b. 09/07/1880 Whitehaven, Cumberland. d. 08/1940 Whitehaven, Cumberland.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/05/1910 Wellington Pit, Whitehaven, Cumberland.
John was one of five children born to Bernard and Sarah Jane Quayle (nee Hill), born on 9th July 1880 in Whitehaven, Cumberland. His mother died when he was 15, and his father remarried, and he gained four half siblings. His father and his second wife would then go on to have two children of their own. John became a coal miner from a young age, and remained a miner all his life. John married Sarah Elizabeth Rothery, and they would have ten children. John died in Whitehaven, aged 60 in August 1940 and was buried in Whitehaven Cemetery.
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.
BURIAL LOCATION: WHITEHAVEN CEMETERY, WHITEHAVEN, CUMBERLAND.
WARD 5 SECTION O, GRAVE 111.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: BEACON MUSEUM, WHITEHAVEN, CUMBERLAND.