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Wartime hero honoured 83 years after saving iconic building

A wartime hero has been honoured on his 100th birthday.

Ronald Brignall was 16 years old when he saved Cardiff City Hall from destruction during World War Two.

He carried a sandbag between his teeth, with another under his arm, while he scaled a drainpipe to douse the flames.

Ronald Brignall. Pic: PA
Image: Ronald Brignall. Pic: PA

Mr Brignall climbed back up the pipe with a fire hose, also gripped between his teeth, to finish the job.

At the time, he was studying a plumbing qualification at college.

He was walking home when he saw an incendiary bomb land on the roof of City Hall.

He told his local paper at the time that his jaw was sore from carrying the sandbag and that he had ruined his suit.

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Speaking ahead of his honour, Mr Brignall said he “didn’t have any fear” and that he “just wanted to make sure the bomb didn’t do any damage to City Hall”.

He later became an official fire-watcher to help keep Cardiff safe during the war, and then joined the RAF in 1944.

Cardiff City Hall. File pic: PA
Image: Cardiff City Hall. File pic: PA

Cardiff mayor Bablin Molik visited Mr Brignall in the Sussex care home where he now lives to present him with a special certificate.

Mr Brignall’s son Ian said his father was “thrilled to have this recognition”.

“It’s a perfect present on his birthday,” he added.

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Ms Molik said the “best part” of her work was to meet “remarkable people”.

“I know this is a rather belated honour but it is no less heartfelt and I assured Mr Brignall and his family that the whole of Cardiff expresses its gratitude for the heroics he performed on that day in 1941,” she added.

Sky News Source