James Joseph Leach EM

b. 20/01/1876 Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire. d. 21/10/1940 Bedwellty, Monmouthshire.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 18/05/1912 Markham Colliery, Tredegar, Monmouthshire.

James was the third of eight children born to Edward Davies and Mary Ann Leach (nee Gough), and was raised in Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire. His father hailed from Hereford, and his mother was a native of Ebbw Vale, and after their eldest child was born in Hereford, they moved permanently to South Wales, where the remaining children were born. Edward Leach was a painter by trade, but his sons, including James didnt follow in his footsteps and began work in the local mines. On 14th April 1900, James married Mary Ann Walters in Rhymney, Monmouthshire. They went on to have three children, a son and two daughters. At the time of his Edward Medal action, he was working as an engine fitter at the Markham Colliery. Little is known of his life following the investiture, though he remained in the mining industry. He died in Bedwellty, Monmouthshire on 21st October 1940, aged 64.



On the 18th of May last an explosion of firedamp occurred at one of the pits which was in process of sinking at the Markham Colliery, Tredegar, and resulted in the death of five men. At the time of the explosion two men were down the shaft, which was then full of afterdamp. A rescue party was organised, consisting of the men above-mentioned, who descended the shaft, and after an hour’s work reached the pump lodge room at a depth of 350 yards from the surface, where they found a man named Snashall, who was badly burned. After some difficulty they managed to get Snashall into the bucket, in which he was safely raised to the surface. All the rescuers were equipped with breathing apparatus, but Mr. Wooley had not previously worn it.