b. 1888 Paddington, London. d. 04/05/1943 Glemsford, Suffolk.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 04/05/1943 Glemsford, Suffolk.
Frederick John Cradock (1888-1943) was born in 1888 in the Paddington District of London, one of at least seven children born to Charles Henry and Anne Ellen Cradock (nee Lewis). His siblings were George Arthur Lewis, Charles Thomas, Sidney Hubert, Ellen Alice, William Alan and Harry. Little is known about Fred’s early life, before his marriage to Annie Edwards in 1907 in Kensington. The couple went on to have nine children. Annie originally came from Felixstowe. Fred served in World War I as a Driver in the Royal Field Artiillery from 1916 until being discharged in 1919.
Fred and Annie lived at 6 Wolsey Road in Acton, where Fred became a dustman. He worked for the Royal Borough of Kensington Council until 1939, when he was forced to retire on medical grounds. On the outbreak of war, three of Fred’s sons – Arthur, Frederick and Joseph all enlisted. Following his retirement, Fred and Annie moved to Glemsford in Suffolk.
Despite having to retire from his previous employment on medical grounds, Fred gained another job as a boilerman, a tough demanding role for a man in his mid 50s. On 4th May 1943, he was at work when there was a massive explosion, which resulted in the boiler house being filled with scalding steam and water, trapping Albert Sterry in a well between the furnace and the boiler. Both men had been engaged in "blowing out the boiler", something they did twice a week. Cradock, who was on top of the furnace, could have jumped to safety, but instead he called for a ladder and attempted to get to his workmate. Before he could do so, he was overcome and severely scalded. He staggered away; at this point he could still have jumped to safety, but despite his terrible injuries he made a second attempt to get down into the well. He died in making the attempt.
Fred was buried in an unmarked grave in St Mary’s Churchyard in Hawkedon, Suffolk on 8th May 1943. On 10th September 1943, the London Gazette published the citation announcing the award of a posthumous George Cross to Fred Cradock. Fred’s medals including his GC are proudly held by the Cradock family.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: WITH RECIPIENT'S FAMILY.
BURIAL PLACE: ST MARY'S CHURCHYARD, HAWKEDON, SUFFOLK.
Picture - Kevin Brazier