Harwood Henry Flintoff GC (EM exchanger)

b. 03/09/1930 Saltburn-on-the-Sea, Yorkshire.  d. 05/06/2020 Pickering, North Yorkshire.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 23/06/1944 Farndale, Yorkshire.

Henry Harwood Flintoff was born on 3rd September 1930 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Yorkshire, the only son of Harwood Taylor and Ruth Flintoff (nee Simpson). He had seven sisters, and the family lived in Saltburn, near to the garage that Harwood Flintoff ran. Unfortunately, due to his failing health due to the chemicals he was using in the garage, he was forced to sell up, and move his family to a farm in Farndale. It was here that Henry and his sisters attended the local school.

Harwood H Flintoff GC

Henry left school at 12 and began working on his father’s farm which was called Thunderhead Farm. On 23rd June 1944, aged just 13, Henry witnessed John Atkinson, a farmer, who was driving a bull, have the animal turn on him. The bull knocked Mr Atkinson down, and knelt onto his chest, trapping him. Henry immediately left his work in a nearby field and went to his aid. He could see Mr Atkinson lying on the ground covered in blood. He grabbed hold of the bull’s nose ring and just hung onto it. The bull then broke loose but was caught a few minutes later and led to its shed by a farm labourer who came to assist with a pitchfork. By his courageous action this boy saved the farmer from serious injury and possible death.

On 8th December 1944, the London Gazette announced the award of the Edward Medal to Henry Flintoff in recognition of his gallantry. Following the award, Henry simply returned to his work on the farm. He later gained employment on the Hutton-le-Hole Estate and this is where the spent the majority of the rest of his working life. In 1971, following the change in the Royal Warrant, he was given the opportunity to exchange his Edward Medal for the George Cross. Henry chose to exchange his medal, and attended an investiture at Buckingham Palace in November 1972. He presented his Edward Medal to the Ryedale Folk Museum in Hutton-le-Hole.

Sadly, a number of years later, Henry suffered a burglary at his home, and his medals including his GC were stolen. They still have not been recovered to date. In 1993, Henry married Sylvia Wright and in retirement he indulged in his passions for aeroplanes and flying. Henry regularly attended VCGCA Reunions until 2010, but in later years, increasing frailty saw him unable to attend. He passed away in a nursing home near Scarborough, Yorkshire on 5th June 2020 aged 89. He was cremated and his ashes were interred with his parents at St Aidan’s Church, Gillamoor, Yorkshire.