b. 1868 Kibblesworth, County Durham. d. 08/03/1953 9 Institute Terrace, Ouston, Durham.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 31/01/1914 Blackhouse Colliery, Birtley, County Durham.
Joseph Thomas Cook (sometimes spelt Cooke) was born in 1868 in Kibblesworth, County Durham,
the second of eleven children of Thomas and Mary Ann (nee Fenwick). From a young age, the family lived in Birtley, where Thomas Cook was a coal miner at the Blackhouse Colliery. Joseph followed in his father's footsteps and became a hewer in the mine. On 28th November 1898, at Sherriff Hill, Durham, he married Elizabeth Ann Sarginson (registered in Gateshead) and they had four children, Rollin (born 1899), Norman Raphael (born 1902), Gladys (born 1905) and Irene (born 1912). In the 1911 Census, Joseph was living at 6 Grove Cottages in Birtley, near to his place of work with his wife and two children. Little is known about him after the award of the Edward Medal. He died on 8th March 1953, aged 84 and is buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard, Pelton, Durham.
On the morning of the 31st of January 1914, Cook was underground in the Blackhouse Colliery, near the bottom of an old shaft filled with rubbish. Water had accumulated in it, and the weight of the debris so increased burst out the pack walls at the shaft bottom. Seeing the danger, he rushed inbye to warn two shifters named Wilson and Coates, who were working there; they had no way of egress except past the bottom of this shaft. Before the three could get out, the debris filled up the road from floor to roof for a distance of thirty-five yards, completely cutting off their escape. The three men were eventually released after twenty-two hours' confinement. By his action Cook ran the risk not merely of a long imprisonment, but of suffocation, which must have resulted had the dehris proceeded much further.
BURIAL LOCATION: HOLY TRINITY CHURCHYARD, PELTON, COUNTY DURHAM.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.
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