The Medal of the Order of the British Empire for Meritorious Service, usually known as the British Empire Medal (BEM), is awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown.
Mrs Cardwell was presented with the British Empire Medal by the King for her heroism in single-handedly capturing a German airman when his bomber was shot down over North East England. She was in her kitchen when she saw a parachutist land on her farm. She captured the German airman, who had twisted his ankle on landing, using a pitchfork, and made him a cup of tea.
Should Mrs Cardwell have been awarded a medal?
‘General position satisfactory….. One German parashootist captured by me yesterday.’
Extract from Mrs Cardwell’s weekly report, July 1940.