b. ? 1872 Whitehaven, Cumberland. d. ? 1918 Whitehaven, Cumberland.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/05/1910 Wellington Colliery, Whitehaven, Cumberland.
John was the second eldest of five children born to John and Margaret Hanlon, who lived in the Preston Quarter of Whitehaven, Cumberland. John's mother passed away when he was 6, and from an early age he was employed at the local Wellington Colliery. He married Jessie Lanorah and they went on to have seven children. John later became a coal miner's agent and it was in this capacity that he was involved in the serious fire at Wellington Colliery on 11th May 1910. John died in 1918 aged just 46.
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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