War hero could be awarded medal

Allan Edwards (top right) with his fellow P.O.Ws and Sarah Rigler and her daughter in Israel in 1989.
Allan Edwards (top right) with his fellow P.O.Ws and Sarah Rigler and her daughter in Israel in 1989.

A war hero who saved the life of a Jewish girl by hiding her from the Nazis could be awarded a posthumous medal.

Allan Edwards from Morecambe died nearly 20 years ago and has no surviving close family, according to friends.

But a Heroes of the Holocaust medal could still be given to Allan through his adopted home of Morecambe.

Last week we launched an appeal to locate Allan’s whereabouts after Chris Hammond, nephew of one of his fellow Prisoners of War (P.O.W.s), got in touch.

Mr Hammond is searching for his uncle’s nine colleagues who were all awarded the medal.

The soldiers risked their lives to hide Sara Rigler, a 17-year-old Jewish girl, in a Prisoner of War camp in Poland.

Mr Hammond had talks with David Morris, Morecambe’s MP, to see if the medal could be collected by a representative of the town unless any surviving relatives come forward.

“It was an honour for me to be asked by Mr Hammond,” said Mr Morris.

“I hope the medal will be displayed in a prominent place so that future generations can learn about the sacrifices P.O.W’s like Allan made.”

According to Allan’s friends, he died in 1994 and his wife Wanda passed away in 2001. The couple had no children.

Graham Chambers said Allan was born in 1920 and was originally from the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area.

He said Allan was called up as soon as war broke out and was captured at Dunkirk in 1940.

Allan was working as a labourer on a German-owned farm when he and fellow P.O.Ws found Sara, whose father, mother, sister and other relatives had all been killed in the Holocaust.

They hid her in their camp for three weeks.

Allan and his fellow P.O.Ws, who were about to be evacuated to Germany, then took her to the house of a local woman where she was liberated by the Red Army and now lives in America.

Mr Chambers said that towards the end of the war, Allan was shot in the leg by Russians who had tried to steal his wristwatch, and walked with a limp afterwards.

Allan had met Wanda, who was Polish, during the war.

They came to live in Morecambe afterwards and lived in a converted train on Green Lane near Oxcliffe Road, where Allan had a car repairs garage.

He also worked on Morecambe fairground, operating a ‘Speedway’ ride.

All of Allan’s friends paid tribute to him as a friendly and helpful man, and a great engineer who could fix anything.