A retired Metropolitan Police officer and George Medal recipient has begun her 100th birthday celebrations with a special visit from Assistant Commissioner Helen King.
To celebrate this milestone, Ethel Violet Bush was visited by Helen King and one the Met’s youngest police officer Katie Dennell, 19, at her care home in West Sussex.
Ethel was born on 10 March 1916 and was one of five children.
The centenarian worked as a seamstress before serving in Women’s Auxiliary Air Force during the Second World War, where she was stationed in India.
Ethel joined the Metropolitan Police as a Constable on 16 September 1946 and was appointed to ‘H’ division. She was promoted to Sergeant in 1953.
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.
Following the attack Ethel was one of two Metropolitan Women Police who were the first to be awarded the George Medal for bravery.
She also received a Commissioner’s High Commendation and £15 from the Bow Street Police Fund.
In response to her actions 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.”
Ethel retired on 19, September 1971. She became a keen gardener and moved to Crawley to be near her family.
AC 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”
Ethel’s Great Niece Dawn Weedon’s 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.”