John James Fearon EM

b. 26/11/1868 Whitehaven, Cumberland.  d. 16/03/1953 Whitehaven, Cumberland.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/05/1910 Wellington Colliery, Whitehaven, Cumberland.

John was born on 26th November 1868 in Whitehaven, the eldest of five children born to Edward and Alice Fearon, who resided at 2 Johnston Court. His siblings were called Edward, Elizabeth, James and Peter. In 1891, John married Ann Jane Taylor in Whitehaven, and they moved to the Preston Quarter of the town, closer to the Wellington Colliery where John was working at a Colliery Overman. They would have four children – Jacob, John (who died as an infant), Norah and Annie.  By 1911 they had moved to 16 North Row in Kells, Whitehaven. Following the award of the Edward Medal, John continued to work at Wellington Colliery until the mid 1930s, when he retired. In 1939, his wife passed away, and John as a widower, lived with his married daughter Annie and her husband Christopher Warbrick. John died on 16th March 1953 in Whitehaven, aged 84 and was buried with his wife in Whitehaven Cemetery. His daughter Norah was later buried with them in 1984.



On the 11th May, 1910, a terrible fire occurred in the Wellington Pit, Whitehaven, at a point about 4,500 yards from the shafts. Various rescue parties, with great courage and self-devotion and at considerable risk, descended the mine and endeavoured to extinguish the fire and penetrate to the persons in the workings beyond the same. Thorne and Littlewood, fitted with breathing apparatus, reached within a distance of 150 yards of the fire, but were driven back by the great heat and effusion of gases. The others got to within about 300 yards of the fire, working in the smoke backing from the fire. It was found impossible to penetrate to the scene of the fire or to rescue any of the entombed miners. Had an explosion occurred — a by no means unlikely eventuality, seeing that the mine is a very gassy one — they would undoubtedly all have been killed. Special gallantry was shown by John Henry Thorne, to whom the Edward Medal of the First Class has already been awarded, and by James Littlewood.



Ward 6 – Section H – Grave 596