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Coward's courage

Posted on 4 September 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

The memory of Charlie Coward, a man who holds his own special place in the history of Spurs, received a special honour on Wednesday when a blue plaque was unveiled at his former Edmonton home.

The plaque, placed at his Chichester Road house by English Heritage, paid tribute to Charlie’s bravery in rescuing more than 400 Jewish prisoners from the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

It was unveiled by the Mayor of Enfield, Cllr. Anne Pearce, at a ceremony attended by some of Charlie’s army comrades, his family and friends, the Royal Artillery Association and Jewish groups that he came into contact with after the war. The Club was represented by senior press officer John Fennelly.

Indeed Charlie was honoured by the State of Israel with a tree planted in his name outside the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. In 1962 a book about his life ‘The Password is Courage’ was published followed by a film in which he was played by Dirk Bogarde.

After the war Charlie, a life-long Spurs fan, returned to Edmonton where he lived for most of his life and devoted much of his time to helping local charities.

And he was well known at White Hart Lane for the local hospital radio broadcasts that he introduced and ran from seats at the front of the Director’s Box in the old West Stand. He pioneered what was then a unique service, linked to North Middlesex, St Ann’s and the Prince of Wales Hospitals.

He died in 1976 at the age of 71. A remarkable man and a remarkable life.