Archibald Wilson AM

b. 15/10/1867 Sunderland. d. 27/11/1908 Jarrow, County Durham.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 27/11/1908 Jarrow, County Durham.

Archibald was the eldest of five children born to Stafford and Margaret Wilson, and grew up in the Westoe District of Sunderland. His father was a Scottish born shoemaker and his mother was native to Sunderland. On Christmas Day 1895 Archibald married Isabella Graham at St Jude’s, South Shields, and they had three sons, George, Robert and Archibald. Following his death, his widow, Isabella, was presented with his Albert Medal by the Deputy Mayor of South Shields on 18th August 1909.



On the 27th November, 1908, workmen were engaged painting the inside of an iron tank in the stokehold of a steamer lying in dry dock at Jarrow. Owing to the fact that very strong fumes were given off by the anti-corrosive paint or solution used the men were working in relays, each squad of three men being relieved after 10 or 15 minutes had elapsed. A workman named Graham was overcome by the fumes, and the chargeman, Archibald Wilson, sacrificed his life in endeavouring to save Graham. Thomas McCormack, who had already been affected by the fumes while at work in the tank, went to Wilson’s assistance, but was himself rendered insensible, and was rescued by James Kennedy Chapman, Works Manager at the Dock, who, having pulled McCormack out, re-entered the tank and endeavoured to save Graham, but was himself overcome by the fumes. The rescue of Chapman and Graham was eventually effected from the top of the tank. The award of the Albert Medal of the Second Class to Mr. Chapman and Mr. McCormack was notified in the London Gazette of the 23rd July, 1909.