Herbert John Golledge EM

b. 23/11/1882 Wellow, Somerset.  d. ? 1951 Norton, Somerset.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 25/02/1917 Braysdown Colliery, Peasdown, Somerset.

Herbert was born on 23rd November 1882, the sixth of eight children of James and Elizabeth Golledge (nee Bodley). He was baptised at the local parish church in Wellow on 31st December 1882. His father worked as a coal miner at the nearby Braysdown Colliery, near Bath. By 1901, Herbert was a general labourer and was supporting his widowed mother living at 34 The New Inn, Wellow. He married Julia and they had four children. Soon after their marriage he was working as a carter on his mother’s farm. After his mother’s death, he began working in the mines, and was awarded the Edward Medal in 1917 for his actions at Braysdown Colliery.

For his act of gallantry Herbert was awarded the Edward Medal, which meant that he would have to make his first ever trip to London.  The presentation was to take on a Saturday morning at Buckingham Palace. Herbert had travelled up to London on the Friday evening and spent the night within earshot of a German bombing raid. On the Saturday morning he was at the Home Office at 9.30, and accompanied by the prominent officials walked across to Buckingham Palace where the ceremony took place shortly after 10 o’clock. His Majesty fastened the Edward Medal to his coat, highly complimented him upon the plucky deed that had earned him that distinction, and warmly shook hands with him.

Back at home, a reception was held at Shoscombe School at which the workmen at Braysdown colliery, and the owner of the Colliery (Mr F.B. Beauchamp) had subscribed to make a presentation to him. The gifts consisted of a gold watch, and a cheque for six guineas. The watch was engraved: “Presented to Mr Herbert Golledge, by the owner and workmen of Braysdown Colliery, for bravery in climbing 80 yards down the shaft to the rescue of Mr George Weeks, the under manager, March 5th 1917“. Little else is known of his life, though he was still working in the mines in 1939. He died in 1951, aged 68.



On the 25th February, 1917, George Weeks, Under Manager of the Braysdown Colliery, near Bath, was ascending the shaft when the cage struck a water pipe which had become unfastened and was projecting from the shaft. The pipe pierced the roof of the cage and severely injured Weeks, at the same time preventing the cage from ascending. Golledge was working at a level about halfway down the shaft, which is 608 yards in depth, and about eighty yards above the point at which the accident occurred. Hearing Weeks’s moans, he at once got into the shaft and climbed down to the cage by means of the buntons, or girders, which run horizontally round the shaft. Golledge lowered himself from one bunton to the next, the distance between the buntons being on an average 5 feet, or in some cases 6 feet. On reaching the cage, Golledge rendered first aid to Weeks, and remained with him until the cage could be liberated and brought to the surface, a period of about two hours.