Edward Colwell EM

b. ?  d. ?

DATE OF EM ACTION: 17/07/1918 Vickers River Don Works, Sheffield, Yorkshire. 

Very little is known about Edward Colwell, other than his actions above the Vickers River Don Works in Sheffield, Yorkshire.



On the 17th July, 1918, three men were ascending a steel chimney 175 feet high at Vickers’ River Don Works, Sheffield, for the purpose of fixing a scaffold in order to paint the exterior chimney. They ascended by means of iron rungs permanently bolted to the chimney, at distances of’ 12 inches throughout its height, by rivets bolted through the exterior casing of the chimney. The men were about 10 feet apart. When the topmost had reached a height of about 100 feet, one of the rungs supporting the second man broke away and he fell, in his fall breaking 10 other rungs beneath him and striking the third man, who, fortunately, managed to retain his hold and descend to the ground. The man who fell was killed instantaneously. The topmost man was left on the upper part of the ladder, 100 feet from the ground, with a gap of 10 feet below him preventing his descent. Although it was likely that many of the rungs below him were defective, Colwell and Lindley at once volunteered to rescue him. They ascended the rungs bearing the weight of a long wooden ladder with lifting and lashing tackle. In the course of the ascent they discovered another defective rung, which they easily wrenched out and threw to the ground. They nevertheless proceeded and lashed the wooden ladder against the chimney and across the gap, thus enabling the man, who was cut off by the gap, to descend to the ground.