I just found this, from yesterday´s online newspaper and thought I´d post it here.
Former Wren, 92, breaks 70 years of silence to recall moment she rescued airman from burning plane in 1943 | Mail Online
'You don't think about the danger, you just do it': Former Wren, 92, breaks 70 years of silence to recall moment she rescued airman from burning plane in 1943
Beth Hutchinson was the first woman to be awarded the British Empire Medal for bravery in 1944
Mrs Hutchinson was 24 when she saved a pilot from burning plane in WWII
She was the only female among 300 men to be honoured by King George VI
By Suzannah Hills and Leon Watson
PUBLISHED: 14:19 GMT, 7 March 2013 | UPDATED: 01:52 GMT, 8 March 2013
The first ever woman to be awarded the British Empire Medal for bravery has broken 70 years of silence to reveal for the first time how she rescued a pilot from a crashed plane during World War Two.
Beth Hutchinson, 92, was just 24 when she was honoured with the coveted medal for dragging the man from the burning wreckage with 'complete disregard for her own safety'.
But the great-grandmother has never spoken of the tragic incident in the last 68 years - until today.
She finally broke her silence during a visit to the Royal Naval Air Station in Yeovilton, Somerset, where she came face-to-face with a Swordfish plane for the first time in decades.
Beth Hutchinson (nee Booth) from Box, a 92-year-old former Wren who was awarded a BEM and Gallantry Medal for bravery in rescuing an airman from a crashed Swordfish
Brave: Former Women's Royal Navy Service (WREN) driver Beth Hutchinson (nee Booth) was awarded a BEM and Gallantry Medal for bravery for rescuing an airman from a crashed Swordfish
Beth Hutchinson was just 24 in 1943 when she shot to fame for becoming the first woman to be awarded the British Empire Medal
Ground-breaking: Beth Hutchinson was just 24 when she shot to fame in 1943 for becoming the first woman to be awarded the British Empire Medal
Mrs Hutchinson told how she was on driving patrol at a remote Scottish outpost in 1943 when the Swordfish plane came down and she rushed to the scene alone.
The pilot was already dead but Mrs Hutchinson pulled the co-pilot, a Fleet Air Arm observer, from the burning wreckage as explosions scattered burning debris all around them.
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He was on fire and Mrs Hutchinson used her bare hands to beat out the flames.
After dragging him to her vehicle, she sped off down nine miles of single-track country road in search of a doctor.
Sadly he died, but tales of Mrs Hutchinson's heroism quickly spread and she became the first woman to be handed the honour by King George VI in 1944 - and the only female among 300 recipients of the medal that day.
Mrs Hutchinson has remained steadfastly modest about her exploits throughout her life and has never even discussed it with her family.
Beth Hutchinson reunited with a Swordfish yesterday at RNAS Yeovilton, pictured with Lt Commander Polly Hatchard
Breaking her silence: Beth Hutchinson, 92, spoke about the incident for the first time when she was reunited with a Swordfish yesterday at RNAS Yeovilton, pictured with Lt Commander Polly Hatchard
Mrs Hutchinson came face to face with a Swordfish for the first time in years after speaking of the tragedy
Mrs Hutchinson came face to face with a Swordfish for the first time in years after speaking of the tragedy
Speaking for the first time about the tragedy, said: 'It was very dark and the weather wasn't very good. I can remember seeing a plane swoop down, but I didn't see it come back up.
'I drove over to the wreckage, where I jumped out of the vehicle. The pilot was already dead, but the co-pilot had been thrown clear and was on fire.
'I had to stamp out the flames with my hands. I was very upset that I couldn't save him, but he was so badly injured it was a miracle he had survived so long after the crash.
'You don't think about the danger at the time. If you are going to do it you are going to do it.
'I am sure an awful lot of people would have done exactly the same.'
Mrs Hutchinson, who now lives in Box near Bath, Somerset, joined the Red Cross during WWII before volunteering for the Women's Royal Naval Service (WREN), becoming a Wren driver.
The crash happened on 18 November 1943 as she was on driving duty around the remote Machrihanish air base in Scotland.
The Women of Glory front page which featured Beth Hutchinson (nee Booth) from Box
Famous exploits: The brave actions of Beth Hutchinson (nee Booth) were reported in newspapers and covered on the front page of the popular Women of Glory magazine, pictured
The medals belonging to Beth Hutchinson, from Box. She was awarded a BEM and Gallantry Medal for bravery
Prestigious: The medals belonging to Beth Hutchinson. She was awarded a BEM and Gallantry Medal for bravery after rescuing a pilot from a burning plane
The rather un-PC text from a book of brave acts during the Second World War featuring Beth Hutchinson (nee Booth)
Remembered: This extract from a book entitled Blue for a Girl, which details the heroism of wartime Wrens, lists the brave actions of Beth Hutchinson (nee Booth)
For her bravery, Mrs Hutchinson was awarded a British Empire Medal and a Gallantry medal for displaying 'courage and devotion to duty of the highest order'.
The citation read: 'An aircraft crashed in flames at Crossaig Bombing Range. Wren Booth drove with an officer to the scene of the accident, and, with complete disregard for her own safety, assisted in dragging the observer clear of the main wreckage while explosions inside the aircraft scattered burning debris and petrol all around them.'
Her proud daughter Mary King, 63, said: 'Mum never talked about that night. She just said she did what she had to do.
'This is the first time I have ever heard her talk about it - she was so shy and did not want to cause any fuss.
'She even asked if it would be alright if she wore her medals.'
Mrs King, a freelance sports journalist, added: 'Mum told me "it's just what you did back then", but for her to be the first woman to win that medal surely proves what a hero she really was.
'It's remarkable when you think back on it.
The great-grandmother, now aged 92, joined the Red Cross before volunteering for the Women's Royal Naval Service
Public service: The great-grandmother, now aged 92, joined the Red Cross before volunteering for the Women's Royal Naval Service
'She never thought about it - she just went in and did what she had to do to try to save that poor man's life.
'More than anything else, she's a very practical lady.'
At the time, her story appeared was reported in newspapers and in the magazine, Women of Glory.
Details of her exploits appeared in a book entitled Blue for a Girl in the 1950s, which detailed the heroism of wartime Wrens like Mrs Hutchinson.
Her entry read: 'There was a 24-year-old Wren Elizabeth Glen Booth. Official number 57572. She went to Buckingham Palace, the only woman among 300 Servicemen, and the late King pinned the British Empire Medal across her proudly heaving breast.
BRITAIN'S OLDEST RAF AIRMAN HARRY LEWIS DIES AGED 101
A man believed to be the oldest surviving RAF airman in the UK has died at the age of 101.
Grandfather and great-grandfather Harry Lewis, who lived in Redcar, was understood to be one of the oldest former RAF airmen in the world.
He was born in West Hartlepool on May 14, 1911 - the year in which King George V was crowned. Interviewed by RAF News after he turned 100, Harry said: 'If I am the oldest living airman in the country I must be a lucky bugger.'
He served in the RAF on radar units for six-and-a-half years, leaving the service when the Second World War ended.
Son Martyn Lewis, 66, said: 'His country called him and he played his part.'
Harry enjoyed his days in the RAF, saying: 'It was a friendly time - depending on the commanding officers.'
After the war ended he returned to his job, working for the Co-operative Insurance Society in Hartlepool for 41 years, retiring in 1976.
He was married to Martha for 53 years and they had two sons, Stan and Martyn. Harry also had three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Martyn, who lives in Greenwich, London, said: 'He had a good innings. Just in the last three weeks he went down. We all look on it as a kind of blessing. He had a marvellous life.
'There was so much love within the family, he was a big part of that. He was very well loved.'
'Vital statistics then: 35-23-36.'
Lieutenant Commander Polly Hatchard, senior air engineering officer for the Lynx/Wildcat Maritime Force, based at Yeovilton, is the first female to reach her rank, and was proud to meet fellow heroine Beth.
She said: 'The aircraft was exploding, with unstable airframe and structures. The engine could still have been driving the propellers.
'She was the first on the scene and you didn't even hesitate to go into burning and unstable wreckage to save life.
'Meeting her I was just speechless. I find it incredibly inspiring.
'She was the first female in the Royal Navy, and thus the Fleet Air Arm, to receive a gallantry medal.
'She paved the way for us all.
After the war, she met and married Mike Hutchinson in 1947.
Mr Hutchinson, now 96, was a decorated soldier during the war - gaining two Military Crosses for his own heroism during the Normandy landings, where he served as a Major in the 43rd Wessex Brigade Somerset Light Infantry.
After the war, the couple lived in Bristol, where Mr Hutchinson ran a successful carpentry company, and Mrs Hutchinson volunteered in the Red Cross.
Following 67-years of happy marriage, they have two children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Her other daughter Fran Ralli, 65, who runs a B&B, said: 'We hope our mother can encourage others to go into a career, to say 'we can do this'.
'We are all so proud of what she did. It's so brave.'
Her daughter Mary King added: 'The strange thing is when I was growing up, I didn't know anything about it.
'She didn't boast or show off about anything - in our household, my father was the war hero, not mum.
'But when we got older, we discovered the truth, and it was marvellous, but she never spoke about it until now.
'I love my mum, and it's incredible that she's a war hero too. I'm so proud of her.'
SERVING YOUR COUNTRY: HOW THOUSANDS OF WOMEN VOLUNTEERED
The Women's Royal Naval Service was founded in 1917, during the First World War, when the Royal Navy became the first of the three services to officially recruit women.
The Service was disbanded when the war ended, but was re-founded in 1939 with the realisation that women would be needed to assist the Royal Navy if war broke out again.
Vera Laughton Matthews, who had served with the WRNS during the First World War, was appointed as Director and by December 1939, there were 3,000 personnel. Those who served in the WRNS were nicknamed 'Wrens'.
Wrens were initially recruited to release men to serve at sea. This was reflected in the recruiting slogan 'Join the Wrens today and free a man to join the Fleet.'
As well as the Home Front, thousands of Wrens served in overseas units. They also worked in the different branches of the Royal Navy, including the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Marines. Australia, Canada and New Zealand formed their own Royal Naval Services.
The Women's Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS) contributed significantly to the running of Royal Indian Navy shore establishments.
In December 1941 the government passed the National Service Act which allowed the conscription of women into war work or the armed forces.
Women could choose to join the WRNS or its naval or air force equivalents, the ATS and the WAAF. Initially single women and widows without children between 19 and 30 were called up, but later the age limit was pushed up to 43.
Read more: Former Wren, 92, breaks 70 years of silence to recall moment she rescued airman from burning plane in 1943 | Mail Online
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