Archibald Thom EM

b. 21/11/1872 Kilsyth, Stirlingshire, Scotland. d. 27/04/1958 Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire.

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

Archibald was the eldest of two children, and only son, of Archibald and Jane Thom (nee Ritchie). His father was a colliery manager who hailed from Scotland, and his son followed in his footsteps in becoming a mining engineer. Archibald junior worked at the same colliery as his father, Moresby, and later was promoted to Junior Manager by the time of the terrible fire at the Wellington Pit, in Whitehaven. In 1914, Archibald married Sarah Bannister in Whitehaven but little else is known about his life after his date, and it is likely he returned to his native Scotland.



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.