Victor King EM

b. ? 1879 Witton le Wear, Durham.  d. 07/09/1956 Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

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

Victor King EM

Victor was the eighth of nine children born to Richard Trebble and Elizabeth King (nee Cuthbert). He grew up in different locations in the Durham area – Howden le Wear, Witton le Wear and North Bitchburn. From a young age he became a hewer down the coal mines, and spent his working life in that industry. In c. 1903 he married Mary Ann Jordan, and they had five children, one of whom, Richard Henry, would also be awarded the Edward Medal for their parts in the roof fall rescue at Hedley Pit, South Moor on 29th September 1930. By this time, Victor was now a Colliery Deputy, and his son was a hewer. Soon after this Victor fell on hard times, and just prior to the Second World War, he was unemployed. It is unclear why Victor eventually ended up heading south to Hertfordshire. His wife passed away in 1950, and he died at their home, 14 Lilac Road in Hoddesdon on 7th September 1956, aged 77.



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.