Richard Stanton, of Allesley Old Road, reached spectacular depths in a courageous effort to find a French diver back in 2010.
He was given special leave from his job as a city firefighter to join a team at the Ardeche Gorge, near Marseille, for the mission to rescue Eric Establie, who had been attempting to explore a deep and dangerous cave.
More than a week after he had gone missing - and after days of repeated and unsuccessful dives in horrendous conditions - Mr Stanton found the Frenchman's body. He had died after getting trapped following an underwater avalanche.
Now two years on, the 51-year-old will pick up a Bronze Medal from the Royal Humane Society for his efforts.
The prestigious award is given to a select group of people each year who put their own lives at risk in a bid to save others.
It will be presented by the society, which is spearheaded by Princess Alexandra, in October.
Mr Stanton, a world-class diver involved in numerous rescue attempts in the past, said he was honoured to receive the award after what had been a lengthy and disappointing rescue mission.
"We had expected to find him alive because it was believed there would be air pockets in the cave," he told the Observer.
"We had a lot of history doing it which helps but they were exceptional circumstances.
"I had known Eric personally as he was one of a small band of extremely experienced and capable cave divers, so our paths had crossed on a few occasions.
"You could say he was the French equivalent of myself so I’d like to think that he would have done the same for me in similar circumstances."
Mr Stanton has worked for West Midlands Fire Service for 23 years and is based at the city's main station on Radford Road.
He has already picked up numerous awards for both careers and said the two jobs had similarities.
"Both are in dark places under serious pressure but one is professional while the other is a past-time gone mad," he told us.
Source: Conventry Observer