Henry Saunders EM

b. ? 1876 Llangattock, Breconshire, Wales. d. ?

DATE OF EM ACTION: 30/09/1912 Sirhowy, Wales.

Henry was the third of five children born to Philip and Ann Saunders, and he grew up in Breconshire. By the age of 15, Henry had joined both of his older brothers in working down the mines. They had not followed in their father’s footsteps as his profession was labourer. In 1900 he married Rosannah and they had two daughters, Annie and Florence. The family lived in Ebbw Vale close to the mine where Henry worked in Sirhowy.



On the 30th September, 1912, Thomas Richards and a man named Jones were repairing an air road by taking down a low portion of the roof, known to miners as a bridge. The bridge was about 10 feet long and nearly 12 feet thick, and at one end of it the road below was nearly blocked by fallen debris. In order to do his work, Richards made a small hole in the debris, and went through it; but, as he was returning, a piece fell and pinned his feet in the hole. His mate sent for the overman, Henry Saunders. Alexander Griffiths followed, and others were soon on the spot. Griffiths and Saunders went under the bridge and tried to take away the stone that was holding Richards; but a further fall of about 5 tramloads of debris completely buried him, and Griffiths and Saunders narrowly escaped the fall. Notwithstanding this indication of danger, the two men bravely went again under the bridge, working one behind the other in the small space available. Before they could get Richards out, signs of further movement of stone warned them to retreat, and the whole bridge, weighing about 20 tons, fell in. All present then started to work down through the fall to Richards, who was nine feet away, and eventually they got him out alive.