“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
In the middle of London’s Postman’s Park is the little-known Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice. The Memorial is filled with 54 tiles, such as this one, commemorating the sacrifices of heroes who gave their life trying to save someone. I heard about the Memorial of Heroic Self Sacrifice while listening to a BBC podcast, and was moved by the heroic acts of sacrifice.
Here’s a look at some inspirational stories from the Memorial of Heroic Self Sacrifice in London.
Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice stories
- Died: Elizabeth Boxall of Bethnal Green died June 20, 1888 at the age of 17.
- Cause: Boxall died from injuries she received while trying to save a child from a runaway horse.
Herbert Peter Cazaly
- Died: Herbert Peter Cazaly died April 21, 1889.
- Cause: Cazaly was a stationer’s clerk who drowned in Kew while trying to save a man from drowning.
- Died: Alice Ayres died April 26, 1885.
- Cause: Ayres saved three children by running into a burning house on Union Street Borough.
John Cranmer Cambridge
- Died: John Cranmer Cambridge died August 8, 1901 at age 23.
- Cause: Cambridge worked as a clerk for the London County Council. Cambridge drowned saving a foreigner from drowning near Ostend.
- Died: John Clinton died July 16, 1894 at age 10.
- Cause: Clinton drowned in attempt to save a friend younger than himself near London Bridge.
Joseph William Onslow
- Died: Joseph William Onslow died May 5, 1885.
- Cause: Onslow worked as a lighter man. Onslow drowned while trying to rescue a drowning boy in Wapping.
- Died: David Selves died September 12, 1886.
- Cause: Selves tried to save his drowning playmate, but sank with him clasped in his arms.
- Died: William Goodrum died February 28, 1880 at age 60.
- Cause: Goodrum worked as a signal man. Goodrum died at Kingsland Road Bridge as he saved a worker from being hit by the approaching train from Kew.
- Died: Mrs. Yarman died March 26, 1900.
- Cause: Mrs. Yarman worked as a laborer in Bermondsey. Yarman died after making three attempts to climb a burning staircase to save her elderly mother.
- Died: Richard Farris died May 20, 1878.
- Cause: Richard Farris worked as a laborer. Farris drowned trying to save a suicidal girl who jumped into the Globe Bridge Peckham canal.
- Died: Ellen Donovan died July 28, 1873.
- Cause: Donovan ran into a burning home to save his neighbors children.
- Died: Sarah Smith died January 24, 1863.
- Cause: Smith worked as a pantomime artist at Prince’s Theatre. Smith died from injuries she received while trying to put out a fire on her friend with her inflammable dress.
Henry James Bristow
- Died: Henry James Bristow died December 30, 1890 at age 8.
- Cause: Bristow caught on fire as he tore off his sister’s flaming clothing. Bristow died of fire burns and shock.
- Died: Amelia Kennedy died October 18, 1871 at age 19.
- Cause: Kennedy died while trying to save her sister from their burning house on Edward’s Lane Stoke, Newington.
Frederick Alfred Croft
- Died: Frederick Alfred Croft died January 11, 1878 at age 31.
- Cause: Croft saved a lunatic woman from committing suicide at the Woolwich Arsenal station. Croft was hit by the train.
- Died: Thomas Simpson died January 25, 1885
- Cause: Thomas Simpson died of exhaustion after rescuing people who fell through broken ice at Highgate Ponds.
- Died: William Fisher died July 12, 1886 at age 9.
- Cause: Fisher died on Rodney Road in Walworth while trying to save his little brother from being hit by cars.
- Died: Solomon Galaman died September 6, 1901 at age 11.
- Cause: Galaman died after saving his little brother from traffic on Commercial Street. It’s said Galaman’s last words included, “Mother I saved him but I could not save myself.”
Alice Maud Denman
- Died: Alice Maud Denman died April 20, 1902 at age 27.
- Cause: Denman died trying to save her kids from a burning home in Bethnal.
- Died: Arthur Strange died August 25, 1902.
- Cause: Strange worked as a car man. Strange and his companion attempted to save two girls from a quicksand in Lincolnshire. In the process they became engulfed by the quicksand.
- Died: Alfred Smith died June 13, 1917.
- Cause: Smith worked as a police constable. Smith died protecting women and girls from an air raid.
P.C. Percy Edwin Cook
- Died: P.C. Percy Edwin Cook died October 7, 1927.
- Cause: Cook worked as a metropolitan policeman. Cook died in attempt to save two workers overcome by poisonous gas in a Kensington chamber.
- Died: Leigh Pitt died June 7, 2007 at age 30.
- Cause: Pitt worked as a reprographic operator. Pitt died trying to save a drowing boy in a canal in Thamesmead.
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
- Dalai Lama
Personal Notes: I’m grateful for those who give their lives for others. I hope to be ready to give my life for others, if I’m called to do so. If I do not give my life to others through death, I wish to give my life to others through the life I live. While I may not be asked to sacrifice my life, I have opportunities each day to sacrifice my time, talents and energies for others.