b. 17/06/1917 Westminster, London. d. 23/02/1998 Yeovil, Somerset.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 02/11/1952 Croydon, Surrey.
He was 35 years old and serving in the Metropolitan Police Force. Two men were seen to climb over the side gate of a warehouse in Tamworth Road, and reach the flat roof of a building 22ft above. The alarm was raised and Fairfax, Constable Norman Harrison and some other officers went to the premises in a police van. At the same time Constable James McDonald and another constable arrived in a police car. Other officers took up positions around the building. When told the suspects had climbed up a drainpipe to the roof, Fairfax immediately scaled the drainpipe, followed by McDonald, but the latter was unable to negotiate the last 6ft and returned to the ground. Fairfax reached the top and pulled himself onto the roof. In the moonlight he saw the two men about 15yds away behind a brick stack. He walked towards them and challenged them, and then, dashing behind the stack, he grabbed one of the men and pulled him into the open. The man broke away and his companion then shot Fairfax in the right shoulder. He then fell to the ground but as the two criminals ran past him he got up and caught one of them, Derek Bentley, knocking him to the ground. A second shot was fired by the second man, Christopher Craig, but Fairfax held on, dragged Bentley behind a skylight and searched him. He found a knuckleduster and a dagger, which he removed from him. McDonald by this time had climbed onto the roof and called to the gunman to drop his weapon but he refused and made further threats. During this time Harrison had climbed onto a sloping roof nearby and was edging towards the gunman but he was seen and fired at, the shot just missing him. He continued his movement, however, and another shot was fired, which also missed. Harrison then got to the chimney stack and went back to ground level, where he joined other officers who had now entered the building. They ran up to the fire escape door on the roof and pushed it open. Fairfax warned them that the gunman was nearby but as Constable Sidney Miles jumped from the doorway on the roof, Bentley called out, "Let him have it." As he jumped, Craig shot Miles, killing him. Fairfax immediately left cover to bring in the casualty and was shot at. McDonald also came forward and the two men dragged Miles behind the fire escape exit. Harrison then jumped out on to the roof and, standing in the doorway, threw his truncheon at the gunman, who again fired at him. Constable Robert Jaggs then reached the roof and was also fired at. Fairfax, helped by Harrison, pushed Bentley through the doorway and handed him over to the other officers. Fairfax was then given a police firearm and returned to the roof. He jumped through the doorway and again called for Craig to drop his weapon. A further shot was fired at him but he advanced at Craig opening fire. Craig jumped off the roof to the ground below, where he was arrested. Much debate then raged over the actions of Bentley and Craig. Craig was just 16 and Bentley 19; both were tried and found guilty of murder. Bentley was hanged, but Craig was under age and was imprisoned for 10 years. This was despite the fact Craig fired the killer shot, and Bentley was under Fairfax's control at the time. Fairfax was awarded the GC, Harrison and McDonald were awarded the George Medal. Robert Jaggs was awarded the British Empire Medal, and Constable Sidney Miles psothumously awarded the Queen's Police Medal.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: ST JAMES THE GREAT CHURCH, LONGBURTON, DORSET.
Picture - Kevin Brazier