Richard Edward Finch EM

b. 01/04/1886 Pemberton, Lancashire.  d. 03/03/1962 Wigan, Lancashire.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 29/01/1919 Park Lane Colliery, Wigan, Lancashire.

Richard Edward, the third of six children, was born on 1st April 1886 in Pemberton, Lancashire, to Richard and Alice Finch (nee Oliver). He was baptised at St John the Divine Church in Pemberton on 2nd May 1886. His siblings were Ann, Elizabeth, James, Arthur and Frank. From a young age, Richard was employed in mining, and the family suffered tragedy when one of his younger brothers Arthur died in 1908 aged just 15. In the summer of 1910, Richard married Mary Dean in Wigan, and they would have a son, Arthur (born in 1911), and presumably named in his brother’s memory. Richard became a Under Manager at the Park Lane Colliery in Wigan where he would be awarded the Edward Medal for his actions on 29th January 1919.  In later life, Richard lived with his wife at 674 Warrington Road in Wigan. Richard died on 3rd March 1962 at his home in Warrington Road, and left £951 in his will to his widow Mary.



On the 29th January, 1919, at 4.30 p.m., two men named Shaw and Rammer were replacing some timber near a self-acting haulage rope. The roof crashed down over their heads, burying both men. Nothing was done to rescue them until Finch arrived at 5 p.m. He shouted, and Shaw answered in a feeble voice. Finch crept over the fallen bars and was able to touch him. By dint of effort he was able to scrape the dirt from Shaw’s mouth and saved him from suffocation. He called for volunteers to assist in digging out the men and three men came to his assistance. Stones and dirt continued to fall from the roof, and on several evasions Finch ordered his assistants back; though during the whole time he himself continued his exertions. Shaw was rescued at 5.30 p.m. Finch then endeavoured to rescue Rimmer, but he was found to be dead. His body was recovered at 6.30 p.m. Finch underwent great danger, and took risks no one else was willing to take.