b. 15/01/1896 Bermondsey, London. d. 07/09/1940 New Cross, London.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 07/09/1940 New Cross, London.
Albert George Dolphin (1896-1940), known as George, was born on 15th January 1896 in Bermondsey, the son of Albert Edward Dolphin and his wife, Jessie Ada Alice Dolphin (nee Alexander). He was baptised on 16th February 1896 at St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Bermondsey. He was one of five children, with two brothers Henry Thomas and Alexander, and two sisters, Nellie and Jessie Emma. By 1911, the family had moved to live in Newington St Mary, London, and George was working as an errand boy.
In 1915, George enlisted with the Royal Fusiliers before transferring into the 1st Battalion of the London Regiment. He served in France and Flanders, on the Somme in 1916 and Passchendaele in 1917. He survived the war, but sadly his father died in 1918 soon after his return to the UK from the Front.
Shortly after being demobbed, George got a job at the South Eastern Hospital at New Cross as a Emergency Hospital Service Porter. In 1921, he married Angelina Caroline Tutti, whose father was Italian, in Southwark, but they went on to have two daughters, Jessie and Doreen. Sadly Doreen would die as an infant.
On 7th September 1940, a high-explosive bomb fell on the kitchens of Ward Block I, killing 4 nurses and injuring the night sister and patients in the adjoining ward. Nurse Sole, who was in the ward kitchen, was thrown through the collapsing floor into the passage below. Together with other helpers, Dolphin rushed to the site and found her pinned by a block of masonry across her legs. While they were working to free her, the wall was heard to crack and it subsequently collapsed. The workers had plenty of time to jump clear but Dolphin remained and he was subsequently found lying face down across the nurse with his head towards the wall which had collapsed on top of him. When found he was dead, but Nurse Sole was extricated alive, although badly injured. There is no doubt that Dolphin deliberately remained where he was and threw himself across her body to protect her.
Dolphin was posthumously awarded the George Cross (London Gazette 17th January 1941). Sadly, his final resting place is unknown. His medals including his GC, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19 are held by the Dolphin family.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: WITH RECIPIENT’S FAMILY.
BURIAL PLACE: HITHER GREEN CEMETERY, LEWISHAM, LONDON.
PLOT AA, GRAVE 263. HEADSTONE PLACED BY VCGCA IN AUTUMN 2018.
Peter Norton GC – Image of Dolphin GC’s grave in Hither Green Cemetery, Lewisham.