Albert John Meadows GC (EM exchanger)

b. 06/06/1904 St Pancras, London. d. 19/03/1988 Selsey, West Sussex.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 18/09/1931 London.

Albert John Meadows (1904-1988) was born at 27 Litcham Street, St Pancras, London, the son of John Edwin and Elizabeth Jane Meadows (nee Gosling). His father worked as a porter at a local wine merchants at the time of Albert’s birth. Albert was baptised in Holy Trinity Church, Haverstock Hill on 24th July 1904. Albert was the youngest of their five children, with three brothers and a sister. By the time of the 1911 Census they were living in Hethersett Street, Chalk Farm.

Albert J Meadows GC

Albert attended the local Council Schools, before leaving school at 14 to begin work at W.A. Gilbey Ltd, a distillery in Camden Town, London. On 23rd June 1929, at Holy Trinity Church in Haverstock Hill (where he was baptised), he married Laura Phyllis Hill. There were no children from the marriage.

On 18th September 1931, whilst at work at W.A. Gilbey, John Gale was cleaning out the residue in an empty cherry brandy vat when he was discovered unconscious by Frederick Wormald, having been gassed by the carbon dioxide generated by fermentation of the residue. Wormald went into the vat but was unable to get Gale out. He then called Leonard Wright and went down a second time, but was himself affected by the gas and had to be helped out by Wright. Wright then tried but he too became unconscious at the bottom of the vat. In the meantime, the manager had sent for assistance. Harold Hostler arrived and immediately entered the vat. He succeeded in dragging Wright to a sitting position near the foot of a ladder, but feeling the effects, he had to leave the vat. He tried twice more, finally getting Gale to the bottom of the ladder, but they only got Hostler out. Albert Meadows then volunteered to go into the vat and after two attempts managed to rescue Wright. He then made a third unsuccessful attempt to get Gale, but succeeded on a 4th attempt. Both Gale and Wright recovered from their injuries.

On 29th December 1931, the London Gazette announced the awards of Edward Medals in Bronze to Henry Hostler and Albert Meadows. During World War II, Albert served with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps from 1942-1946, being demobbed with the rank of Sergeant. After the war he returned to W.A. Gilbey Ltd where he worked in all for 47 years. On his retirement, he moved to Sussex, where he was a keen member of the Bognor Regis Art Society. In 1971, following the change in the Royal Warrant, Albert chose to accept the chance to exchange his EM for a George Cross, and attended his investiture at Buckingham Palace on 27th February 1973. Sadly, Henry Hostler had died prior to 1971.

Albert passed away peacefully on 19th March 1988 in Selsey, West Sussex, and was cremated at Chichester Crematorium. His ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance. His medals including his GC are privately held, though his Edward Medal was donated to the Royal Logistics Corps Museum, Deepcut Barracks, Camberley, Surrey.