Andrew Millar EM

b. 03/02/1877 Cumbernauld, Scotland. d. 16/03/1960 Durham.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/05/1910 Wellington Colliery, Whitehaven, Cumberland.

Andrew was the fourth of seven children born to Alexander and Helen Millar (nee Marshall), and he grew up in Cumbernauld, Dumbartonshire. His father was a coal miner, and the family moved south of the border and settled in Cumberland. In 1902, Andrew, who had followed his father into the mining industry, married Anna Bella McQuiston in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire. Shortly after their marriage, Andrew gained employment at the Lowca Colliery in Whitehaven, which was close to the Wellington Colliery, where he would be awarded the Edward Medal in May 1910. Andrew and Anna Bella had four children, a son and three daughters, and he remained in mining for the rest of his working life. He and his family moved across to the North East of England, where he died in 1960, aged 83.



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.