Łukasz Koczocik, London Bridge hero, honoured in Queen’s last bravery awards

The people who intervened to stop the Islamist terrorist Usman Khan in the London Bridge attack on 29 November 2019, have been recognized with the civilian Queen’s Gallantry Medals, approved by the Queen before her passing. One of them is Łukasz Koczocik.

Łukasz Koczocik was honoured with the Queen’s Gallantry Medal at an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on 26 September 2023 in Windsor. He received the medal from King Charles III’s sister, Princess Anne. 

The bravery award winners are among 15 people praised for their heroic actions in the last list approved by the Queen, who died last September. London Bridge heroes are among 15 honoured in Queen’s last bravery awards. One of them is a Pole – Łukasz Koczocik, who received a Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

During a conference in the City of London held by an organization dedicated to rehabilitating offenders, Usman Khan launched a violent attack in November 2019. He stabbed two Cambridge University graduates, Jack Merritt (aged 25) and Saskia Jones (aged 23), causing their deaths and injuring three others. Following the attack, Khan fled to London Bridge and was ultimately shot and killed by armed officers. The incident was a tragedy, causing the loss of innocent lives and injuring others, and raised concerns about the risks of offenders involved in rehabilitation programs.

A kitchen porter, Łukasz, who became a global sensation after bravely engaging in one-on-one combat with the crazed terrorist Usman Khan, during the 2019 London Bridge attack, was set to receive the Queen’s Medal for Gallantry or the George Cross. Łukasz was washing glasses in the basement of Fishmongers’ Hall when he heard screams of terror from upstairs. He attacked Khan with a pike, sustaining brutal slash wounds while allowing guests to escape. Despite being stabbed multiple times, Łukasz refused to give up, and his actions were critical in stopping the terrorist. Łukasz has also been nominated for the highest stage of bravery honour in his homeland of Poland.

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki praised the kitchen porter on Facebook: Bloody Poles are saving London again” – these words dominated London media reports about the brave attitude of Łukasz, a Pole who did not hesitate and rush to a terrorist (…) Against terrorism, all weapons are allowed. Łukasz, your attitude deserves special thanks and respect (…) Poland is proud of you!”

This award is given to civilians who show exceptional bravery and courage in the face of danger, risking their safety to protect others or prevent harm. It is a way to honour individuals who have displayed selflessness and heroism in the face of adversity and to acknowledge their contribution to society. The Civilian Gallantry Award is a prestigious recognition highlighting the importance of ordinary people who can significantly impact extraordinary circumstances.

On the Civillian Gallantry list, you can read the reasons for awarding the medal „Łukasz Koczocik was downstairs working, and also ran towards the threat posed by the attacker. Using an ornamental spear to defend himself during the struggle, Koczocik was stabbed three times to the hand, arm and shoulder, sustaining serious injuries. He also contributed to forcing the attacker to leave the reception to the venue, at which point he was unable to continue due to the severity of his injuries.”

Queen’s Commendation for Bravery

Koczocik said after the investiture ceremony: „I just did what I thought was right at that time and place, never a hero. I did something I never expected I could do myself, now I know there’s more in me (…) They (the victims) were young people, bright people, I never knew them personally but it still makes me feel bad that there was nothing else I could do to stop it.”

There is also another Pole – Rafal Majchrzak, rewarded for rescuing a woman from a fatal house fire on 1 January 2019.

The full Civilian Gallantry List is available here.

Artur Sławkowski

Picture: www.gov.uk, Victoria Jones

 

 

 

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