b. 24/11/1853 Bilston, Staffordshire. d. 07/05/1921 New Annesley, Nottinghamshire.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 19/08/1913 Annesley Colliery, near Nottingham.
Matthew was born on 24th November 1853 in Bilston, Staffordshire to Edward and Margaret Withers. He was baptised at Christ Church, Coseley on 11th December 1853. Little else is known about Matthew’s early life, He became a miner and married Sarah Gettings, and they went on to have seven children, though tragically their youngest child, Guy, died when he was just 7. Matthew became a coal mining deputy at the Annesley Colliery near to Nottingham, and he remained all of his working life at that pit. At the time of the rescue of William Broughton, Matthew was already 60 years old, which makes his feat even more remarkable. Matthew died on 7th May 1921 at his home in New Annesley at the age of 67.
On the 19th August, 1913, William Broughton, a dataller at the Annesley Colliery, near Nottingham, was engaged under the directions of Withers, who is a deputy, when a fall of roof took place and buried him. Withers, who was near at hand, heard the noise of the fall, and, being unable to reach the place, went round to the opposite side of the fall and managed to clear away the dirt with his hands until he reached Brpughton’s head, which he protected by placing a piece of timber across large stones. Another fall of roof then occurred, burying both men and extinguishing the lamp. Withers’ arms, fortunately, were free, and, being able to extricate himself, he started again to rescue Broughton. Though help had arrived in the meantime, there was only room for one man to work. Withers persisted in his efforts, in spite of the injuries he had himself received, and did not stop until he had uncovered his fellow workman sufficiently to admit of his being hauled to a place of safety. Withers was engaged in the work of rescue for about three-quarters of an hour, during which he ran great risk of being killed or severely injured by falls of roof. Had it not been, for his courage and determination, Broughton would probably have lost his life.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.