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PRICE OF VALOUR; Blitz hero's George Cross fetches a record PS93,000.


MOST people would run a mile if a hissing bomb landed by their side in a deadly German air raid.

But Sergeant Michael Gibson did the opposite and, after sending his men to safety, moved in and extracted the fuse himself, saving hundreds of lives.

With typical understatement, his George Cross citation praised the 34-year-old's "prompt and courageous action" in a "very dangerous situation".

And now the Second World War hero's award for gallantry has fetched a record PS93,000 at auction in London.

Sgt Gibson, of No.9 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers, was tasked with making safe unexploded bombs and mines that fell in the Warwickshire area in the Blitz of 1940. He found the device under rubble in the factory in Coventry.

But just a month later his luck ran out when a 550lb bomb he and his men were handling exploded as it was unloaded from a truck. He was killed and his George Cross was awarded posthumously. It was bought in the 1960s by a collector.

The George Cross is less well-known than the Victoria Cross - which is awarded for valour in the heat of battle - and can be given to civilians as well as soldiers.

Auctioneer Christopher Hill of Dix Noonan Webb said: "There is a growing appreciation for the George Cross, which is rarer than the Victoria Cross."

The sale eclipses the PS86,000 paid last year for a George Cross won by Corporal James Scully, who saved a family trapped in the rubble of their Liverpool home.


BRAVE 3 Sgt Gibson. Right: Medal

RUBBLE n Sifting through the ruins after German raid on Coventry in 1940
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 19, 2012
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