Christopher Joseph Devenport EM

b. 20/10/1884 New Silksworth, County Durham.  d. 27/04/1962 Oxford.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 27/04/1916 Harton Colliery, South Shields, County Durham.

Christopher was born in New Silksworth, a suburb of Sunderland, on 20th October 1884, the son of Charles and Alice Devenport. Christopher was the second of their seven children. By the age of 16, Christopher was a coal miner. Christopher married Theresa Cox and they had two sons, Christopher and John. They lived at 112 Talbot Road in South Shields, near to Harton Colliery. Christopher was now a Deputy Overman based below ground, and it was in this role that he was involved in the 1916 roof fall that led to the award of the Edward Medal. He later became an Under Manager at Harton. By 1939, Christopher was a Colliery Coal Inspector working above ground, and living at 11 Leighton Street, South Shields. His two sons, Christopher, who was working at Harton Colliery as a labourer, and John, a clerk, were still living with him. Christopher at some point in later life moved to Oxford, where he died on 27th April 1962 aged 77. In his will, he left all his estate to his son John.



On the 27th April, 1916, a large fall of roof occurred at Harton Colliery. Eight men, under the supervision of Walker, were engaged in clearing away the fallen stone, when a further and heavier fall occurred, whereby one of the men, named Hall, was caught and apparently buried beneath the stone. Devenport was at once sent for and, on arrival, crawled through a small opening, which wasleft between the fallen stone and the side, until he reached Hall. He found him pinned by the legs, but otherwise safe. He put in two props to keep the roof, which was still very uneasy, from falling on him, and returned. Walker and Devenport then both crept in to Hall, and, while Devenport lifted the stonesfrom his legs, Walker dragged him out. Hall is a very heavy man, weighing seventeen stone. The rescue occupied one hour and five minutes, during the whole of which time the roof was working and threatening to fall into the small opening by which the rescue waseffected. Half an hour after the rescue it did so fall in. There can be no doubt that Walker and Devenport saved Hall’s life, and risked their own lives in so doing.