War hero's medal set to come home; NAAFI MAKES APPEAL FOR FAMILY OF NORTH TEENAGER TO GET IN TOUCH.
THE medal of a teenage war hero who risked his life to help crack the German Enigma code is returning to the region.
Galley assistant Tommy Brown, from North Shields, was the youngest ever recipient of the George Medal. Now the Darlington-based Navy, Army & Air Force Institutes (NAAFI) are trying to trace members of his family to invite them to welcome the medal on its return to the region as part of the organisation's 90th anniversary celebrations.
Tommy joined NAAFI in 1941 at the age of 15 and went on to work as a canteen assistant on board HMS Petard during the Second World War. In October 1942, Tommy, who was the youngest on board, dived into freezing waters to help First Lieutenant Anthony Fasson and Able Seaman Colin Grazier retrieve the vital documents from the U559 submarine before it sank.
He went back to the hull three times with documents passed to him but rising waters trapped the other two sailors.
Documents were passed on to codebreakers and experts believe it helped shorten the war, saving thousands of lives.
But Tommy died just three years later, trying to rescue his three-year-old sister Maureen from their burning house on a North Shields estate.
His family received the George Medal from King George VI on his behalf in 1945. In 1985 his brothers, Stan Brown, from North Shields, and David, from Durham, presented NAAFI with Tommy's medals at Imperial Court in London and they were placed in a museum.
The museum has now closed and the medals are heading back to the North East where they will be displayed at the headquarters in Darlington.
NAAFI chief executive officer Reg Curtis said: "Our 90th anniversary gives us the perfect opportunity to rediscover and recognise some of our most heroic NAAFI staff."
If you have any information about Tommy's family please contact Marie O'Connor on 0113 237 2826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRAVE: Tommy Brown, the youngest recipient of the George Medal