Percy Roberts Havercroft GC (EM exchanger)

b. 24/05/1883 Beighton, Derbyshire. d. 15/07/1976 Sheffield, Yorkshire.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 27/08/1915 Sheffield, Yorkshire.

Percy Roberts Havercroft (1883-1976) was born on the 24th May 1883 in Beighton, Derbyshire, the eldest child of George and Ada Mary Havercroft (nee Roberts). He had two younger siblings – Emily Anne and Archibald. George Havercroft worked for the railways as a clerk. Little is known of Percy’s schooling, but by 1901, he was working as a canvasser for a grocer and was living still in Beighton. On 27th July 1908 at St Mary’s Beighton, he married Florence Eileen Beck, and by 1911, he had begun a career in the mines (which would last 51 years) as a colliery carpenter at Waleswood Colliery, Sheffield.

Percy R Havercroft GC

On 27th August 1915, at Waleswood Colliery, a descending cage containing 10 men collided with an empty ascending cage. The impact was extremely violent, severely injuring all the men and breaking the winding ropes. The cages were, however, wedged together in the shaft so that neither of them fell to the bottom, though there was serious danger that they might do so at any moment. A hoppit manned by Havercroft, Albert Tomlinson and John Walker was at once sent down to effect the rescue of the trapped men. All the men were carried from the damaged cage along a girder to the hoppit, which made five descents altogether, the rescue taking two hours. During the whole of this time Havercroft, Tomlinson and Walker were exposed to great danger, either from the hoppit being upset by the winding ropes swinging in the shaft, or from the damaged cage breaking loose and falling down the shaft. Meanwhile, Edward Wingfield, one of the occupants of the descending cage, who had both legs fractured and had received a severe wound to his thigh and a wound to the head, seized hold of another man who had fallen half way through the bottom of the cage, and held on to him until he was rescued. During the whole time he displayed the greatest coolness and bravery, despite his own severe injuries.

Havercroft, Tomlinson, Walker and Wingfield were all awarded the Edward Medal for their actions. Percy continued to work at the pit, and in 1933, his wife Florence passed away. In 1936, he married Sarah Metcalfe and it is believed they had no children. He retired from the mines in the 1950s. In 1971, he decided to exchange his Edward Medal for the George Cross following a change in the Royal Warrant. Sadly, Tomlinson, Walker and Wingfield had all passed away and were unable to exchange. Percy died on 15th July 1976 in Sheffield and was buried with his first wife in Beighton Cemetery, Sheffield. His medals are not publicly held.




Section B, Row C, Grave 2