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Cardiff war hero honored 83 years after saving iconic city center building

A war hero has been honored on his 100th birthday.

Ronald Brignall was 16 when he saved Cardiff City Hall destroyed during World War II.

He carried a sandbag between his teeth and another under his arm as he climbed a drain pipe to put out the flames.

Ronald Brignall. Photo: PA

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

At the time, he was studying plumbing at university.

He was walking home when he saw a firebomb land on the roof of City Hall.

He told the local newspaper at the time that his jaw hurt from the sandbag and that it had ruined his suit.

Speaking before his honour, Mr Brignall said he “had no fears” and “just wanted to make sure the bomb didn’t cause any damage to the town hall”.

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

Cardiff Town Hall.  File photo: PA
Cardiff Town Hall. File photo: PA

Cardiff Mayor Bablin Molik visited Mr Brignall at Sussex retirement home where he currently resides to give him a special certificate.

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

“It’s a perfect gift for his birthday,” he added.

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Ms Molik said the “best part” of her job was meeting “remarkable people”.

“I know this is a rather late honour, but it is no less sincere and I have assured Mr Brignall and his family that the whole of Cardiff expresses its gratitude for the heroic deeds he accomplished on this day in 1941,” she added.

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