Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Saturday, 14 June 2008 14:59 UK

George Cross medal makes 20,000

A George Cross medal awarded to a carpenter who rescued two people from a burning house has sold for 20,000.

Leslie Owen Fox was part of a rescue squad in London during World War II when he saved the two people.

He heard cries for help and twice tunnelled through the wreckage of a bombed building in Fulham in 1944.

Only 106 George Cross medals were issued between 1940 and 1947, said Charterhouse auctioneers in Dorset, where the medal was sold on Friday.

Mr Fox, who was part of the West Kensington Heavy Rescue Squad, spent two hours tunnelling 15ft (4.6m) to save those trapped while a colleague sprayed him with water to help with the intense heat.

The tunnel collapsed when he went back outside to discuss a rescue plan, so he started all over again before saving the two people.

Richard Bromell, of Charterhouse auctioneers in Sherborne, Dorset, which handled the sale, said: "For many collectors they are now the Holy Grail today, as only 106 were issued between 1940 and 1947."

The George Cross is the highest gallantry award for civilians as well as members of the armed forces for acts of great heroism or courage in circumstances of extreme danger.

It ranks second only to the Victoria Cross.


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