Wilfred Beasley EM

b. 1894 Lancashire.  d. 1967 Prescot, Lancashire.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 16/11/1946 Widnes, Lancashire.

Wilfred Beasley EM
Medal Group

Beasley was also presented with the Daily Herald Order of Industrial Heroism at Widnes, 23.1.1947. He received a certificate and medal from the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society; and his Managing Director presented him with a gold watch, and his wife with a cheque. Little else is known about his life.



On the 16th November, 1946, an explosion, followed by fire, occurred in the ferro-mixing department of High Speed Alloys, Limited, Widnes. In this department there is a platform above the row of mixers; the charges are introduced into the mixers by tipping from steel barrows into hopper openings on the platform; the barrows are lifted from the floor position on the platform by an overhead crane, the base of the cabin of which passes about six feet above the hoppers. At the time of the accident Edward Nolan aged 17 was driving the crane and was in the act of hoisting a barrow of Wolframite when a sheet of flame shot out from the hopper, enveloping the cabin and setting fire to his clothing. He attempted to move the crane back to an access platform at the end of the shop but the crane stopped a few feet short. Intense thermit reaction went on inside the mixer; the temperature of such a reaction is estimated at between 2,000-3,000 degrees centrigrade. The room speedily filled with smoke and everything in the neighbourhood of the mixer was set on fire.

Wilfred Beasley, aged 53, a process chargehand, realising that the charge mixer had exploded, and fearing for the safety of other workmen, rushed into the mixing room only to be driven back by fire and fumes. He re-entered the building through a side door and hearing cries for help groped his way to the approach ladder leading to the crane landing stage. At the fourth attempt he succeeded in reaching the landing stage some 15 feet from the ground and by holding on to a support by one hand succeeded in locating the crane cabin, which with a considerable effort he pulled to within two feet of its berth. He found Nolan in the cabin and with great difficulty managed to bring him halfway down the approach ladder, when frantic with his injuries Nolan struggled violently and fell, being caught by someone at the base of the ladder. Apart from the risk of falling which was intensified by dense smoke, there was also the risk of burns; the rescuer was exposed to danger for a period of about 10 minutes, and was temporarily overcome when he reached the ground.

Nolan died later in hospital of his injuries. At the inquest the Coroner complimented Beasley on his gallant action.





Spink & Son – Image of the Beasley EM medal group.