Joseph Samuel Clayton EM

b. 03/03/1913 Warwickshire. d. 27/03/1971 Atherstone, Warwickshire.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 12/07/1945 Polesworth, Warwickshire.

Joseph Clayton was born in Atherstone, Warwickshire on 3rd March 1913, his mother’s maiden name was Baxter. From an early age, Joseph became a coal hewer. He married Sarah and they had two sons, Joseph and John. Little else is known about Joseph other than that he died on 27th March 1971, aged 58 at his home in Grendon Road, Atherstone.



On the 12th July, 1945, during ripping operations at the Pooley Hall Colliery, Polesworth, Warwickshire, a heavy fall of roof completely buried a ripper, Kenneth Head. Prompt efforts by Tom Jackson, a deputy, and Joseph Samuel Clayton, another ripper, resulted in the buried man’s head being released; he was alive and conscious though held quite fast by the fallen material. To release Head it was necessary for the rescuer to make a very restricted passage about 20 inches square through the broken material in order to prevent him from being suffocated. The support of this excavation was necessarily very improvised and did not prevent small material from running through the supports into the opening, thereby hampering the work and endangering Jadkson and Clayton. At one point in the rescue the man’s head was again covered and Clayton, partially fastened, had to be released. The man’s head was again uncovered and the task of keeping it so was performed at great risk. Eventually by patient and piecemeal removal of the whole of the debris which covered him Head was released. The rescue, pursued as it was through 7 hours continuous effort in most dangerous and trying circumstances, was one of untiring and selfless endeavour to save the life of a fellow workman. Unfortunately ‘Kenneth Head, who ihad displayed great courage and fortitude throughout the time he was entrapped, during which he must have been in great pain, died five days later as a result of shock.