New blue plaque for brave Bradfordian Barbara Jane Harrison

October 29, 2019 Bradford Civic Society

New blue plaque for brave Bradfordian Barbara Jane Harrison

Sean Carolan – BA Ambassador, capt Mark Mannering-Smith – BA Head of Aviation safety, Former Capt Robert sample – Passenger on the aircraft, Sue Buck – Barbara’s Sister and Ruth Atkins – BA Ambassador

A former BOAC cabin crew member, who died in 1968 while evacuating passengers from an aircraft, has been honoured with a blue plaque in Bradford.

British Airways sponsored the accolade for Barbara Jane Harrison, who died aged just 22, while bravely evacuating passengers from BOAC Flight 712 bound for Sydney, after it caught fire shortly after take-off from London Heathrow.

Barbara evacuated passengers before going back into the aircraft to attempt to rescue an elderly, disabled customer who was still on board. Barbara is one of only four women to be awarded the George Cross for heroism and the only woman to receive the award during peacetime.

The blue plaque was unveiled at Bradford City Hall by Kersten England, Chief Executive of Bradford Council, and Sue Buck, Barbara’s sister. It will be permanently sited on the wall outside Barbara’s former home in the Bolton area of the city. T

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “All of us at British Airways are indebted to Barbara Jane Harrison. Barbara’s selfless actions more than 50 years ago were an incredible act of heroism and we are honoured to have been able to sponsor her Blue Plaque.”

Si Cunningham, Chairperson of Bradford Civic Society, said: “Barbara Jane Harrison’s remarkable act of bravery must never be forgotten, so we are delighted that her city of birth is now able to honour her with a permanent Blue Plaque. Jane is regarded as a truly great Bradfordian and is someone we are all immensely proud of. Her Blue Plaque will be seen by thousands of people and will ensure that her name is known and respected for generations to come.”

Captain John Hutchinson and Captain Robert Sample, two of the pilots on the BOAC flight at the time, also attended to pay their respects to their former colleague, alongside Captain Mark Mannering Smith, Head of Aviation Safety, Risk and Compliance for British Airways.