Matthew Robson Wilson EM

b. ? 1888 Whitehaven, Cumberland.  d. ?

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

Matthew was born in 1888 in Whitehaven, Cumberland, the son of John and Mary Wilson (nee Robson). His father worked in the coal mines as a pit joiner. Matthew soon decided to join his father down the mines, and in 1906 he married Margaret Cape Lindsay in Whitehaven. At the time of the 1910 fire which led to the award of the Edward Medal, he and Margaret were living at 11 Back Row in Whitehaven with their three young children – Janet, Matthew and John. Little else has been traced of his life after the incident at Wellington Colliery.



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.