The story of a Bradford air stewardess who died trying to rescue passengers from a burning plane was today included in the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Barbara Jane Harrison was posthumously awarded the George Cross, Britain’s highest award for civilian bravery, after her act of heroism at Heathrow in April, 1968.

She is the sole female recipient of the medal in peacetime and only the fourth to be awarded the medal since its institution 70 years ago.

Miss Harrison’s biography is one of a set of new entries on individuals remembered and commemorated for remarkable acts of heroism, including Wallace Hartley (1878-1912), a former member of the Huddersfield Philharmonic orchestra who led the Titanic’s orchestra during the ship’s evacuation.

Miss Harrison was born in Kingsdale Crescent, Bradford, in 1945 and became a stewardess with the British Overseas Airways Corporation, now British Airways, in 1966.

On April 8, 1968, she was assigned to a flight from London to Sydney but minutes after take-off, an explosion in an engine led to a fire and an emergency landing at Heathrow.

Miss Harrison helped evacuate passengers from the back of the plane where the fire was at its most intense.

The effort was made more complicated when the escape chute became twisted and Miss Harrison’s fellow crew had to leave Miss Harrison alone to help people.

Towards the end of the evacuation, survivors reported seeing Miss Harrison re-enter the fuselage to rescue four remaining trapped passengers, including a child. All five died in the accident.

The citation for her honour spoke of her “lonely and courageous action” and “devotion to duty”.

Her bravery is also commemorated with a memorial window in Bradford City Hall and at St George’s Chapel, Heathrow. In 2005 her story featured in a poster campaign, ‘Ordinary people, extraordinary deeds’, on the London Underground.

She joins more than 245 notable historic figures connected with Bradford among the 57,348 lives included in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.