b. 27/05/1862 Langley, Derbyshire. d. 12/10/1933 50 Regent Road, Fenton, Stoke on Trent.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 10/03/1924 Harrisea Head Colliery, Biddulph, Staffordshire.
Paling Baker was born in Langley, near Marlpool, Derbyshire on 27th May 1862, one of thirteen children of Charles and Elizabeth Baker (nee Purdy). From a young age, Paling was working in the coal mines of Derbyshire, and in 1886, he married Sarah Cresswell in Heanor. They had two children, Wilfred (born 1889) and Elizabeth Ann (born in 1896). In the mid 1890s the family moved to Alfreton where he was a member of the Alfreton Technical Education Committee. By the time of the 1901 Census, he was now a Colliery Manager living in Staveley. Soon after this, the family moved again to Staffordshire, where he became Colliery Manager at Harrisea Head where the Edward Medal rescue would occur. He died in Stoke on Trent in October 1933, aged 71.
The majority of the workmen had already left the mine, but it was found that one man named Booth was missing. He had been working alone about 130 yards from the bottom of the shaft, and representations were made to Baker, the Manager, that it was impossible to rescue him. The bottom of the pit was three parts full of water and the water was still rising. Baker, however, was resolute: he called for volunteers and Wilson was one of five men who responded and descended into the mine by a footrail. The rescue party reached a ventilation door which they dared not open owing to the pressure of water behind it and they therefore prepared to retire. Baker, who
had followed, insisted that Booth could not be left, but Wilson was the only man who volunteered to continue the work of rescue. Baker and Wilson managed to force the ventilation door and allow the water to escape gradually. They then waded to the place where Booth was working, reaching him after great difficulty, and all three men were eventually drawn to the surface. Both Baker and Wilson ran a very great risk of being trapped under the low roof in the mine. They could not tell to what height the water would rise and if it had reached the roof both the rescued and rescuers would have lost their lives. Both Baker and Wilson displayed exceptional courage and resolution.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.
NO IMAGE AVAILABLE