Thomas Pearson Fleming EM

b. 1892 Benwell, Northumberland. d. 1953 Newcastle upon Tyne.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 23/04/1930 United Steel Companies, Workington, Cumberland.

Thomas Pearson Fleming was born in 1892 in Benwell, Northumberland, the son of Thomas Pearson and Elizabeth Henderson Fleming (nee Binney). He was baptised at St Aidan’s Church, Benwell on 17th February 1892. Thomas grew up in the Newcastle upon Tyne area, where his parents had met and married. In 1916, he married Mary Ethel Dance Jobson in Newcastle upon Tyne. They had a son Thomas Pearson Fleming born later that year. Little else is known about Thomas whose working life was spent as a charge hand. It is believed he died in 1953 in Newcastle upon Tyne.



On the 23rd April, 1930, Thomas Brewis was engaged on painting a chimney 163 feet high at the Derwent Works of the United Steel Companies Ltd., Workington, when he was seen to fall backwards, apparently unconscious, and to be hanging head downwards at a height of about 150 feet. Luckily, as he fell, his feet had become entangled and were held in the ropes of the bosun’s chair in which he had ascended. On observing Brewis’ position, the charge-hand, Fleming, who was stationed on a gantry surrounding the chimney about 80 feet from its base, immediately secured the rope on which Brewis’ chair was suspended and, climbing a vertical iron ladder fixed to the chimney, supported the body of Brewis, who was still unconscious. Meanwhile, Whitehead, a painter’s labourer aged 17 years, ascended the ladder from the gantry and placed a safety belt around Brewis. Fleming and Whitehead then lifted Brewis into the bosun’s chair and secured him there by the hook of the safety belt. In doing so, Fleming’s body was inclined at an angle of about 60 degrees to the vertical ladder. Fleming and Whitehead then came down the ladder steadying and supporting Brewis while the chair was lowered by other workmen to the gantry. Both Fleming and Whitehead incurred serious risks and displayed conspicuous gallantry and resource in effecting the successful rescue of Brewis.