Depression followed in 1929 and by 1931 Britain was forced to abandon the Gold Standard. In large parts of the country and especially in the traditional industries there was widespread unemployment throughout the 1930s, symbolized by the Jarrow Crusade of 1936. Conditions were much worse on the Continent and the interwar period witnessed the rise of the Dictators. The coming to power in Germany of Hitler in 1933 was to lead inexorably to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. In the years of increasingly uneasy peace between 1919 and September 1939 only eleven VCs were awarded and of these only one, the award to Captain G P Meynell in 1935, took place outside the period 1919-21. Of the eleven awards, five related to actions against the Bolsheviks, four to actions on the North-West Frontier of India and one to an an engagement in what is now Iraq. The remaining award was that in 1921 to the American Unknown Warrior. Of the Albert, Edward and Empire Gallantry Medals awarded in the same period, 142 recipients lived long enough for their awards to be converted to the GC. The geographical distribution of the actions that occasioned the awards is witness to the Global spread of the British Empire, which reached its widest extent after the First World War. However, some of the awards, for gallantry in India, Egypt and the Sudan, and Palestine, reflected both the stresses in maintaining that dominion and the duties it entailed. After service personnel and policemen, coal miners formed the largest group of recipients, demonstrating the central importance of coal to the British economy and the dangers inherent in securing it. Those who worked in coal and gold mines in India and Africa were also honoured. Both in the mines and in industry as a whole, the threat posed by poisonous gases led to many awards. New industries brought new hazards with them. Other dangers overcome were of a more basic sort. Awards were also made to those who, throughout the Empire, confronted mad elephants, rabid dogs and marauding sharks.
On the night of the 3rd October, 1927, a man named Taylor was engaged in attending, at the works of Messrs. Quibell Brothers Limited, a grease extracting plant used for extracting grease from bones by means of petroleum benzine. Noticing that benzine vapour was escaping from the extractor through the lid which had been incorrectly left open he endeavoured, with the help of a fellow workman, to close the lid. The fellow workman was affected by the fumes and on the suggestion of Taylor left the room. On recovering and finding later that Taylor had not followed him he gave the alarm. William Lloyd, a sub-foreman of the works, who was not on duty but was passing the works on his way home, hearing that Taylor was in the building, put a scarf round his mouth and ran to the upper floor of the building where he found Taylor lying unconscious near the lid of the extractor. He succeeded in dragging Taylor down three steps to a lower floor but was himself overcome, and collapsed, and was later taken out of the building by other men. Frank Boot, the foreman of the works, who was not on duty but had been summoned from his home, meanwhile arrived at the works, and having put a handkerchief round his mouth went into the building where he found Taylor in the position in which Lloyd had left him. Boot then dragged Taylor to a point where other men could reach him, but he himself became affected with the fumes. Lloyd and Boot in rescuing Taylor, displayed a high degree of courage. It was stated in evidence at the inquest on Taylor, who did not survive, that at the time of the rescue the building was full of benzine fumes and that a cloud of fume was also visible outside the building. Apart from the risk of suffocation there was the exceptionally serious risk of an explosion, and both men were well aware of these risks. The Coroner and the Jury spoke in the highest terms of the bravery shown by Lloyd and Boot and asked that it should be recognised.