Lieutenant-Commander John Bridge GC, GM & Bar
John Bridge began World War Two as a physics teacher, but finished it as the recipient of an almost unique set of gallantry medals: the George Cross, together with the George Medal and Bar. Each of these decorations was awarded for bravery in his highly dangerous role as a bomb and mine disposal expert.
Bridge was born in Culcheth, near Warrington in Lancashire, on February 5, 1915. His father, Joseph Bridge, was a farmer and his mother Mary (née Taylor) had her hands full looking after John’s two brothers and four sisters. John attended Leigh Grammar School in what is now Greater Manchester and subsequently obtained a special honours degree in physics from King’s College London in 1937, then was awarded a teaching diploma the following year. After sending out more than 100 job applications, he finally landed a teaching job at a secondary modern school near his home.
Bridge later moved to Leighton Park Quaker School in Reading, Berkshire. During his second term at the school, he was praised by the headmaster for his teaching ability, but then was told that he was not going to be offered a full-time role as he did not have an Oxford or Cambridge University education. Bridge’s next job was at Frith Park Grammar School in Sheffield, accepting at first a temporary role that later became a permanent position.