Eric Lawrence Moxey GC (Direct Recipient)

b. 14/04/1894 Sao Paulo, Brazil. d. 27/08/1940 RAF Biggin Hill, Kent.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 27/08/1940 Biggin Hill, Kent.

Eric Laurence Moxey (1894-1940) was the first person to be awarded the George Cross posthumously. He was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 14th April 1894. His father William Hall Moxey had been working in Brazil as the founder and Secretary of Sao Paulo Railways. His mother was Margaret Lawrence Moxey (nee Christie). Moxey, who had a brother and two sisters, returned to England for education and attended Malvern College in Worcestershire and Sheffield University, where he read engineering. As a talented motorcycle rider, he won the gold medal at the Isle of Man TT race as the leading amateur.

Eric L Moxey GC

During the First World War, he served with the York and Lancashire Regiment and the Royal Flying Corps. He married on 10th January 1917 to Mary Arthur Clark, the daughter of the Managing Director of Vickers Steel (where Eric worked between the wars) and the couple went on to have four sons (Douglas, Nigel, and twins Jack and William).

Moxey was 45 years old on the outbreak of WWII. At the height of the Battle of Britain, he was acting squadron leader with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. As a technical intelligence officer at the Air Ministry, he had joined the Special Branch which dealt with defusing unexploded bombs. He is credited with inventing a device for extracting fuses from German bombs called a “Freddie”.

On 27th August 1940, two unexploded bombs were found at Biggin Hill RAF station in Kent. Without hesitation, Moxey volunteered to travel from London and tackle them. On arrival, Moxey realised he had to make the bombs safe so they could be removed from the area. Knowing the dangers, he tackled the first bomb, which must have been more unstable than usual. As he worked on it, it exploded with full force, killing him instantly.

He was awarded the GC posthumously on 17th December 1940. Sadly, for the Moxey family, of his four sons who all fought in World War II, his second son was killed in a motorcycle accident in Egypt in 1942. Moxey was buried in St Peter & St Paul Churchyard, Cudham, Kent. His GC is held by his family.