This blog is a companion to the Database of Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington

Sunday, November 23, 2014

2nd Lt Henry Campbell Brady NOT awarded the Albert Medal

Originally the Albert Medal was created to recognise life saving at sea, but a number of mine disasters led to a medal for life saving on land, as shown above.    It was not a military medal, but during the Great War a number of awards of the Albert Medal were made to soldiers who risked life and limb to save others.  A common reason for awarding an Albert Medal during the war was for what was described as a "grenade incident".  The Long, Long Trail: The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918  webpage describes Albert Medals awarded to soldiers and sailors during the war, including three Australians.

2nd Lieutenant Henry Campbell Brady of the 29 Inf Bn was recommended for the award  in late 1917.  The recommendation read:

At DEVRES on 29th December 1917, Lieut BRADY WAS superintending live bombing practice.  Snow was on the ground, and men waiting for their turn to throw got very cold in the hands. As a result of this, men on three occasions, after extracting the safety pin dropped their grenades in the trench from which they were throwing.  On each occasion Lieut BRADY coolly picked the grenades up and, with only a couple of seconds to spare threw them out of the trench.  By his quick action and coolness he undoubtedly saved several lives. 

 By the end of 1917 grenade incidents had been ridiculously common, and in this case Brady was not awarded the medal.  The fact that no-one died, and the rescuer was not injured may have played a part.

Whether anyone in authority was criticised for allowing men in very cold conditions to practise with live bombs is unknown.  No medals earned there for common sense.

You can learn a little more about 2/Lt Brady here.  

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