b. 13/08/1873 Ashington, Northumberland. d. 4th Q 1939 Whitehaven, Cumberland.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/05/1910 Wellington Colliery, Whitehaven, Cumberland.
Christopher was born on 13th August 1873 in Ashington, Northumberland, the eldest of five children of Edward and Christian Gregory. Both of his parents hailed from Cramlington, Northumberland, and his father was an Under Manager in the mining industry. Christopher was baptised on 19th August 1873. His younger siblings were named Kate, Isabella, Nicholas and Dorothy. At some point, the family moved to Whitehaven, Cumberland, where in 1899, Christopher married Jessie Temple. Christopher gained employment as an Under Manager Deputy at Wellington Colliery. By the time of the fire at the colliery in May 1911, Christopher was living at 28 Bedford Street, Hensingham, near Whitehaven. He and Jessie now had two children, John Edward (born in 1901) and Doris (born in 1909). Little is known of his life following the award of the Edward Medal, though he did remain working at the mine as a Deputy. By 1939, he had retired from the mines, and was living at 21 Egremont Road, Whitehaven, with his wife, and his now married daughter Doris, who was a school teacher. Christopher died later that year, aged 66.
On the 11th May, 1910, a terrible fire occurred in the Wellington Pit, Whitehaven, at a point about 4,500 yards from the shafts. Various rescue parties, with great courage and self-devotion and at considerable risk, descended the mine and endeavoured to extinguish the fire and penetrate to the persons in the workings beyond the same. Thorne and Littlewood, fitted with breathing apparatus, reached within a distance of 150 yards of the fire, but were driven back by the great heat and effusion of gases. The others got to within about 300 yards of the fire, working in the smoke backing from the fire. It was found impossible to penetrate to the scene of the fire or to rescue any of the entombed miners.
Had an explosion occurred — a by no means unlikely eventuality, seeing that the mine is a very gassy one — they would undoubtedly all have been killed.
Special gallantry was shown by John Henry Thorne, to whom the Edward Medal of the First Class has already been awarded, and by James Littlewood.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.
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