Patrick Noel Humphreys GC
Name: Patrick Noel Humphreys
Conflict: Spanish Civil War
Gazetted: November 12, 1937
Service: Royal Navy
Place/date of birth: Sheppey, Kent/February 6, 1913
Rank when awarded GC (and later highest rank): Lieutenant (Acting Lieutenant-Commander)
Date of bravery: May 13, 1937
London Gazette citation:
The King has been graciously pleased to approve the Award of the Medal of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, to the undermentioned for gallant and distinguished services rendered when H.M.S. “Hunter” was mined off Almeria on the coast of Spain on the 13th May 1937:
Lieutenant Patrick Noel Humphreys, R.N.
James Smail, Petty Officer, O.N. D/J 85547
An explosion caused by the mining occurred underneath the Stoker Petty Officers’ and Torpedomen’s Mess Decks. To reach the ratings on these mess decks, this party had to jump down 8 feet, the ladder being blown away, into 3 feet of oil fuel and onto a deck which might not have been intact. During the period they remained in imminent risk of falling through the shattered deck into the water and oil fuel. Moreover, they were under the impression that the ship was about to founder. Their exertions to save life consisted in dragging living and dead men from under wreckage and out of the oil fuel and passing them up on deck. This operation lasted 5 to 10 minutes. The rescued men were in very severe danger from having swallowed oil fuel and had they been left they would undoubtedly have died. Others were severely burnt and immersion of their wounds in oil fuel, if prolonged, would undoubtedly have caused death.
[Patrick Humphreys’ Empire Gallantry Medal was translated into the award of the George Cross, following the Royal Warrant issued in September 1940]
Click here to see full Gazette entry.
Place/date of death: West Malling, Kent/November 26, 1943
Grave/memorials: Headstone, Maidstone Cemetery, Kent; Plot C.C.I
Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2023
Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum