b. 19/12/1885 Parton, Cumberland. d. 2nd Q 1962 Whitehaven, Cumberland.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/05/1910 Wellington Colliery, Whitehaven, Cumberland.
Isaac Churchill Graham was born in Parton, Cumberland on 19th December 1885, one of four children of Wilson and Hannah. His father was a deputy in a coal mine. By the age of 16, Isaac was working in the same colliery as his father as a labourer underground. In 1908, Isaac married Mary Stoddart in Whitehaven, and they had at least one son, Cyril born in 1909. By the time of the fire in Wellington Colliery in 1910, Isaac was now a deputy overman, and the family were living at 25 Lady Pit Terrace, in Whitehaven. The next record of Isaac is in 1939, when he was still working at the pit, and was living with his wife at 16 The Green in Whitehaven. Isaac died in 1962, aged 76.
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: PRIVATELY OWNED. SOLD AT DNW IN DECEMBER 2012 FOR £1,800.
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