Awarded the George Medal: 1948/ 3/ 2 Harold James BENDING, Fitter-Driver, London Airport. (Heston, Middlesex.) On the night of 2nd March, 1948, a Sabena aircraft crashed and caught fire at London Airport.
....Bending and Brown, when the crash took place, were about 75 yards away. Without hesitation they ran to the machine which was burning fiercely.
There were several minor explosions as Bending approached the wreckage but, undeterred, he carried on and dragged a man to safety through a hole in the fuselage immediately behind the starboard main-plane; he then ran to the rear of the fuselage, saw a .door which was already partly/ qpen, and entered.
The fuselage was full of smoke but he found one man on the floor and .dragged-, him. to. the. door. After taking him to safety he returned but was not able to enter the aircraft again Bending and Brown showed great courage and by their prompt action saved the lives of two of the passengers.
Extract..... A Dakota aircraft of the Sabena Airline from Brussels, arriving at London Airport, Heathrow, in thick fog soon after nine in the evening of the 2nd March 1948, crashed on landing and burst into flames. Of the passengers and crew, numbering 22, all but three were killed. The Dakota was completely burned out.
This is the worst accident that has happened at London Airport. The aircraft landed in a nose dive on the grass about 50 yards from the wide concrete band of the runway which is generally used in fog. There was an explosion and the Dakota broke into fierce flames immediately.
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