Henry Charles Hamblin EM

b. 05/06/1897 Coleford, Somerset.  d. 04/04/1963 Keynsham, Somerset.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 10/11/1928 Mells Colliery, Somerset.

Henry C Hamblin EM

Harry was born on 5th June 1897, one of nine children of Charles and Ellen Hamblin (nee West). His father was a master butcher for the Co-op at Radstock Market. The family lived in Ivy Cottage, Coleford Green, before later moving to Edford, Holcombe, near Bath. In 1920 he married Mabel Ellen King in Frome, and they had a daughter, Mary Joyce Hamblin, born in 1923, and a son in 1925.  

Harry worked in the Mells Colliery alongside his brother Arthur, whose life he saved whilst working on the seam on 10th November 1928. Arthur suffered a broken neck and several other severe injuries in the accident. It was believed it would be unlikely he would walk again, though he beat the odds. Harry also found that he was unable to return to the mines and eventually moved to Bristol in 1938, where he and Mabel began a fish and chip shop business. Sadly, in 1941 during the heavy Good Friday Luftwaffe bombing raid on the city, Harry’s home and business was destroyed. The tragedy would not end there, as in 1944, whilst serving with the Grenadier Guards in Holland, his son was killed in action, aged just 19.

Harry restarted his fish and chip business, firstly in Bath, then back in Bristol. He died on 4th April 1963 in Keynsham Hospital, aged 65.



On the 10th November, 1928, Henry Charles Hamblin and his brother Arthur Albert Hamblin, colliers, were working in a seam at Mells Colliery, Somerset, when at about 9.40 a.m. the supporting, timbers suddenly gave way and there was a fall of the roof. Arthur Hamblin was caught by the falling debris and was pinned by the right foot. In struggling to extricate himself a further fall occurred burying him to the waist. Henry Hamblin, on hearing the fall, immediately ran to the scene of the accident and tried to free his brother but could not do so. A further fall buried Arthur Hamblin up to his shoulders. Henry Hamblin shouted for help, but, being unable to make anyone hear, he was forced to leave his brother and go for assistance. On his return he found his brother almost buried. As the roof continued to fall, Henry crouched over, his brother’s head to shield him and remained in that position for some twenty minutes until assistance came and a temporary covering of timber was erected over his brother’s head. He knowingly exposed himself to considerable danger and himself received severe bruises while shielding his brother with his own body from the falling stones. His gallant conduct probably saved his brother’s life.