b. 15/12/1893 Elermore Vale, Wales. d. 14/09/1951 Bedwellty, Monmouthshire.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 30/12/1927 Ebbw Vale, Wales.
Thomas was the eldest of seven children born to George and Emma Bourton, born on 15th December 1893. His siblings were William, Robert, Catherine, Lily, James and Trevor. After basic schooling Thomas followed his father down the mines, as a coal filler. He later moved to working in the blast furnaces of the local Ebbw Vale Steel and Iron Company. In the Great War, he served with the Royal Army Medical Corps. He married twice, firstly to Alice (who pre-deceased him) and then in 1950 to Margaret Evans. This marriage would only last a year, when Thomas died aged 57.
On December 17th, 1927, the blast furnaces of the Ebbw Vale Steel and Iron Company were shut down and opportunity was taken to clean out the gas mains of the blast furnace plant. The work proceeded normally until December 30th, when two men engaged in cleaning a 3 ft. pipe connecting two boilers were overcome by carbon monoxide gas. The accident was not discovered until the relief entered the pipe and found the. body of one of the workmen. This they drew to the manhole giving access to the pipe. Assistance was summoned and Bourton and Evans entered the pipe in order to rescue the second workman. After proceeding some 20 feet along the pipe they came upon the workman's body. With great difficulty and much distressed by the poisonous gas, they succeeded in dragging themselves and their fellow workman to the manhole through which they were assisted into the open air. Unfortunately the rescued workman died.
Bourton and Evans were both well aware that there was poisonous gas present in the pipe. One body had already been recovered and the two men who had entered it had been
Notwithstanding the grave and evident danger they both entered the pipe and proceeded' for some distance away from the manhole where, if they were overcome, there was no chance of their receiving immediate aid. They knowingly and very gallantly risked their own lives in an endeavour to save the life of one of their, comrades.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: EBBW VALE WORKS MUSEUM, EBBW VALE, WALES.
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