George William Beaman GC (EM exchanger)

b. 25/07/1904 Eccleshall, Yorkshire. d. 13/07/1986 Inglewood, Perth, Australia.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 22/23/08/1935 South Kirkby, Yorkshire.

George William Beaman (1904-1986) was the fifth child of seven born to Thomas George and Flora Beaman (nee Knowles). He was born on 25th July 1904 in Eccleshall, near Sheffield, Yorkshire, and his father was a partner in Beaman Brothers furniture manufacturers. Following his education in Sheffield, he became a silversmith with W. Rodgers cutlery company. In 1924, he met his future wife, Ada Cracknell, at a fair. They married on 12th December 1925 in St Helens Church, Hemsworth, Yorkshire. They went on to have seven children though two sadly died in infancy.

George W Beaman GC

When he met his future wife Ada, George was planning to emigrate to Australia where other members of the Beaman family had settled since 1910. Following his marriage and the need to settle down in Hemsworth, he shelved the plans and looked for employment. As the main employers in the area were in the mining industry, he decided to become a miner, and worked his way up to Underground Manager.

On 22nd August 1935, he was working at South Kirkby Colliery, when two explosions occurred in a district 1.5 miles from the shaft. It was thought that these were due to a gob fire, and it was decided to seal off part of the district by erecting stoppings. At 3pm on the 23rd this work was in progress; there were 21 men in the district, some near the face and others, including George Beaman, at distances up to 100 years away. A further explosion occurred, injuring a number of the men. Beaman and two others at once proceeded to look for and help the injured and with the assistance of others ten men were carried out of the district alive, although only one survived. He later helped recover the body of Mr Dale who was lost in the mine. He also helped Norman Baster and James Pollitt find another man called Ball.

Following the incident, George along with James Pollitt and Norman Baster was awarded the Edward Medal and attended an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 15th July 1936. On 12th September 1939 George joined the RAF as a medical orderly and served until 1942 when he was called back to South Kirkby Colliery in a “reserved occupation”. He also joined the Home Guard. After the war, he finally decided to follow his dream of moving to Australia, and in 1948, the Beamans (George, Ada and four children) emigrated, where George gained employment in the building industry before retirement.

In 1971, George chose to exchange his Edward Medal for the George Cross, and donated his EM to Wakefield Museum in Yorkshire. George lived in retirement in Western Australia, before he passed away in Inglewood, near Perth, on 13th July 1986, a fortnight prior to what would have been his 82nd birthday. He was buried in Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth, and his widow was buried with him the following year. George’s GC, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45 and 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal are held proudly by the Beaman family.






Marion Hebblethwaite – Image of George Beaman GC.

Wakefield Museum – Image of Beaman’s Edward Medal.