Harry Bilms | Grandfather of Marilyn Gardner, Milton MA
Harry Bilms was the father of Marilyn’s Aunt Loretta
Sergeant Harry C. Bilms, Marilyn Gardner’s grandfather, received the first presentation of the New York City Police Departments Combat Cross on October 10, 1934,
The Police Combat Cross is the second highest departmental award of the New York City Police Department. The Police Combat Cross is awarded to police officers who, “having received Honorable Mention awards, successfully and intelligently perform an act of extraordinary heroism while engaged in personal combat with an armed adversary under circumstances of imminent personal hazard to life.”
The Police Combat Cross was established August 14, 1934, by the Police Commissioner of New York City. The medal is a gold Maltese Cross with the seal of New York City set in the center and surrounded by the inscription, “For Valor, Police”. The name of the holder and the year of awarding are engraved on the reverse. The cross is suspended by a ring from green silk ribbon. If the Combat Cross is awarded a second time, a gold palm leaf is set in the center of the ribbon. In 1998, the detail and casting of Police Combat Cross was enhanced to reflect its importance as the department’s second highest medal. (Wikipedia)
On June 12, 1934, Police Commissioner O’Ryan announced the formation of a committee to consider the creation of five or six more medals to reward police officers for deeds of heroism. The members of the committee were; the First and Second Deputy Commissioners, the Secretary to the commissioner and the Chief Inspector of the department.
On Oct. 10, 1934, at a City Hall ceremony in the Plaza, 5,000 people saw the presentation of the first Combat Cross. The first one was to Sergeant Harry C. Bilms, who while off duty April 22, 1933, entered a restaurant in Queens and encountered three robbers who had held up the proprietor and the patrons. Sgt. Bilms shot two of the gunmen, killing one and wounding one other.