John Edwin Chambers EM

b. 1856 Tinsley, Yorkshire.  d. 3rd Q 1930 Ecclesall Bierlow, Sheffield.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 09/07/1912 Cadeby Main Colliery, near Doncaster, Yorkshire.

John E Chambers EM

John Edwin Chambers was born in 1856 in Tinsley, Yorkshire, the second of seven children born to Henry and Hephizah Chambers. His father, who hailed from Nottinghamshire, was a Colliery Manager, and from a young age both John and his elder brother William were working in the mines as engineers. In the summer of 1883, in Rotherham, John married Helen McGregor, and they had a son Douglas, born in 1885. John became the Colliery Manager at the Cadeby Main Colliery near Doncaster, and was 56 years of age when he saved the lives of several miners, which earned him the Edward Medal 2nd Class (Mines). He and Helen were then living at Brampton House, West Melton, near Rotherham. He died in Sheffield in 1930, aged 75.



On the 9th July, 1912, two disastrous explosions occurred in the South Workings of the Cadeby Main Colliery, near Doncaster, originating at the coal face and spreading along the roads for distances of nearly half a mile. H. Hulley and G. Fisher were among the first to explore the affected districts after each of the explosions. They assisted in attending to and removing the injured, and also in building stoppings to shut off the dangerous areas, in spite of the constant risk of further explosions and falls. Altogether Fisher was in the pit for about 12 hours and Hulley even longer, and, as both men were experienced pitmen, they were well aware of the imminent risk to their lives that they ran during the whole time. Their great courage and tenacity render their conduct conspicuous even among the many brave actions performed in connection with the disaster. J. E. Chambers went down into the pit after the second explosion, immediately explored one of the roads near the point of origin alone, and was the probable means of saving two lives; he afterwards went through the district to assist in withdrawing all men from the workings. W. H. Prince helped to organise rescue parties and assisted in saving life by the use of apparatus. With great presence of mind, and at much risk to himself, he personally extinguished a fire which occurred while he was so engaged, and afterwards he helped to build the stoppings.

Herbert Williamson superintended the rescue work in some of the roads after the first explosion. A fall caused by the second explosion prevented him from making any progress for a time; but he got together a body of men to clear a way over it, and then continued the work of rescue. He also returned to the affected roads by himself after the third explosion. Sergeant Winch went with his brigade into the workings after the first explosion to help in the rescue work; he was knocked down by the second explosion, but proceeded inwards and assisted in saving lives by the use of his apparatus. He displayed great coolness in dealing with a fire, which broke out in one of the roads, and in keeping his men together to continue the work. All these men displayed great courage and set a splendid example in the face of the disaster. Throughout their work the risk of a further explosion sweeping through the district was always present, and falls and fires were occurring in many places.