Thomas Smith EM

b. ? d. ?

DATE OF EM ACTION: 28/02/1916 Ireland Colliery, Staveley, Derbyshire.

Little is known about stallman Thomas Smith surrounding his actions at Ireland Colliery on 28th February 1916. For their gallantry the five rescuers were invested with their Edward Medals by H.M. the King at Buckingham Palace on 11 July 1916; they were also each awarded £20, and a framed certificate, from the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust.



On the 28th February 1916, at 7:00 a.m., a fall of roof occurred at the Ireland Colliery, by which a filler named John William Fieldsend was imprisoned. Gregory, Franklin, Hudson, Nurse, and Smith at once set to work to open a passage through the fallen roof in order to rescue their fellow workman. The roof was everywhere very uneasy and a further fall was liable to occur at any moment. Owing to the narrowness of the place, only one man could work at the head of the passage (the most dangerous place), while the remaining four, one behind the other, passed out the material removed, the men taking by turns the post of danger. After about three hours’ work, at 10:00 a.m. a further fall occurred, closing the passage which had been made for three yards. Fortunately the workers escaped without injury. Work was at once resumed, and Fieldsend was reached. As soon, however, as an attempt was made to remove him from under a piece of timber, by which he was pinned down, a third fall occurred, blocking up the passage for about four yards, and displacing much of the timber which had been used to prop up the roof and walls of the passage as it was made. Finally, at 5:00 p.m., after 10 hours’ continuous work, Fieldsend was reached and taken out of the pit. He was not much injured. All five men ran continuous risk, during the whole 10 hours, of serious injury or death from falls of roof.