b. 21/07/1937 Waltham Cross, Herts. d. 16/01/1965 Enfield, Middlesex.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 09/01/1965 Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire.
Brian Spillett (1937-1965) was born in 1937 in Waltham Cross, Herts, one of five children of Ernest and Mary Spillett (nee Maddison). He was the only son in the family, with four sisters. The family moved to Waltham Abbey, Hertfordshire when Brian was young, and they lived in Denny Avenue. Little is known about Brian’s early life and schooling, though he did decide to join the Territorial Army, and he rose to the rank of Lance Bombardier in “P” Battery, 289 Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery. In civilian life, Brian worked as a detail fitter.
In 1960, he married Jean Tomlin, and in 1964, they had a daughter Jacqueline. Tragically, Jacqueline would only be a few months old at the time of her father’s death.
On 9th January 1965, a fire broke out in a house only a few hundred yards away from his own. The fire had reached an advanced stage before the family woke and it was only with difficulty that the wife, child and grandfather escaped. Mr Spillett, attracted by the shouting, came from his house, arriving only partly dressed. He asked whether everyone was out of the house, and on hearing the father was still inside, on the first floor, he ran straight into the burning house. Attempts to hold him back were brushed aside. Mr Spillett reached the first floor but was unable to rescue the father. By now the house was a blazing inferno and he only managed to escape by jumping from a window. He was found badly burnt in an adjoining garden.
Brian was taken to a nearby hospital with critical injuries, but sadly, he died a week later, on 16th January 1965. He was buried in Cheshunt Cemetery, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. He was recommended for a posthumous George Cross, and on 25th June 1965, his citation was published in the London Gazette. He was also awarded a posthumous Bronze Medal of the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust. His GC was presented to his widow Jean by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Sadly, the medal is now believed lost.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LOST.
BURIAL PLACE: CHESHUNT CEMETERY, CHESHUNT, HERTFORDSHIRE.
Kevin Brazier – Image of the Spillett GC Grave at Cheshunt Cemetery.