|BCMIL001S||George Cross tribute first day cover: the Police. Signed by 5 GC winners from the Police.||£50.00||Buy Now|
Issue Date: 07/05/2005
Producer: Buckingham Covers
The George Cross (GC) is the highest civil decoration of the United Kingdom
It is granted in recognition of "acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger".
During the height of the Blitz in the Second World War, it become obvious that there was simply no award to recognise the sheer bravery and self-sacrifice shown by ordinary people in the face of terror. King George VI instituted the GC on 24th September 1940 to fill the gap.
The GC became the civilian counterpart of the Victoria Cross (VC) and is the highest gallantry award possible both for civilians - and military personnel for actions not in the face of the enemy.
The George Cross has been awarded to brave men and women from all walks of life. This collection honours just a few of them, from the Police, Army, Navy and Bomb Disposal Squad.
Each edition in the GC tribute collection has been genuinely signed by winners of the George Cross. Each has a special cachet indicating which edition it is (police, army, navy or bomb disposal). All are very limited editions of under 150 covers. Each cover arrives with a short biography of the signatories.The Police Edition
5 policemen of outstanding courage signed our Police Edition. All of them hold the George Cross for acts of huge bravery. Each signed to raise funds for the Police Memorial Trust - the only charity to research, name and honour every United Kingdom police officer who has lost their life on or as a result of duty since the earliest days of professional law enforcement over three centuries ago.
Numbered limited edition of 100.
James Wallace Beaton GC CVO JP was an Inspector with Metropolitan Police as a Royal Bodyguard.
In 1974, Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips were returning to Buckingham Palace from an official engagement. They were accompanied by Princess Anne's personal Police Officer, Inspector Beaton, and her Lady-in-Waiting. As the Royal car approached a junction a car swerved in front, causing the driver to break suddenly. Inspector Beaton, who was seated in the front passenger seat, got out to see what was wrong – and was shot in the shoulder. Despite his wound the Inspector drew his pistol and fired, but the shot missed the attacker and his gun jammed. The gunman told him to drop his weapon, or he would shoot Princess Anne. The gun wasn’t working anyway, so Beaton put it on the ground.
The gunman was trying to open the rear offside door of the Royal car and was demanding that Princess Anne went with him. Inspector Beaton leant across to shield Princess Anne with his body. Captain Phillips managed to close the door and the Inspector, seeing that the man was about to fire into the back of the car, put his hand up to the window directly in the line of fire to absorb the impact of the bullet. The gunman fired, shattering the window, and the officer was wounded in the right hand by the bullet and by broken glass. Despite his wounds the Inspector asked Captain Phillips to release his grip on the door so that he might kick it open violently to throw the man off balance. However, before he could do so, the man opened the door and fired at the officer again, wounding him in the stomach. The Inspector fell from the offside door and collapsed unconscious at the gunman's feet.
For his outstanding gallantry, James Beaton was awarded the George Cross.Tony Gledhill GC
Whilst on patrol in a Police car in 1966, Tony and his partner, Terry McFall, listened to a radio message from the control room. They heard details of a suspect car apparently containing armed men. With surprise, Tony and Terry realised that the car was just seconds away!
Armed gunmen or not, Tony and Terry were determined to find that car.
They spotted it. The car was indeed occupied by armed men, a gang of East End Gunmen. A mad chase began. Through the streets of south-east London - up one way streets the wrong way, against on-coming vehicles, through red-lights - with shots being fired at them the whole time, Tony and Terry hurtled after that car.
It ended in a crash but the policemen weren't beaten. They gave chase on foot, still with guns being fired at them all the time. At one point, Tony had a gangster’s gun at his head, as well as having shots fired directly at him.
Amazingly, he and his colleague not only survived but successfully arrested one of the men - after a fight. The others were pursued over the coming days and weeks by police colleagues.
For his outstanding gallantry, Tony Gledhill was awarded the George Cross.Michael Kenneth Pratt GC
What follows is the full text of the official citation in the London Gazette:
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the George Cross to the undermentioned:-
Michael Kenneth PRATT, Constable, Victoria Police Force.
On the morning of 4th June 1976 three masked men entered a bank and carried out an armed robbery. One of the men ordered the staff to lie on the floor, another jumped over the counter and removed money from the tills while the third remained in the public area and fired a shot in the direction of the manager and a customer when they ran towards the rear of the bank.
Constable Pratt, who was off-duty and unarmed, was driving past the bank in his private car and saw the men entering the bank ; he noticed that each man was masked and carrying a firearm and realised that they were about to commit an armed robbery. He immediately turned his car, switched up the lights and, sounding his horn, mounted the kerb and blocked the bank entrance. He instructed a passer-by to call for police assistance.
The raiders were taken by surprise, but one of them threatened the Constable with a gun and signalled to him to remove the car, whereupon the officer refused, removed the ignition key, and armed himself with the handle of a car jack. The men then attempted to leave the bank by kicking in the lower section of the glass door and climbing over the bonnet of the car. As the first man straddled the front of the car Constable Pratt grabbed him firmly and during the violent struggle which ensued the robber was knocked unconscious. By this time a second gunman had left the bank and climbed over the car, aimed his weapon and threatened to shoot the officer at close range ; the man had his arms extended at shoulder height and pointed a revolver directly at Constable Pratt. The first man had by now recovered consciousness and was getting to his feet, so the officer grabbed him again and the man called to the gunman to shoot the Constable. A shot was then fired and Constable Pratt who was in the process of trying to protect his back and at the same time retain his hold on his captive, was seriously wounded.
Constable Pratt displayed outstanding bravery, devotion to duty and a complete disregard for his own safety when, unarmed and single handed, he faced and attempted to arrest these dangerous armed criminals.Henry Stevens GC
Henry Stevens was a Police Constable in the Metropolitan Police Force. Inh 1958, while patrolling with another constable, they received a message to investigate a suspected break-in at a house in Bickley (Kent).
When they arrived at the scene, Stevens went around to the rear of the house when he saw a man climb over the fence of the house. Stevens chased after the man and was only a few yards away when the man turned around and shot Stevens in the mouth. Despite his injury, Stevens continued to chase the man back around the house and onto the road. Finally catching up with the man Stevens, who was suffering from loss of blood, managed to grasp the man but the man slipped out of his coat. By this time, two other policemen had come to Stevens assistance and the man was finally arrested.
For his outstanding gallantry, Henry Stevens was awarded the George Cross.Carl Walker GC
Carl Walker GC won his GC for action in 1971, when an armed gang raided a jeweller's shop in Blackpool. Following the robbery, a prolonged chase occurred involving several unarmed police cars. Constable Walker blocked the path of the robber's car with his own police car. But, the robbers reversed their car, smashing into the side of Walker's car. Despite suffering from shock, Constable Walker ran after the robbers until he was shot in the groin.
For his outstanding gallantry, Carl Walker was awarded the George Cross.The George Cross tribute cover
The design for our George Cross tribute cover was created to raise funds for the Battle of Britain Monument in London.
The monument is very relevent to George Cross winners because it is not just about the armed forces. It recognises the contribution made by EVERYONE during the Battle of Britain - the unglamorous heroism of civilians, factory workers, aircraft mechanics, air wardens and telephone engineers. Real people doing both extraordinary things. That makes it very appropriate.
The illustration on the cover is by famous airbrush artist, Philip Castle, whose work includes the cult Clockwork Orange poster and tour posters for Paul McCartney's band Wings. He donated his time to create this illustration for the Battle of Britain Monument.
The cover is postmarked on the first day of the St Paul's Cathedral stamp: 5th July 2005
We have 5 superb editions, autographed by winners of the George Cross. Click on any picture above to find out more.