(Henry) William Birch EM

b. 28/08/1880 Coleorton, Leicestershire.  d. 3rd Quarter 1951 Coalville, Leicestershire.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 14/12/1910 Coleorton Colliery, Leicestershire.

William, who was born Henry William, was born on 28th August 1880 in Coleorton, Leicestershire, and from an early age began work at the Coleorton Colliery as a collier. He married Bertha and they had five children, Bertha, William Henry, Arthur, Ethel and Dorothy. By 1939 he was living in Coalville with his two youngest children. He died in Coalville aged 70 in 1951.



On the 14th December, 1910, Charles Marshall and William Birch were engaged at the Coleorton Mine, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, on repairing work, when a fall took place. Birch quickly extricated himself and set about releasing Marshall. Whilst he was so engaged another fall took place, covering the two men nearly up to the armpits. Again Birch extricated himself, but Marshall, who was evidently pinned by some large stone or stones, could not do so, and again Birch endeavoured to release him at imminent risk to himself, as another fall might take place at any moment. He had nearly released Marshall when a third fall occurred, completely covering Marshall and partly fastening Birch about the legs. Birch called to another workman (Witham), who was on his way from the coal face, and they both set about releasing Marshall, but a fourth fall taking place, Witham went for further help, whilst Birch still endeavoured to release Marshall. Witham and others returned about five minutes later, and, after about half an hour, Marshall was extricated quite dead.