Henry Merritt EM

b. ? 1854 Baptist End, Worcestershire. d. ? 1921 Cannock, Staffordshire. 

DATE OF EM ACTION: 14/12/1911 Cannock Chase Colliery, Staffordshire.

Henry was born in Baptist End, Dudley, Worcestershire in 1854, the second of at least five children born to George and Ann Merritt. He married Elizabeth and they had two sons (Henry and David) and a daughter (Jessie). He spent his entire working career in the coal mines. He died in 1921 in Cannock, aged 67. 



An underground fire broke out, on the 14th December, 1911, in the intake airway of the No. 9 Cannock Chase Colliery, which rendered necessary the withdrawal of all the workmen. Most of the men, including Merritt and Stokes, reached the shaft safely, but it was found that five were still in the pit. Merritt went with Stokes, to their rescue, and penetrated 800 yards along the return airway, in spite of the smoke, which was rapidly increasing in density, and found the men. One of them got out by holding on to Merritt, but the other four were suffocated, and Stokes also lost his life. Merritt did not at first discover that the other men had not followed him, and when he became aware of this he made two further attempts to reach them, but was finally driven back by the smoke, and reached the surface in an exhausted condition.