Samuel Crofts EM

b. 07/12/1891 Newhall, Derbyshire. d. 25/08/1956 Newhall, Derbyshire.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/09/1929 Bretby Colliery, Derbyshire.

Samuel Crofts EM

Samuel was the eldest of four children born to John Whalley and Emma Crofts (nee Head). Little is known about his early life, On Christmas Day 1914, he married Jane Lakin at St John’s, Newhall, Derbyshire, and they had seven children. Samuel worked down the mines for all of his working life, and stayed in Newhall. He died on 25th August 1956 aged 64 and was buried in St John’s Churchyard, Newhall. Jane outlived him by twenty years, passing away in 1976.



On the llth September, 1929, two men, Redfern and Hardwick, were filling coal with other men at the Bretby Colliery, South Derbyshire, and were warned to leave their work as a shot was about to be fired near the place where they were working. As they were doing so about 10 tons of roof fell and buried Redfern and Hardwick. Deputy Crofts and others at once tried, at great personal risk, to release the entrapped men. Although further falls were taking place, Crofts remained at work for twenty minutes trying to rescue Redfern until a further large fall of about 100 tons occurred and killed Redfern. Crofts was knocked down and bruised by this fall but he returned to the work of rescue and only gave up the attempt when he had crawled under the fall and had satisfied himself that Redfern was dead. While Crofts was trying to release Redfern, Gough and others were attempting to free Hardwick. At great personal risk they removed the fallen coal from Hardwick’s head and shoulders and placed over his body some covering timber which undoubtedly saved his life when the second large fall occurred. During these operations the rescuers were several times compelled to take shelter from the falling material, and it was only after two hours work of an exceedingly dangerous nature that they succeeded in rescuing Hardwick alive and in recovering the body of Redfern. Although all the rescue party showed great bravery and disregard for their own safety Crofts and Gough were recognised by their comrades to have been the most prominent in risking their lives.