GM Winners

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by Bubbles_Barker, Sep 15, 2008.

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  1. The incredibly sad loss of WO2 Gary 'Gaz' O'Donnell GM RLC made me think. How many forgotten Army, or ex-Army GM winners are there out there?

    The GM is, incredibly, one of those medals that is much misunderstood and, in my opinion, undervalued.

    For a start - David Purley - an ex Parachute Regiment officer (he served in Aden) who was heir to the LEC refrigeration empire who became a Formula One driver in the days when every race might be your last. At Zandvoort in 1973 a mate of his, Roger Williamson, another talented British driver, crashed and burned - literally. Purley screamed to a stop and tried in vain to right Williamson's wrecked and overturned car, wresting extinguishers from the hapless Dutch officials and trying in vain to elicit help from passing cars that were racing on. The Fire Engine, although quite close, had to circuit the whole track to reach the scene due to rules about opposing traffic.

    Purley failed to save Williamson.

    The video is available on many sites and shows a man determined to save his friend, despite the odds, and the utter despair when it is clear that all is lost.

    I don't often watch things like this but I found the whole thing incredibly moving, having barely remembered it as a teenager.

    Purley died in 1985 when his Pitts Special aerobatic aircraft crashed into the Channel off Bognor Regis.

    I mean this in no way to detract from WO2 O'Donnell's accomplishments - I'm sure David Purley will be offering him a deserved circuit as we speak.
  2. Dave was a good friend of mine.I introduced him to his first wife,and knew him very well in the Army.What a great bloke-and real adrenalin junkie.RIP-until we meet upstairs.
  3. I wish I'd known him - he was clearly a very brave and honourable man.
  4. I saw that video not long ago, i can't remember how I came across it. The despair is very clear in his mannerisms and was obviously stricken with grief as the event unfolded. Despite the obvious he struggled on to try and save his friend, the man had balls of steel.

    I wont post a link but if you really do feel the need to watch it, be warned, it's quite disturbing.
  5. msr

    msr LE