Thomas Henry Uren EM

b. 27/11/1871 Iveston, Durham. d. 15/03/1963 Durham.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 29/09/1930 Hedley Pit, South Moor, Durham.

Thomas Henry was one of five children born to Edwin and Elizabeth Ann Uren (nee Hollow) on 27th November 1871 in Iveston, Durham. He was baptised in Shotley Bridge on 15th January 1872. Thomas became a miner from a young age and the family moved to Stanley. He became a deputy underground, and on 31st August 1912, he married Elizabeth Jane Ward at St George’s Church, South Moor, where both of his parents were buried. He and Elizabeth Jane had five children, though sadly two of them died as infants. He was awarded the Edward Medal for his part in the rescue of Frederick Beaumont at Hedley Pit on 29th September 1930. Little is known about his life after the incident. His wife passed away in 1957, and he passed away himself on 15th March 1963 aged 91.



On the 29th September, 1930, a fall of roof occurred in the Hedley Pit, South Moor, County Durham, partially burying a hewer, Frederick Beaumont. A chargeman, Victor King, was the first to come to the rescue. He found that a small passage-way remained open by which the buried man might be reached and, with the assistance of his son Richard and John George Tarn, be immediately built two chocks of timber to keep it open. The passage was seven yards long and about two feet square and the only practicable method of rescue wasfor three men to crawl along the passage-way and lie full length, two in the passage-way and one over Beaumont’s body, and pass back, one at a time, the stones that were pinning him down.

This perilous and arduous work was carried on for nine hours by a team of miners (including Victor King) working in relays under the direction of the manager (Walter Robert Scott) and the under-manager (Robert Reed) until at last Beaumont was released, shaken but otherwise uninjured. During the whole nine hours the roof was shifting and “trickling” and on four occasions Beaumont was almost freed when a further fall buried him again. At one time the danger of a further fall appeared so great that the manager telephoned for a doctor (Dr. Charles James Brookfield Fox) to come to the pit to amputate Beaumont’s leg and so expedite his release. Fortunately — as it turned out — the doctor found it impossible to amputate in the restricted area in which Beaumont was confined, but he remained on the scene until Beaumont was rescued and examined and treated him before sending him to the surface. Shortly after Beaumont was extricated the whole of the tunnel collapsed.