RAF hero to receive top honour from the Queen

An airman from the Royal Air Force is to be awarded a top honour by the Queen for saving a woman's life in the Thames. Senior Aircraftman Shane Mitchley, who is based as RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, will receive the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for his act of courage, as well as a prestigious award from the Royal Humane Society.

SAC Mitchley was part of a team visiting London to learn about the RAF’s history when they heard cries for help from a woman in the Thames near Westminster Bridge.

At great risk to himself SAC Mitchley dived in to the treacherously choppy waters, swimming against a strong current to reach the woman while she struggled to keep her head above the water. At one point he had to dive beneath the water to secure the woman to a life buoy so that other RAF team-mates could haul her to safety.

I’m very honoured and very proud. I’m no hero; it was a spur of the moment decision, but not oneI regret in the slightest. If I came across a similar situation I’d do the same again without hesitation.

Senior Aircraftman Shane Mitchley
The drama unfolded near Westminster Bridge

In addition to the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery, SAC Mitchley is to receive the Royal Humane Society’s prestigious Testimonial on Vellum, signed by HRH Princess Alexandria, for his actions.

SAC Mitchley is an outstanding airman and a credit to the Service. His response in entering the Thames to save a member of the public was an act of outstanding courage in the face of very dangerous river conditions. His actions were exemplary and selfless. He is truly deserving of his commendation from Her Majesty the Queen.

Group Captain Al Marshall, RAF Waddington’s Station Commander