b. ? 1854 Whitehaven, Cumberland. d. ? 1928 Whitehaven, Cumberland.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/05/1910 Wellington Colliery, Whitehaven, Cumberland.
Thomas was born in 1854 in Whitehaven, Cumberland. From the age of 14 he was a coal miner at the Wellington Colliery. He married Ann Jane, and they lived at 16 Back Row, in the Preston Quarter of Whitehaven. They would have two sons, Frank and Thomas. Thomas was promoted at the colliery to the position of Overman, the position he held when he was awarded the Edward Medal for his part in the fire rescue on 11th May 1910. Nothing else is known about his life prior to his death in 1928 in Whitehaven, aged 74.
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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