Matthew Thompson GC (EM non-exchanger)

b. 24/01/1898 Bishop Auckland, County Durham. d. 19/04/1981 Doncaster, Yorkshire.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 03/01/1940 Askern, Yorkshire.

Matthew Thompson (1898-1981) was born on 24th January 1898 in Bishop Auckland, County Durham. He was the son of Matthew and Kate Thompson, and he attended school in the village of Etherley, before leaving at the age of 13 to work down the local mines. He married Margaret Alice Moore and they had two sons. Soon after his marriage the Thompsons moved to Yorkshire, where Matthew began work at Askern Colliery.

Matthew Thompson GC

On 3rd January 1940, at Askern, there was a roof fall and Charles Liversidge was buried. Charles Smith  and Matthew Thompson were on hand and at once started rescue work. The colliery agent, Mr Gwyn Morgan, arrived a few minutes later and took charge of the operation. They played a prominent part in the dangerous work of clearing away the debris. With great difficulty they cleared a way under the fall, and it was found Liversidge was completely buried except for his head and shoulders. His arms were pinned. All three men persevered in managing to free the man. All of them were awarded the Edward Medal with Morgan receiving the Silver and Thompson and Smith the Bronze.

In later life, Matthew became a JP, work as which saw him later awarded the British Empire Medal. He also became an Alderman of West Riding County Council, a role he held for over 30 years, and also served on his local Parish Council. In 1971, following the change to the Royal Warrant, he was given the opportunity to exchange his Edward Medal for a George Cross. Whereas Charles Smith accepted, Matthew chose to decline. After retiring from the mines, Matthew and his wife settled in Doncaster, where he died on 19th April 1981, aged 83. He was cremated at Pontefract Crematorium. His EM, BEM and 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal are privately held.