Frank Hopkins AM

b. 1899 Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales.  d. 16/01/1941 Isle of Mull, Scotland.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 18/08/1927 Newport, Wales.

Frank Hopkins AM

Frank was one of sixteen children born to William Hopkins, a soldier stationed in Ireland, and Katherine Riley. He enlisted in World War I but did not serve overseas, thus receiving no medals. He was demobilised on 8th April 1919 as a Private in the Royal Defence Corps. He re-enlisted in the Royal Artillery on 30th May 1919. Most of his service was in India between 1919 and 1926. After Reserve service, he was finally discharged on 29th May 1939. He was married to Rose Conlin from Liverpool and they had one daughter, in 1938. When he performed his act of gallantry he had been unemployed for about 20 months.

He received his Albert Medal from King George V at Buckingham Palace on 16th February 1928. He also received the Royal Humane Society’s Silver Medal. On the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the Merchant Navy, and served on the SS Oropesa out of Liverpool. On 16th January 1941, the Oropesa was struck by a torpedo and sank with the loss of 113 lives including Hopkins.



On the night of the 18th August, 1927, the s.s. ” Cambrian Baroness ” was lying ready to sail in South Lock at Newport, Mon., with a space of two or three feet between her side and the quay wall. At the last moment a fireman returning to the ship began to climb the pilot ladder but lost his hold and fell into the lock between the vessel and the wall of the lock. The ladder was lowered to the water and the man caught hold of it, but as the ladder was being hauled up his hold gave way and he fell back into the lock. Among the bystanders on the quay was an unemployed seaman, Frank Hopkins. Seeing the accident Hopkins went down the ladder to the water level fifteen feet below. By the light of an electric torch from the ship’s deck he caught hold of the fireman, who was now unconscious, and began to carry him up the ladder. The fireman was a dead weight and Hopkins progress was necessarily slow. As he was struggling up the ladder the vessel began to move towards the quay wall and someone shouted to Hopkins to let the man go and save himself. Hopkins replied ” I have got him now and will bring him up.” As soon as the fireman was within reach of men standing on the quay they hauled him into safety; Hopkins had barely managed himself to get up to the quay when the vessel closed with the wall. If he had been a few seconds later there is no doubt that he and the man he rescued would have been crushed to death. Hopkins could have made sure of his own safety if he had given up his hold of the fireman. He knew quite well the risk he was running and knowing it saved the man.





Allan Stanistreet – Image of Frank Hopkins AM.

Carol Pollard – Image of Hopkins AM name on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.