Harold Newgass was World War II lieutenant who single-handedly saved Garston from obliteration by defusing a land mine that landed in its gas works.
Temporary Lieutenant Harold Newgass worked for two days in dank and dirty conditions inside one of the gas cylinders after a parachute mine landed in it but failed to explode.
Homes for miles around the works were evacuated and up to 6,000 people displaced.
For two days until November 30, 1940 he battled to defuse the mine and because of the noxious, flammable fumes inside the cylinder his operation was complicated by having to wear breathing apparatus which only had a life of 30 minutes apiece. On September 23 1940, King George VI had addressed the nation to announce the institution of the new decoration: ‘In order that they should be worthily and promptly recognised, I have decided to create, at once, a new mark of honour for men and women in all walks of civilian life. I propose to give my name to this new distinction… which will rank next to the Victoria Cross and the George Medal for wider distribution.’
The decoration itself would be silver – a plain cross with four equal ‘limbs’. In the centre, the cross would bear a circular medallion portraying St George slaying a dragon. The inscription would read simply: ‘For Gallantry’. A Londoner Newgass, 41 a was awarded the George Cross for his efforts.
“Liverpool was the second most bombed city in the UK because Hitler thought if he could stop supplies coming in he could starve the country into submission.”Mr Newgass, a veteran of the Great War, lived a humble and unassuming life after his remarkable feat and died aged 85.