Proud son pays tribute to heroic father who saved girl in gas tragedy

George Arthur Luck coming out of the pipeline across Barking Creek. Picture: Ken Luck

George Arthur Luck coming out of the pipeline across Barking Creek. Picture: Ken Luck - Credit: Ken Luck

A Dagenham man has paid tribute to his father for his two acts of gas-related bravery in the borough 60 years ago.

The pipeline getting submerged across Barking Creek. Picture: Ken Luck

The pipeline getting submerged across Barking Creek. Picture: Ken Luck - Credit: Ken Luck

In 1953 in Butler Road, Dagenham, George Arthur Luck’s neighbours, Mr and Mrs Darney, were struggling for money, so a friend showed them how to ‘bridge’ their gas metre using a bicycle inner tube in order to get some free energy.

Mr Darney was away with the Merchant Navy and Mrs Darney had gone to the pub to get change for the metre when the inner tube slipped off.

There were five children inside the house, who were all gassed.

After hearing what had happened, George ran inside the house to try and save the children and dragged all five out. They were aged one, three, five seven and nine.

The pipeline getting submerged across Barking Creek. Picture: Ken Luck

The pipeline getting submerged across Barking Creek. Picture: Ken Luck - Credit: Ken Luck

Ken Luck, George’s son, believed all five of the children had died as a result of breathing in the gas.

However through Facebook he recently found out the eldest girl, Joan Borham, had survived thanks to his dad’s quick thinking and bravery.

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Six years later, in 1959, George was now working for North Thames Gas.

The gas board was installing a pipeline across Barking Creek. This was done by floating the concrete-encased pipeline across the water and then releasing it to sink to the bottom.

However, the middle section sunk quicker than the rest of the pipeline, meaing it buckled in the centre.

The gas board then looked for volunteers to go down to photograph the pipeline so the engineers could work out what had gone wrong. George was the only volunteer.

George was pulled through the pipe with a rope and the pictures he took meant the pipeline was eventually fixed, meaning gas could be reinstalled in the surrounding area.

“My dad was a real salt of the earth man,” said Ken, who grew up in Dagenham but now lives in Suffolk.

He said he is very proud of his father’s actions.

Tragically, George died at the age of 57 as a result of working for the gas board from exposure to carbon monoxide.

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