Personal info

  • Name: Margaret PURVES
  • D.O.B: 25th Nov, 1934
  • D.O.A: 28th May, 1949
  • Award: Albert Medal translated to George Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Fourteen year old civilian
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Sources & Acknowledgements


 On 28th May 1949, a party of Scouts aged between 11 and 15 years, visiting Sully Island were cut off by the rising tide from the causeway which led to the mainland. Most of the boys got safely across, but two of them were forced off the causeway by the strong tide. The leader of the party returned to help the elder boy but in the struggle he too became exhausted. Margaret Vaughan (aged 14 years) saw from the beach the difficulties they were in. She undressed and swam towards them over a distance of some 30 yards in cold, rough water and against strong currents due to the rising tide. On reaching them she towed the boy to the shore while he supported himself by grasping the straps of her costume and his leader's coat. At about ten feet from the shore a life belt was thrown in which the boy was placed by the other two and the three reached the shore safely. Margaret Vaughan's action probably saved the life of the Scout leader as well as that of the elder boy.

Meanwhile, John Howard Davies (aged 13 years) had safely reached the mainland when he saw that his friend, who was unable to swim, was being forced away from the causeway into deep water. He stripped to the waist and went back along the causeway to help him. By swimming out he was able to grasp his friend and hold him up in the water. Both boys shouted for help and it was obvious that they would not get ashore unaided. By this time a rescue boat had put out from the shore but Davies became exhausted by his efforts and before the boat could reach them he was forced to release his hold on his friend and they drifted apart. The boat rescued the friend but no further sign of Davies was seen. His body was subsequently recovered. There is no doubt that in returning to the aid of his friend after he himself had reached safety Davies gave his life in this rescue attempt.

Citation published in The London Gazette 1st November, 1949 GC Action: Awarded the Albert Medal, (translated to GC in 1971) GCs Awarded Directly Awarded 163 Converted Awards 251 Share This

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