Robert Glendinning EM

b. ? 1874 Winlaton, County Durham.  d. ? 

DATE OF EM ACTION: 17/05/1929 South Garesfield Colliery, County Durham.

Robert was born in Winlaton, County Durham, the fourth of ten children of Robert and Alice Glendinning. His father was a general labourer who moved around a lot through Robert’s childhood. Robert became a general labourer like his father before deciding to become a miner. He worked in the mines for the rest of his life. At the time of the incident at South Garesfield Colliery, he was 55 years of age. Nothing else is known about Robert after the award of the Edward Medal.



On Friday, 17th May, 1929, about 4.30 p.m., a telephone message was received at the office of the South Garesfield Colliery, Durham, that Richard Lowes, one of the Colliery deputies, had been injured during blasting operations. Robert Glendenning, an overman, 55 years of age, who was in the office, at once set off. down the pit and, collecting two lads, James Sidney Purvis and John Thomas Baker, at the bottom of the shaft, and a tram and stretcher, went in search of Lowes. They were joined by two hewers, John Kenny and Samuel Hughff. Meanwhile, five other men had been trying to rescue Lowes. Four of them were overcome by carbon monoxide gas, while the fifth managed to crawl out just in time. It was on meeting this man some quarter of a mile from the scene of the accident that Glendenning realised the serious nature of the occurrence. He hurriedly organised his party and, by repeated efforts, they succeeded in extricating the five men who had been gassed. They were fortunately able to save the lives of two but the other three were found to be dead. The rescue party took such precautions as were possible at the time but first Kenny and then Hughff were rendered unconscious. After they had, with difficulty, been removed from the danger area Glendinning sent Purvis for further help and continued the rescue work with the assistance of Baker. Baker was next overcome, and Glendenning was also affected by the fumes, but he continued his efforts until, when further help had arrived, he was able to bring out the last of the victims of the accident. He then collapsed and had to be carried out from the pit. For an hour, during the whole of which time the atmosphere was thick with smoke and carbon monoxide gas, Glendenning showed great courage and resource and displayed high qualities of organisation in directing the rescue operations. He himself and Baker, Hughff, Kenny and Purvis under his leadership, knowingly and repeatedly risked their lives in determined and sustained efforts to save the lives of their fellows, and there is no doubt that, but for their courageous action the death roll would have been heavier than it was.