William James Mulholland EM

b. 1890 Whitehaven, Cumberland. d. ?

DATE OF EM ACTION: 11/05/1910 Wellington Colliery, Whitehaven, Cumberland.

William was born in the summer of 1890 in Whitehaven, the youngest of five children born to John and Grace Mulholland (nee Knowles). From a young age, he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a hewer at the Wellington Colliery, Whitehaven. William was just 20 when the terrible fire occured at the Colliery on 11th May 1910, and was still living with his parents. There is little trace of William after the incident at the colliery.



On the 11th May, 1910, a terrible fire occurred in the Wellington Pit, Whitehaven, at a point about 4,500 yards from the shafts. Various rescue parties, with great courage and self-devotion and at considerable risk, descended the mine and endeavoured to extinguish the fire and penetrate to the persons in the workings beyond the same. Thorne and Littlewood, fitted with breathing apparatus, reached within a distance of 150 yards of the fire, but were driven back by the great heat and effusion of gases. The others got to within about 300 yards of the fire, working in the smoke backing from the fire. It was found impossible to penetrate to the scene of the fire or to rescue any of the entombed miners. Had an explosion occurred — a by no means unlikely eventuality, seeing that the mine is a very gassy one — they would undoubtedly all have been killed. Special gallantry was shown by John Henry Thorne, to whom the Edward Medal of the First Class has already been awarded, and by James Littlewood.