Squadron Leader The Reverend Herbert Cecil Pugh GC


It is rare for a gallantry decoration to be announced several years after the brave deed for which it was awarded. However, the courage of Squadron Leader The Reverend Herber t Pugh had gone largely unrecognised until a letter to a national newspaper began a campaign that eventually led to the posthumous award of the George Cross. As a result of this campaign, a major wrong was righted nearly six years later.

Herbert Cecil Pugh was born in Johannesburg , South Africa, on November 2, 1898. He was the son of Harr y Pugh, a builders’ merchant, and his wife Jean (née Douglas). Pugh’s Christian names were the responsibility of his grandmother, who wanted him to be named after both L ord Herber t Kitchener and Cecil Rhodes. He was usually known by his second name, Cecil, and was the second of seven children.

Educated at Jeppe High School for Boys in a suburb of his home city, when World War One erupted in July 1914, Pugh was just 15. However, he later volunteered to ser ve as a stretcher bearer.

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