b. 10/04/1893 Bolsover, Derbyshire. d. 06/10/1987 Doncaster, Yorkshire.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 20/11/1931 Bentley, Yorkshire.
Ernest Allport (1893-1987) was born in Bolsover, Derbyshire on 10th April 1893. He was the son of Thomas Harris Allport and his wife Sarah Gulley, who had married on the 17th November 1884 in Clowne on the outskirts of Derby. Allport was born into a large family, with six brothers and three sisters. After a short schooling, he left at just 13 to work in the mines.
He moved to Doncaster, South Yorkshire, where he met and married Grace Flint during the First World War in 1915. They went on to have 5 children themselves. Ernest was a member of the Mine’s Rescue Brigade at Bentley Colliery and was allowed as one of his duties to give morphine injections to any miner injured in an accident. It was a skill he was very good at and in great demand. Ernest did attempt to have private lessons to improve his education to try and become a pit manager but sadly he didn’t pass the written exams needed despite his working experience.
On 20th November 1931, he was involved in the horrific accident at Bentley Colliery which saw the deaths of 45 miners. Following the explosion, John Ward, the pony driver, who was near an adjacent part of the coal face, was blown off his feet and enveloped in a thick cloud of dust, but as soon as he recovered himself he went on his own initiative towards the face, guiding himself by rails and tubs, and assisted an injured man towards a place of safety. He repeatedly returned to the face and helped to free injured men and bring them away, and continued working for 3 hours until completely exhausted. Darker, Soulsby, Sykes and Yates also displayed great bravery and perseverance in extricating the injured and taking them to safety. They had to work in an atmosphere that was hot and vitiated, with the risk of further explosions. In fact, there were two more explosions in the mine.
Allport along with Edgar Frazer, Samuel Temperley and John Ward was awarded the Edward Medal in Silver, whilst four other men (Richard Darker, Oliver Soulsby, Frank Sykes and Philip Yates) were awarded the Edward Medal in Bronze. His investiture took place on 23rd February 1933.
Allport remained in the mines for the rest of his working life, until he retired on health grounds in 1956 due to a lung condition. He chose to exchange his Edward Medal alongside five other living recipients from the Bentley Colliery Disaster (sadly Ward and Frazer had passed away). They were re-invested with the George Cross on 14th November 1972. He donated his EM to the Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery.
On his retirement the family briefly moved to Filey, before returning to Doncaster, and then on to Bentley. He and his wife were keen gardeners and ballroom dancers in later life. Ernest lived to the age of 94, passing away on 6th October 1987 in Doncaster. He is buried in Arksey Cemetery, and his wife Grace was buried with him on her death in 1995 aged 99. Ernest’s GC is privately held.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: ARKSEY LANE CEMETERY, BENTLEY, DONCASTER, YORKSHIRE.
Kevin Brazier – Image of Ernest Allport GC’s grave in Arksey Lane Cemetery, Bentley, Yorkshire.