b. 30/03/1902 Barry, Glamorgan. d. 29/10/1987 Barrie, Ontario, Canada.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 30/03/1943 Atlantic Ocean.
Gordon Love Bastian (1902-1987) was born on 30th March 1902 in Barry, Glamorgan, Wales, the son of Nicholas and Jane Caroline Bastian (nee Perry). His father was a Pier Master in Barry. His parents married in 1884 and he had a sister Jane and brothers Nicholas, Samuel, Herbert and Stanley. Both Nicholas and Jane Bastian hailed originally from Cornwall.
Gordon attended Barry High School, and in 1927 joined the Merchant Navy as an engineer. He spent time in the 1930s on “Tredinnick” and “Trekieve” as 2nd Engineer. After the outbreak of World War II, he joined the crew of SS Empire Bowman. He was awarded the MBE announced in the London Gazette on 4th January 1943.
On 30th March 1943, his ship SS Empire Bowman was torpedoed by the U-404 500 miles from Brest, sustaining severe damage. He at once shut off the engines and then remembered that two men were on watch in the stoke hold. The engine room was in darkness and water was already pouring in. Although there was a grave risk of disastrous flooding, Bastian did not hesitate but groped his way to the door and opened it. The two men were swept into the engine room with the inrush of water; one was badly bruised and shaken, and the other had a broken arm and injuries to his feet. Bastian tried to hold them both but was unable to keep hold and lost one, so he dragged the other man to the escape ladder and helped him onto deck. He then returned for the other man and helped him to safety. The more seriously injured man had to be lifted up the ladder by Bastian, who was choking on the cordite fumes. He saved both men's lives with his fearless bravery.
On 17th August 1943, Gordon was awarded the Albert Medal for Lifesaving at Sea. In 1947, Gordon emigrated to Canada and settled in Montreal, where he married Mary Morse. They went on to have a son, Gordon Stanley and a daughter Caroline. In 1971, following the change in the Royal Warrant, he chose to exchange his Albert Medal for a George Cross. His Albert Medal was donated to National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. His GC was presented to him by the Governor General of Canada in his railway carriage in November 1973.
Gordon died on 29th October 1987 aged 85 in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, and was buried in the Union Cemetery in Barrie. His medals including his GC. MBE, 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, War Medal 1939-45, Lloyd’s Medal for Bravery at Sea and the 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal are on loan to the Imperial War Museum and displayed in the Ashcroft Gallery.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ON LOAN TO IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: BARRIE UNION CEMETERY, BARRIE, ONTARIO, CANADA.
Gordon Love Bastian's medals including George Cross and MBE at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London