herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Dad's bravery medal stolen 58 years ago finally back in family

Cyril Deans with the medal and the Herald’s coverage of his father’s heroic act in 1958
Cyril Deans with the medal and the Herald’s coverage of his father’s heroic act in 1958
William Deans who was awarded a medal for bravery in Dublin in 1947
The medal William Deans won for bravery in Dublin in 1947

A Dublin man has told of his delight after his father's missing bravery medal was recovered 58 years after it was stolen.

Cyril Deans (72) from Drimnagh has been trying for decades to retrieve the medal stolen from his house in Monto near Ballybough, Dublin 1, in 1958.

His father William, a deep sea docker at Dublin's docklands, saved the lives of three American sailors, who were overcome by fumes in the lower decks of their ship, the S.S. Amaso Delano at Sir John Rogerson's Quay on November 12, 1947.

William Deans tied a handkerchief around his mouth and descended the ladder.

He saved the lives of three sailors and was awarded the medal by the Department of Justice in 1948 - a bronze medal for gallantry, becoming the first man to receive an award under the 1947 Deeds for Bravery Act.

He received a further certificate for bravery for saving a man from drowning in 1958.

However, his house was burgled in 1958, and the medal, along with certificates and photographs, was stolen.

"My father died a few years later and I proceeded to try and get new certificates, which I did after a 15-year wait," Cyril said.

The medal went through two pawn shops until it was picked up by a collector in London.

"It was actually on Facebook where it came together. A collector contacted Declan Byrne of the Irish Dockers Preservation Society.

"He told him he heard of my story and that he actually knew where the missing medal was located."

Cyril was then put in touch with the holders, who were happy to return it to him.

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