b. 11/08/1880 Ellenborough, Cumberland. d. 4th Quarter 1956 Whitehaven, Cumberland.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/05/1910 Wellington Colliery, Whitehaven, Cumberland.
James was the fifth of seven children born to Joseph and Margaret Coulthard (nee Rigg) on 11th August 1880 in Ellenborough, Cumberland. His siblings were Mary, Sarah, Margaret, Elizabeth, Alice and John. From an early age, James followed his father down the mines becoming a coal hewer, then a deputy overman. In 1907, he married Frances Burns in Whitehaven, and they went on to have a daughter Kathleen (born 1916) and son, John (born 1918). Sadly, John passed away aged just 6 in 1924. James and Frances spent all their married lives living at 6 Mountain View, Prospect, Whitehaven. He died in 1956, aged 76 in Whitehaven.
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 selfdevotion 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 tire. 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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