With flames and explosions all around her, making an escape from the tail of the machine impossible, she directed her passengers to another exit while she remained at her post.
It is unknown why exactly Harrison, on the verge of safety, returned to the cabin, although a BAA Fire Officer who entered the burned out aircraft believed it was to assist a severely disabled Israeli woman, Esther Cohen, and several others.
Harrison attempted to help her despite the extreme risks involved, and in so doing bravely died at her post in the service of others.
Miss Harrison was a very brave young lady who gave her life in her utter devotion to duty.
The Barbara Jane Harrison, GC, Memorial Fund was set up in October 1969 with the aim of raising £1,000 by October 1970.
I believe that this devotion to duty, in the highest traditions of her calling, is worthy of recognition by the posthumous award of the George Cross. The Queen has been graciously pleased to make the undermentioned award. Miss Harrison was one of the stewardesses in this aircraft and the duties assigned to her in an emergency were to help the steward at the aft station to open the appropriate rear door and inflate the escape chute and then to assist the passengers at the rear of the aircraft to leave in an orderly manner.
GEORGE CROSS Miss Barbara Jane Harrison (deceased), Stewardess, British Overseas Airways Corporation. When the aircraft landed, Miss Harrison and the steward concerned opened the rear galley door and inflated the chute, which unfortunately became twisted on the way down so that the steward had to climb down it to straighten it before it could be used.
After leaving school, Harrison worked at Martins Bank from 1962 until 1964, when she decided that she wanted a change of career.
She took a job as a nanny for a Swiss farmer in the Canton of Neuchâtel in order to improve her French.
Harrison stayed at her station and helped passengers to escape as fire consumed the plane, encouraging them to jump and in some cases simply pushing them out to safety.
As the fire spread, escape from the over-wing starboard exit of the aircraft became impossible and she led the remaining passengers towards the rear.
At 16.27 BST (15.27 GMT), twelve minutes late, on 8 April 1968, BOAC Flight 712 left Heathrow Airport, bound indirectly for Sydney.