Farewell to a hero of The Blitz

HERO Goronwy Evan

HERO Goronwy Evan

Naval reservist and teacher AB Emma Cutler helps Isobel Turner, 11, to salute.   PHOTO: Royal Navy

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a former policeman who received the George Medal for diving into a burning building during the Second World War.

Goronwy Evans, of Merthyr Avenue in Cosham, has died at the age of 94.

WRECKAGE The remains of Stanley Street, Southsea, after a German raid on August 24, 1940 and inset, Goronwy Evan

WRECKAGE The remains of Stanley Street, Southsea, after a German raid on August 24, 1940 and inset, Goronwy Evan

Mr Evans was the son of a Welsh miner, and came to Portsmouth at the age of 17 to become a boy firefighter.

And it was his heroic actions one night in the middle of the Blitz that earned him the second highest decoration from the King.

His daughter, Patricia Hobbs, 66, of White Chimney Row in Westbourne, near Emsworth, said: ‘I’m so very proud of him for what he did but it’s not something he ever liked to speak about.

‘He was always described by people as someone who was his own man and he didn’t suffer fools gladly.

‘He was very independently-minded and was independent until the last.

‘I’m sure he will be given a very good send-off at his funeral.’

On March 10, 1941, a series of raids were launched on the city, aimed at battleships in port at the time. Mr Evans was on the beat in Palmerston Road when the sirens sounded and the first bombs began falling at 8pm.

Among the devastation happening across the city, a bomb had landed behind a large house in Elm Grove and set the remains of the house alight.

A neighbouring nursing home, which was still occupied by its residents, was in danger of catching fire.

And the then PC Evans wasted no time in climbing through the debris to fight the fire alone.

Overcome by fumes, he collapsed twice during his attempts to put out the fire but he insisted on going back in until the danger had passed.

Months later he was awarded the George Medal for his bravery.

Paul Donnellan, the chairman of the Portsmouth and Gosport branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers, said: ‘When I knew him I was a very young policeman and he was a great man.

‘He was very kind to people but he was a proper policeman when he had to be.

‘He was respected by all.’

Mr Evans’ funeral takes place on December 7 and his family are expecting a huge number of people to attend.

OBITUARY: Policeman enjoyed a 30-year career in the city

GORONWY Evans enjoyed a distinguished 30-year career as a police officer in Portsmouth.

Mr Evans, the son of Welsh miner, was born in 1918 in the village of Oakdale, in Caerphilly, Wales.

He moved to Portsmouth at the age of 17 as a boy fireman and became a police constable after his 20th birthday.

He retired in 1968 after 30 years of service to take up a position as an education welfare officer in the city, a position he held for a further 15 years.

Mr Evans was married to Maud Lorraine for 50 years and she died 18 years ago.

He is survived by his daughter Patricia Hobbs.

· Goronwy Wynne Evans: Born on May 7, 1918; died November 7, 2012.

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