Top woman police sergeant celebrates 100th birthday

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A Crawley woman who was one of the first Metropolitan Women Police officers to be awarded the George Medal for bravery has celebrated her 100th birthday.

Ethel Bush was paid a visit by Assistant Commissioner Helen King and a 19-year-old PC Katie Dennell at Ifield Park Care Home the day before her milestone on Thursday (March 10).

Her great-niece Dawn Weedon said: “Ethel was really chuffed by Helen and Katie’s visit.

“She’s a very modest lady so being visited by an assistant commissioner, particularly a female one, was really gratifying for her.”

Helen King said: “It was a privilege to meet Ethel and thank her. As a woman officer just after the war who showed such courage, she helped pave the way for women of my generation to have hugely satisfying and successful careers in policing. The Met is very proud of Ethel and we wish her a really happy 100th birthday.”

PC Katie Dennell said: “Having read about Ethel in the Crime Museum, it was amazing to meet her so soon after starting my career as an officer. I hope I can bring the same determination and bravery she did into my work in keeping the public safe”

A police spokesman said: “During 1955, following attacks on several women in Croydon, Sergeant Bush volunteered to act as a decoy, along with many colleagues.

“In March WPC Kathleen Parrot was seriously injured by the attacker.

“On 23 April the assailant attacked Ethel from behind and hit her over the head, causing a wound that required eleven stitches. Despite her injury she grabbed hold of the attacker’s coat, but fell which resulted in his escape. When the attacker was caught, WPS Bush and WPC Parrott were able to identify the 29-year-old labourer.”

Ethel became one of two Metropolitan Women Police to be first awarded the George Medal for bravery following the attack.

A judge stated: “I cannot imagine higher courage than that you showed along that footpath.”

A chief magistrate stated: “If anyone can imagine a finer story in the history of the Metropolitan Police, I shall be pleased to hear it.” She also received a Commissioner’s High Commendation and £15 from the Bow Street Police Fund.

Ethel worked as a seamstress before serving in Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during the Second World War in India. She joined the Met as a Constable in 1946 and was promoted to Sergeant in 1953.

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