John George Cordey EM

b. 01/1885 Risca, Monmouthshire.  d. 1934 Crickhowell, Wales.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 08/03/1926 North Celynen Colliery, Monmouthshire.

John was the second of nine children born to Thomas and Mary Ann Cordey (nee Strickland). His siblings were Thomas, Delana, Mary Ann, Ivor, Trevor, James, Alfred and Arthur. The family lived in Aberillery, and John became a coal hewer from a young age. John was still living at home in 1911 at the age of 25, with his occupation still being that of a coal hewer. John married Elizabeth Michael in 1921 in Bedwellty. He died in Crickhowell in the summer of 1934, aged 49.



On March 8th, 1926, in the course of operations at the North Ceiynen Colliery in Monmouthshire a fall of roof to the extent of twenty tons occurred almost completely burying two colliers who were at work. Efforts were made to erect timber supports over the buried men but great care iind skill were necessary in order to avoid further falls. A second fall of five tons did, indeed, take place while Coleman, the District Ambulance man, was in the act of fixing a timber. He realised that this was essential to the protection of the buried men but remained to complete his task and was himself pinned down by the fall. He was released after being buried for ten minutes and a further fall of ten tons occurred. Coleman with the help of Graham, Cordey and three other men continued the work of rescue until Coleman was pinned down by a heap of earth, being so badly bruised that he could continue his task no longer. Both the buried men were eventually extricated alive but one of them unfortunately succumbed to his injuries. Coleman was undoubtedly the outstanding figure in the rescue work. His persistent courage certainly saved the life of one of the entombed men and contributed largely to the rescue of the other. His risked his own life for over six hours in the work of rescue and displayed exceptional skill and bravery in all he did. Graham and Cordey both exhibited courage of a very high order. Their lives were, in constant danger from the continuous falls and in addition to their bravery they gave a remarkable exhibition of coolness and determination.