Joseph Johannes Venter EM

b. ? d. ?

DATE OF EM ACTION: 19/04/1915 Modderfontein, South Africa.

Little is known about the life of gold miner Joseph Johannes Venter other than his actions at the Modderfontein Gold Mine in South Africa on 19th April 1915.



On the 19th April, 1915, Thomas Reardon and Joseph Johannes Venter were carrying out blasting operations at the Government Gold Mining Areas (Modderfontein) Consolidated Mine, South Africa. Each man was working in a separate drive, and it was their practice to charge their shot holes (13 in number) and await the signal of a boy stationed at a point where the two drives joined, whereupon they lit their fuses and withdrew to the junction of the drives. On this occasion Venter duly received the signal and lit his fuses. On reaching the junction of the drives he heard a report in Reardon’s drive and was told by the boy that Reardon was still at his working place. He at once rushed down Reardon’s drive, through heavy fumes, and, after travelling about 250 feet, fell over Reardon’s body. He picked him up and carried him about 78 feet when two further shots exploded in Reardon’s place, knocking Venter down. Venter then dragged Reardon to the shelter of the wall and ran for help, returning in about two minutes with two or three men. As they entered the drive, further shots exploded. They went through the fumes and carried Reardon clear, but he died four days later.

In entering Reardon’s drive for the purpose of rescuing Reardon, when only one shot out of thirteen had exploded, and knowing that the remaining shots might (as in fact some of them did) explode at any moment, Venter undoubtedly risked his life to save Reardon.