Archbold Hawthorn EM

b. 3rd Q 1881 Penshaw, County Durham. d. 12/03/1966 Ryhope, County Durham.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 12/05/1930 North Biddick Colliery, Washington, County Durham.

Archbold was one of two sons born to Robert and Sarah Hawthorn. From a young age he became a miner, and in January 1899 he married Mary Elizabeth Hall in Houghton le Spring, County Durham. They had two children, John Robert in 1899 and Edith May in 1906. Sadly, his daughter passed away in 1928, aged just 22. Following the award of his Edward Medal, little is known of his later life. He died on 12th March 1966 in Ryhope, County Durham aged 84.



On the 12th May, 1930, a fall of roof estimated at about 20 tons occurred at the North Biddick Colliery, Washington, Co. Durham, and entombed Lawrence Taylor, a hewer, and Stewart Collins, a putter, who were working at a seam. The Deputy and several other men hurried to the scene and an attempt was made by the Deputy to make a way over or through the fall by pulling away loose timber and stones. In jumping back to avoid a large falling stone the Deputy fell and struck his head against a rail which rendered him semi-conscious.

Meanwhile Archbold Hawthorn, the Fore-Overman, who had been summoned, arrived on the scene. Having first satisfied himself that the entombed men were unhurt, he began to scrape a hole through the top of the fall, and in a short time he succeeded in making a hole through the fall about 18 inches square and about 4 yards long. Hawthorn then crawled halfway through the tunnel and pulled both Collins and Taylor through the opening. Immediately after Taylor had been extricated, another extensive fall occurred and closed the tunnel completely.

Hawthorn displayed conspicuous gallantry in effecting single handed the rescue of these two men. He incurred great personal risk as he was working in an open cavity from which stones were falling the whole time and there was always the danger that another large fall might occur before the rescue operations were completed.