“My great-great-uncle Herbert was an amazing man,” says Dena Hutchings, her voice swelling with pride.
“On December 12, 1940, he rescued 50 people from a bomb shelter on Sidney Street in Sheffield. It was during the Blitz, and there were buildings blazing all around him. He transported them out four-by-four, knee deep in water at some points, and led them to safety.
“By the time he got the last four out, the shelter was on the verge of collapse, and so was he.”
A year ago, Dena, aged 50, had never even heard of Herbert Law. Today, he is a point of pride for her family, as alive in Dena’s eyes as any other family member, thanks to her discovery of him on Ancestry.com.
“It was in 2017, after finding myself with a bit of extra time on my hands, that I started researching my family tree. So far I’ve made it all the way to the 1600s and I've learned so much along the way.
“I discovered Herbert a year ago, along with all kinds of documents from his life – his marriage certificate, census records showing his addresses and occupation, and even his death record.”
It was around this point Dena made a thrilling discovery – a record referring to Herbert’s Blitz bravery. The record showed Herbert had been awarded a Civil Defence Gallantry Award, given to those recognised for their help on the Home Front, when he served as an ARP Warden.
Dena, of Frecheville, adds: “The record said that Herbert, who was 47 at the time, led terrified locals to safety, and that he kept in good spirits, moving people as fast as he could while the area around them flooded.”
Herbert lived to the ripe old age of 83, marrying wife Sarah Ann Beighton Brook in 1916, and having a daughter called Norma in 1921. After the war, he continued working as an Undertakers Assistant for his parents’ family business, John Henry Law & Sons.
“I’m so proud to have such an amazing man in my family.”