Personal info

  • Name: Gordon Love BASTIAN
  • D.O.B: 30th Mar, 1902
  • D.O.A: 30th Mar, 1943
  • D.O.D: 30th Oct, 1987
  • Award: Albert Medal translated to George Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Second Engineer Officer, SS Empire Bowman, Hain Steam Ship Co Ltd, Merchant Navy
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 3
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Sources & Acknowledgements

The Atlantic, 500 miles west of Brest, France 30 March 1943

30 March 1943

More details about:
The Second World War 1943 

The SS Empire Bowman had been launched in 1942 and was owned by the Ministry of War Transport. She had sailed from India and at Freetown, Sierra Leone, had joined Convoy SL 126 on 12 March 1943 to return to the UK, carrying a cargo of general merchandise and manganese ore. She was torpedoed in the Atlantic, 500 miles west of Brest, France on 30 March 1943 by the German submarine U404.


 The KING has been graciously pleased to make the following award:- The Albert Medal. Gordon Love Bastian, Esq., M.B.E., Second Engineer Officer, Merchant Navy. The ship in which Mr. Bastian was serving was torpedoed and sustained severe damage. Mr. Bastian was on watch in the engine-room when the ship was struck. He at once shut off the engines. He then remembered that two firemen were on watch in the stokehold. The engineroom was in darkness and water was already pouring into it. Although there was grave risk of disastrous flooding in opening the watertight door between the stokehold and the engine-room, Mr. Bastian did not hesitate but groped his way to the door and opened it. The two firemen were swept into the engine-room with the inrush of water. One man had a broken arm and injured feet and the other was badly bruised and shaken. Mr. Bastian made efforts to hold them both but lost one, so he dragged the other to the escape ladder and helped him on deck. He then returned for the other and helped him to safety. The more seriously injured man had practically to be lifted up the ladder by Mr. Bastian, who was himself half choked by cordite fumes. Second Engineer Officer Bastian took a very great risk in opening the watertight door into the already flooded and darkened engine-room of the sinking ship and both men undoubtedly owe their lives to his exceptional bravery, strength and presence of mind. 

Supplement to The London Gazette of 13 August 1943. 17 August 1943, Numb. 36134, p. 3680

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