Edward Dillon G.M.
Medal is the 2nd highest, to the George Cross, gallantry medal
that a civilian can win. As with the George Cross, Military personnel
are eligible for the George Medal if their act does not qualify
for a military gallantry award.
of Commander Ken Enticknap
D. Dillon is called by mistake John E. Dylan)
Able Seaman (Radar) John Dillon
On 21 May 1982 Able Seaman Dillon was in the
After Damage Control Party on board HMS
Ardent in Falkland
Sound. Following a bomb attack on the ship he was assisting
in the control of flooding in the dining hall when the area sustained
further major bomb damage and he was rendered unconscious.
On regaining consciousness he found that he was pinned to the
deck by heavy debris in the dimly-lit devastated compartment.
A fire was raging and the area was rapidly filling with thick
He extricated himself and despite pain from a large shrapnel
wound in his back attempted unsuccessfully to free a man pinned
down by a girder across his neck. He then made his way through
the smoke towards a further man calling for help, whom he found
trapped under heavy metal girders, bleeding from head and face
wounds and with his left hand severely damaged.
After several attempts, between which he had to drop to the deck
to get breathable air, AB Dillon succeeded in raising the debris
sufficiently to allow the man to drag himself free. AB Dillon's
anti-flash hood had been ripped off in the explosion, so afforded
him no protection from the heat and his left ear was burned. In
their search for an escape route, the man, who was heavily built,
fell into a hole in the deck, but was dragged out by the much
slighter AB Dillon to a hole in the ship's side where, although
the man was able to inflate his own life-jacket, AB Dillon was
unable to follow suit, due to the pain in his throat caused by
the smoke. Despite this, fearing that the weakened man would be
dragged beneath the ship, AB Dillon followed him into the water
and pulled him away from the ship's side. By this time his exertions,
pain and the cold of the sea had weakened AB Dillon until he could
do little to support himself in the water.
Realizing that there was a danger of him pushing the man under
the water if he continued to hold on to him, he moved away, and
appreciating that he could no longer swim or grasp the strop lowered
to him from a helicopter, slipped beneath the surface. He and
the man were then rescue by
Surgeon Captain Rick Jolly.
There is a little doubt that but for Able Seaman (radar)Dillon's
selfless acts with complete disregard for his personal safety
the other man would not have escaped from the ship which was then
being abandoned and sinking.