George Coleman EM

b. 30/03/1877 Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire.  d. 4th Quarter 1957 Bedwellty, Monmouthshire.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 08/03/1926 North Celynen Colliery, Monmouthshire.

George was born on 30th March 1877 in Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire, the eldest of five sons born to Albert and Mary J Coleman. His mother hailed from Somerset, and the family moved to Dunkerton, soon after she married Albert. Albert was a farm labourer, and from the age of 12, George being the eldest, was working down the coal mines to support the family. In 1902, George married Caroline Pope in Bedwellty, Monmouthshire, and they settled in Blackwood. There were no children in the marriage. George eventually moved from being a coal hewer, to become an ambulance man in the rescue services, which is how he became involved in the incident at North Celynen Colliery. He was severely injured in the roof fall, and took months to recover. George died in Bedwellty, Monmouthshire in 1957 aged 80.



On March 8th, 1926, in the course of operations at the North Ceiynen Colliery in Monmouthshire a fall of roof to the extent of twenty tons occurred almost completely burying two colliers who were at work. Efforts were made to erect timber supports over the buried men but great care and skill were necessary in order to avoid further falls. A second fall of five tons did, indeed, take place while Coleman, the District Ambulance man, was in the act of fixing a timber. He realised that this was essential to the protection of the buried men but remained to complete his task and was himself pinned down by the fall. He was released after being buried for ten minutes and a further fall of ten tons occurred. Coleman with the help of Graham, Cordey and three other men continued the work of rescue until Coleman was pinned down by a heap of earth, being so badly bruised that he could continue his task no longer. Both the buried men were eventually extricated alive but one of them unfortunately succumbed to his injuries. Coleman was undoubtedly the outstanding figure in the rescue work. His persistent courage certainly saved the life of one of the entombed men and contributed largely to the rescue of the other. His risked his own life for over six hours in the work of rescue and displayed exceptional skill and bravery in all he did. Graham and Cordey both exhibited courage of a very high order. Their lives were in constant danger from the continuous falls and in addition to their bravery they gave a remarkable exhibition of coolness and determination.