b. ? 1875 Knaresborough, Yorkshire. d. 12/1938 Durham.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 29/09/1930 Hedley Pit, South Moor, County Durham.
James was the second of seven children born to Thomas and Mary Kent. After a childhood spent in Yorkshire, where he was born, the family moved to Lanchester, Durham, sometime prior to 1891. James followed his father into the mining industry and eventually became a colliery deputy overman. He married Elizabeth and they don’t appear to have had any children. James and Elizabeth lived at 51 Elm Street in South Moor close to the Hedley Pit, where he risked his life to save Frederick Beaumont on 29th September 1930.
On the 29th September, 1930, a fall of roof occurred in the Hedley Pit, South Moor, County Durham, partially burying a hewer, Frederick Beaumont. A chargeman, Victor King, was the first to come to the rescue. He found that a small passage-way remained open by which the buried man might be reached and, with the assistance of his son Richard and John George Tarn, be immediately built two chocks of timber to keep it open. The passage was seven yards long and about two feet square and the only practicable method of rescue wasfor three men to crawl along the passage-way and lie full length, two in the passage-way and one over Beaumont’s body, and pass back, one at a time, the stones that were pinning him down.
This perilous and arduous work was carried on for nine hours by a team of miners (including Victor King) working in relays under the direction of the manager (Walter Robert Scott) and the under-manager (Robert Reed) until at last Beaumont was released, shaken but otherwise uninjured. During the whole nine hours the roof was shifting and “trickling” and on four occasions Beaumont was almost freed when a further fall buried him again. At one time the danger of a further fall appeared so great that the manager telephoned for a doctor (Dr. Charles James Brookfield Fox) to come to the pit to amputate Beaumont’s leg and so expedite his release. Fortunately — as it turned out — the doctor found it impossible to amputate in the restricted area in which Beaumont was confined, but he remained on the scene until Beaumont was rescued and examined and treated him before sending him to the surface. Shortly after Beaumont was extricated the whole of the tunnel collapsed.
BURIAL LOCATION: STANLEY NEW CEMETERY, STANLEY, COUNTY DURHAM.
SECTION 13 GRAVE 428.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.