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Barbara Jane Harrison. GC. The Ultimate Sacrifice.

Updated on December 17, 2015
Barbara. | Source

An Air Stewardess To The End.

It was April 8th 1968, Flight 712 took off from Heathrow Airport. London. Bound for Sydney. Australia. The flight carried a full compliment of 126 passengers. A few minutes into the flight, the flight deck of this Boeing 707 was rocked by a huge blast, the aircraft began to shudder as control was lost on the flight deck. In less than a minute an engine caught fire and fell from the aircraft's wing. Thankfully the pilot regained control and was able to land the aircraft. However the aircraft had caught fire.

The Tragedy unfolds.

There was a full emergency turn out and all help that could be given was on site as the aircraft stopped on the runway. Whilst still burning the doors were opened to enable passengers to use the inflatable escape chutes. At the rear door of the aircraft was a steward and stewardess Barbara Jane Harrison. The chute at their door twisted as it inflated, the steward had to climb down it to straighten it out. Harrison was alone trying to help the passengers through the door. The aircraft was still ablaze when flames blocked the Galley. This meant that passengers could not now get to the back doors. Harrison redirected those still trapped to the other exits. She remained at her post. She knew that there was an elderly passenger, still seated in one of the last rows of seats.

No escape.

Having helped so many to safety, this brave young woman turned and performed her last act. She went to the aid of the elderly passenger. She was finally overcome. The body of the passenger was found close to hers. She had done her best. Barbara was born on 24 May 1945 in Bradford, Yorkshire. She lost her life on 8th April.1968.

The George Cross is awarded for gallantry, it is usually awarded during times of war, though it is also awarded in peacetime. Barbara Jane Harrison is the only woman to have been awarded the medal in peacetime.


GC. The George Cross.

The George Cross Gallantry

© 2012 Graham Lee


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    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 22 months ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Robert. Thank you for your visit and valued comments.


    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 22 months ago

      A touching story. Thank you for writing about Barbara Jane Harrison's courage and sacrifice.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Stella. Thanks for your visit. Yes a wonderful young woman, she knew the risks and took them in the line of duty. An example to all of us.


    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Hi Graham, she really deserved this honor. There are some real heros that some of us didn't know exist. This was a great story.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Eddy. Yes Eddy these people are still out there, the people that step forward when the chips are down. Thank goodness and God bless them.


    • eddy4me profile image

      Eddy Jones 4 years ago from Wales.

      What a wonderful story and this very brave lady will be in my memory for a long time come thanks to you Graham.

      Take care my friend and have a wonderful day.


    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi jandee. Yes, these wonderful people are out there, doing their job or duty. Non of us know what we would do in extreme circumstances.


    • jandee profile image

      jandee 5 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      Hello Graham,

      people are wonderful in times of need. thanks for bringing this story to our attention,

      best from jandee

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Just History. Thank you for your visit. You are quite right, she should not be forgotten. At least this hub has brought her to the notice of some of us.


    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Thanks for your visit. Yes, it is nice to know that these wonderful people are out there. The awful thing is that it is due to their death that they are recognised.


    • Just History profile image

      Just History 5 years ago from England

      THANK YOU! This amazing woman and her feat of bravery deserves not to be forgotten

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow! Quite a woman...quite a human being! Bravo for bringing this story to the light of day. I love stories about the bravery of regular people who somehow rise above it all and show what we humans can be.