b. ? d. ?
DATE OF EM ACTION: 03/10/1912 Tilehurst, Berkshire.
Little is known about Thomas Aitken, a foreman with the Tilehurst, Pangbourne and District Water Company, other than the incident which earned him the Edward Medal.
On the 3rd of October, 1912, Mr. George Lowthian, Consulting Engineer to the Tilehurst, Pangbourne and District Water Company, Limited, descended a well at the pumping station at Tilehurst to examine a set of pumps while they were working, accompanied by Aitken, the foreman. The engineer was standing on a staging, nearly in the centre of the well, about 80 feet below the surface, when a plank suddenly broke and he fell about 34 feet. He crashed through an old pump staging, shattering his left foot and ankle, but managed to get hold of an iron bar about 4 feet below the old staging and 6 feet above water. Aitken, who had almost crossed the plank when it broke, caught hold of a beam and crawled round the pump to a ladder. He was in darkness, for the light had fallen with the engineer, but he groped his way down the slippery ladder to the second staging. He obtained a light, and found the engineer clinging to the girder below the staging. He reached him, and, with great difficulty, as the engineer weighed 14 stone and the whole place was very slippery, succeeded in dragging him to the top of the girder and thence to a place of safety on a ledge of brickwork. Then, ascending to the surface, he arranged for tackle to be let down into the well, and, going down again, managed to bring the man safely to the top. The engineer's strength was nearly exhausted when Aitken reached him, and he
undoubtedly owes his life to Aitken's prompt and courageous action in going to his rescue at
great risk to his own life.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.
NO IMAGE AVAILABLE