b. 21/05/1892 Leicestershire. d. 17/08/1955 Ticknall, Derbyshire.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 17/08/1955 Ticknall, Derbyshire.
Little is known about Thomas Wileman, who was born in Leicestershire on 21st May 1892. He was the second of seven children born to James and Elizabeth Wileman (nee Bishop). It is believed that he began his working life in the coal mines, and by 1939 was living and working in the Ashby de la Zouch area. His occupation was listed as colliery roadman. By the time of the incident which cost him and Dr Mark Baker their lives, he had became a bricklayer’s labourer, and was still living in Ashby. He never married.
About 8.30 on the morning of .the 17!th August, 1955, two workmen, William Ward and Thomas Wileman, arrived at a farm near Ticknall in Derbyshire, to continue pumping out foul water from a well; a small pump driven by a petrol engine had been placed on a platform 40 feet down the well a few days before and had been set in motion. Ward went down the well but was rapidly overcome by the fumes from the pump and his mate Wileman, after shouting for help, went down the well to his aid but was also overcome. Shortly afterwards Dr. Mark Gregory Baker of Ashby de la Zouch arrived on the farm in response to a telephone call from a neighbour for help. Tying a rope round his waist and giving one end to two women to hold, he descended the well to a distance of about 25 feet but beginning to be overcome by the fumes he shouted to be hauled up. Unfortunately the rope became entangled with the cross supports of the well ladder some 20 feet below the surface and he could not be got out until members of the Derbyshire and Leicestershire fire services arrived about 9 o’clock with breathing apparatus. Dr. Baker’s body was recovered and artificial respiration applied but was unsuccessful; the other two men were dead before their bodies were extricated. Both Thomas Wileman and Mark Gregory Baker were aware of the risk they ran in going down a deep well at the foot of which a petrol driven pump had been running and the courage of each was of the highest order.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.
Allan Stanistreet – Image of Thomas Wileman AM.