A shy and unassuming boy of 11 smiled from the front pages of the newspapers on Tuesday morning. He was Neville Griffin, of Queen’s Road, Watford, who dived into the swollen River Colne on Monday afternoon to rescue Brian Worby, aged five, of Shaftesbury Road.

Brian was playing with John Dukes, also of Shaftesbury Road, when he fell into the river and, according to one witness, “floated down the river with only his coat showing on the water.”

Neville left his tent, in which he had been playing, and dived to the rescue.

Later, Neville explained: “I took off my clothes and dived in after the boy. I got him to the bank and applied artificial respiration. I learned something about that at school and when I was in the Scouts.”

By the time the fire brigade and ambulance arrived, Brian was conscious. He went to the Watford Peace Memorial Hospital and Neville went to his grandparents nearby to dry himself.

When he arrived home, Neville said nothing about his adventure, and it remained for a customer at his parents’ shop to tell his mother what had happened.

[From the Watford Observer of April 6, 1951]

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