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b. 1883 Whitehaven, Cumberland. d. 1948 Whitehaven. Cumberland.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/05/1910 Wellington Colliery, Whitehaven, Cumberland.
Edward was the second of three sons born to Edward and Martha Ann McKenzie (nee McConnell). His father was a miner, and from a young age Edward followed his father into the mines. In the summer of 1906 he married Elizabeth Mary Kerr in Whitehaven. Following the award of the Edward Medal to both himself, his father and brother Hugh for their part in the fire at Wellington Colliery in May 1910. Edward continued in the mines to retirement age. He and Elizabeth didnt have any children, and Edward died, aged 65 in 1948.
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.