Heroes for a Day True stories of incredible
bravery and risk
By Lisa Potts. Hodder & Staunton. 246pp. $19.95
Gp-Capt Phil Morrall (Retd)
collection of 10 stories relates how unassuming and perhaps unexceptional
people showed extraordinary courage when thrust into personal danger.
an infant school teacher in the UK, the author, Lisa Potts, led
her children on a teddy bears picnic in the local park on
July 8, 1996.
attacked the group with a large knife or machete. Lisas hands
were nearly severed and she suffered other serious injuries in protecting
the children. She was awarded the George Medal and needed surgery
over a period of two years or so to repair the damage.
a consequence of the attack, Lisa decided to research and present
the stories of other heroes she encountered in the Unsung
Heroes Awards system operating in the UK.
writes, I think a hero is a person who instinctively go-gets
in the face of danger, who thinks quickly and calmly and reacts
fast in an emergency, and who will try their best to save the day.
When you read their stories, you will see that none of my heroes
or heroines expected to hit the headlines. None of them were out
looking for some special excitement.
man swims to the rescue; a stewardess saves a runaway tourist coach;
a pensioner thwarts an armed robbery; a family car inferno; the
Dunblane school tragedy these are among the stories retold
in the book.
for a Day has a special link to the ADF as chapter 10 recounts the
extraordinary exploits of Flt-Lt Euan Duncan in rescuing members
of an Everest expedition in May 1996.
Duncan was one of two Royal Australian Air Force members killed
in a Tiger Moth accident at RAAF Base Williamtown on February 16,
2002. (The other was my son, Flg-Off Luke Morrall).
1996 Euan, then in the RAF, and his mates were the only people in
a position to help another ill-fated expedition after a storm hit.
a 72-hour period they extracted the dead, the dying and the barely
alive. Some dead had to be abandoned, some injured died, some barely
alive lost limbs, noses and other appendages to frostbite.
of this resulted in Euan losing his chance at climbing Everest,
£10,000 of his own money, his health and fitness. He was medivaced
back to the UK. It took three years for him to recover and begin
mountaineering again. Euan spoke candidly to Lisa of crying, laughing,
faith and other personal aspects of his life.
reflects, This is a story of endurance over a long period
of time, not a sudden flash of heroism. After three years he has
found himself again.
you knew Euan Duncan you should read this book to better understand
your friend and colleague. If, like my wife and me, you did not
meet him, you should read this book as a source of inspiration against
the cynical and sceptical nature of our modern world.