William Humphries EM

b. ? d. ?

DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/02/1922 South Kirkby Colliery, near Barnsley, Yorkshire.

Very little can be determined about the life of Colliery Deputy William Humphries other than his actions at the South Kirkby Colliery near Barnsley, Yorkshire on 11th February 1922.



On February llth, 1922, a workman named Creighton, employed in a seam of the South Kirkby Colliery, Yorkshire, was completely buried by a fall of roof. Several miners who were at work near the spot came to the rescue, among them Humphries and Smith. The imprisoned man’s head and shoulders were soon freed, but owing to the pressure of debris on the lower part of his body and legs it was impossible to pull him clear, while, so fast as earth was removed, more slipped down in its place. The rescue party placed sleepers across the body of the imprisoned man, thus preventing his being completely engulfed by the debris, and eventually a passage was made under the sleepers over Creighton’s body, which was unhurt, with the exception of one foot, which was firmly pinned down by a large stone. The foot was eventually released and the man freed after eight and a half hours’ work.

All the men who took part in the rescue were exposed to great risk for a prolonged period, and behaved with great gallantry and devotion to duty, but Humphries and Smith were unanimously selected by their comrades as having specially distinguished themselves.