b. 05/06/1909 Badingham, Suffolk. d. 09/08/1999 Coventry.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 20-21/10/1940 Coventry.
Brandon Moss (1909-1999) was born on 5th June 1909 in Badingham, Suffolk, the son of Harold Kenneth and Clara Elizabeth Jane Moss (nee Woolmington). He had five brothers and sisters and at the time of his birth, his father was a poultry farmer, though later worked at a firm of Sugar refiners. The family moved to Coventry where Brandon was educated at Coventry Elementary School, and then Stratford-on-Avon Grammar School.
On leaving school, Brandon worked in the building trade for a time, and in 1932, he joined the Coventry Special Constabulary. He married Vera Mary Watson in Coventry in 1935 and they had two daughters. On the outbreak of World War II, Brandon was working in a reserved occupation, at the Armstrong Siddeley Ltd plant in Coventry, fitting out military aircraft, while still being a Special Constable part-time.
On the night of 20th-21st October 1940, in Coventry, a house was completely demolished by a bomb, burying the three occupants. Brandon Moss led a rescue party in clearing a entry to the trapped victims under extremely dangerous conditions owing to the debris and leaking gas. When conditions became critically dangerous, he alone worked his way through a space he cleared and was responsible for saving their lives. Other people were buried in adjoining buildings and Moss at once led the rescue. The workers became exhausted after many hours of work, but he laboured without stopping throughout the night, again with debris falling all around him, and as a result of his efforts one was person was rescued alive and four bodies were recovered. Bombs were still falling at this time, and there was an unexploded bomb only 200 yards away.
Brandon Moss became the first policeman to be awarded the George Cross when it was announced in the London Gazette on 10th December 1940. At the end of the war, he left his job at Armstrong Siddeley and returned to the building trade. He retired as a Special Constable in 1948. Little is known of his later life. He died on 9th August 1999, aged 90, in Coventry, and was cremated at Canley Crematorium, and his ashes were taken away by the family. His medals including his GC, Defence Medal 1939-45, 1953 QEII Coronation Medal, 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal and Special Constabulary Long Service Medal were purchased privately by Michael Ashcroft and are on display at the Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL LOCATION: CANLEY CREMATORIUM, COVENTRY.
ASHES REMOVED BY FAMILY.
Ashcroft Collection website – Image of the Moss GC medal group.