Charles Whelpton EM

b. ? 1856 Middle Rasen, Lincolnshire. d. 13/11/1920 Sheffield, Yorkshire.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 26/08/1919 Atlas Steel Works, Sheffield, Yorkshire.

Charles was the ninth of eleven children born to Edward and Mary Whelpton (nee Robinson). He was raised in the village of Middle Rasen, Lincolnshire until the age of 5, when the family moved to Sheffield, Yorkshire. His father died when he was 18. by which time, he had already begun employment at the Atlas Steel Works. In 1881, he married Sarah Ann Bradwell in Sheffield, and tbey would have 11 children in total, the last in 1908. Charles was approaching retirement age when he was involved in the rescue of two steeplejacks from a chimney. Charles was awarded the Edward Medal, but sadly passed away less than three months after the award was announced in the London Gazette on 13th November 1920. He left £99 in his will to his widow, Sarah Ann.



On August 26th, 1919, two steeplejacks were engaged in repainting the brickwork at the top of a chimney 150 feet high at the Atlas Works of Messrs. John Brown, and Co., Ltd., at Sheffield. Before the work was completed, gas fumes were accidentally permitted to pass through the chimney, with the result that one of the men was overcome. His companion, a lad, was able to attract attention, but was unable to assist him.

Whelpton, Naylor and Ball, who were not steeplejacks, but had formerly been used to work at a height; at once ascended the ladder, which, however, only reached a spot 7 feet from the summit. They then had to climb outwards over a projecting chimney crown by means of the steel straps which run round the shaft. On reaching the top, which was only 9 inches wide, they applied artificial respiration to the unconscious man for 20 minutes, and then with great difficulty lowered him to the ground in a canvas ambulance sling, which had in the meantime been passed up by means of a rope. All three men undoubtedly risked their lives in saving the life of another.






Wayne Bywater – Image of Charles Whelpton’s grave in Burngreave Cemetery, Sheffield.