Frank Gordon Duller GC (EM non-exchanger)

b. 01/10/1893 Chatteris, Cambridgeshire. d. 11/01/1983 Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

DATE OF ACTION: 12/07/1918 Mount Morgan Mine, Brisbane, Queensland.

Frank Gordon Duller (1893-1983) was born in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire on 1st October 1893, the son of Henry Duller and Lucy Gordon. He had two brothers, Ernest (born 1895) and Henry (born 1899). Sadly, Henry Jnr died at the age of just 2 in 1901. Little is known of Frank’s early life, though he emigrated to Australia in 1912, arriving at the port of Fremantle. He became a miner in Queensland at the Mount Morgan Mine.

George Cross

On 12th July 1918, Michael Fogarty and Fred Joga were blasting in the mine. Having inserted the charges, Joga lit the fuses. However, the last fuse didn’t light properly. Fogarty had retreated to a safe place unaware that Joga was left behind trying to relight the last fuse. The first charge then went off, alerting Fogarty, who called Duller, and both men went to the face to rescue Joga. They found him six feet from the face, and dragged him clear as the second charge went off. Sadly, Joga died of his injuries suffered in the first explosion.

Both Fogarty and Duller were awarded the Edward Medal in Bronze (13th June 1919). Fogarty was also awarded the Silver Medal of the Royal Humane Society. Fogarty died in Queensland in 1934. Duller eventually returned to the UK, and married Ada Negus in North Whichford, Cambridgeshire in 1927. Sadly, in 1929, Ada passed away having just given birth to their son David. They had previously had twins George and Joseph, who sadly died the same year (1928) In 1931, Frank re-married to Ethel Darrington in St Ives, Huntingdon. She had two children of her own from a previous marriage.

In 1971, following the change of the Royal Warrant, the opportunity was there for Edward Medallists to exchange for a George Cross. It is unclear why Frank was unaware of this and why he did not come forward. Frank died on 11th January 1983, and on the 18th was cremated at Cambridge Crematorium, Huntingdon. There is no memorial to him there. The location of this Edward Medal is unknown. Mount Morgan Mine continued to operate until 1981, and is now a tourist attraction. Following extensive research by Paul Street, Frank was finally added to the GC Register in 2017, having been discovered that he lived nearly 12 years after the opportunity for exchange.