Enyon Hawkins

You’ve probably never heard of Enyon Hawkins. Enyon was a Welsh miner, born in 1920 and dying in Wales in 2001. Yet you probably should know about him, for Enyon characterises much of what an unknown person can do through simple acts of love. During World War Two Enyon was an able seaman aboard the British navy vessel British Dominion. On January 10, 1943, German U-Boats fired three torpedoes into the British Dominion. The ship exploded into flames and was burning furiously. Many of the crew jumped into the sea, the only way they might escape with their lives. However even that was fraught with more than the usual danger, for oil from the ships fuel tanks had spread across the water and threatened to set even the ocean ablaze.

Enyon Hawkins was one of those crewmen who jumped into the ocean. He was also a very strong swimmer, and keeping his wits about him, organised most of the sailors into a group and led them away to safety.  It was his example and encouragement, especially to the weaker swimmers, that kept them going until they were rescued by the British Navy.

On two occasions Enyon left the group to turn back and save others. This meant swimming into oil covered waters that were ablaze. The risk of being completely enveloped by the flames was very high, and though Enyon escaped it was not before he suffered extensive burning to his face. However it was made worthwhile by the lives of those he saved.

After the war Enyon was awarded medals for bravery and leadership. It was recognised that apart from Enyon’s actions most of the men from the British Dominion would have lost their lives.

Application: love, bravery, courage, impact, greatness. Enyon’s story reminds us that you don’t need to be an admiral or famous to make a dramatic impact on the world. All you need to do is start loving people where you are, as you find them.