James Dally EM

b. 14/05/1863 Leominster, Herefordshire.  d. 05/11/1942 Risbury, Herefordshire.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 28/10/1914 Crumlin Viaduct, Wales.

James Dally EM

James was born on 14th May 1863 in Leominster. Herefordshire, the middle of three children, born to William and Eliza Dally (nee Sirrell). By the time James was 18, the family had moved to South Wales, and were living in the St Woolos area of Newport. In 1889, he married Olive Elizabeth Hill in Newport, and they had a daughter Bertha Mary Elizabeth (born 1891) and a son Henry James (born 1900). James began working for the Great Western Railway as a bridgeman. He was awarded the Edward Medal for his part in the rescue on the Crumlin Viaduct in 1914, and received his medal from King George V at Buckingham Palace on 12th July 1915. He and his family moved back to Leominster following his retirement. In January 1939, his wife passed away. On 5th November 1942 he died at his home, Rose Cottage, in Risbury, near Leominster, aged 79.



On the 28th of October, 1914, two workmen were engaged in painting the Crumlin Viaduct on the Great Western Railway, on a staging 175 feet above the ground, when a piece of timber forming one of the horizontal supports of the staging broke. One of the men fell to the ground and was killed on the spot; the second man succeeded in gripping an iron stretcher forming part of the bridge. Dally, who was standing on the gangway of the bridge at the time of the accident, went to the man’s assistance, crawling along the diagonal bracingsbetween the booms of the girders, and persuaded him to swing his legs until they came within reach. He then instructed the man to move his hands gradually nearer, and in the end succeeded in drawing him into safety on the gangway. The man would probably have lost his life had it not been for the courage and presence of mind shown by Dally. These Medals were presented by His Majesty the King at Buckingham Palace on the 12th July, 1915.