City says farewell to policeman who was a Blitz hero

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TRIBUTES have been paid at the funeral of a former Portsmouth policeman who was given the George Medal for diving into a burning building during the war.

Friends, family and former colleagues of Goronwy Evans packed into the Church of the Resurrection in Farlington yesterday to bid him farewell.

Goronwy Evan GM

Goronwy Evan GM

As reported in The News, the 94-year-old, of Merthyr Avenue in Cosham, died last month.

He remains one of only two policemen in Hampshire to have ever received the George Medal.

Mr Evans earned the second-highest decoration from King George for his heroic actions one night in Portsmouth during the Blitz.

Inspector Kelvin Shipp, of Hampshire Constabulary, read a tribute to Mr Evans at his funeral yesterday.

He said: ‘He was a remarkable man.

‘It was a privilege to know him and it was a tremendous honour to have called him my friend.

‘Even at 94, he was still young at heart.

‘I first met Goronwy 20 years ago when I was a policeman in Southsea.

‘Having heard about his George Medal I decided I had to hear the story from him.’

Around 100 people gathered for Mr Evans’ funeral, including Hampshire Constabulary’s Chief Constable Alex Marshall and the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Frank Jonas.

The Hampshire Constabulary Police Choir sang hymns throughout the service, ending with We’ll Keep a Welcome in the Hillsides.

Afterwards, the family continued to a private committal service at Portchester Crematorium.

Mr Evans earned his prestigious honour when on March 10, 1941, a series of raids were launched on Portsmouth.

Mr Evans was on the beat in Palmerston Road when a bomb 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 climbed 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.