William James Rudd EM

b. 23/10/1883 ? d. 1st Q 1966 Warrington, Lancashire.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 14/10/1931 Warrington, Lancashire.

Little is known about the life of William James Rudd. It is possible that he was born on 23rd October 1883, and married Annie. He became a charge hand at the Whitecross Company in Warrington, Lancashire, a job that he held for many years. It is possible that he died in Warrington, aged 82 in 1966.



On the 14th October, 1931, William James Rudd, a charge hand in the ferrous metal department at the works of the Whitecross Company, Limited, at Warrington, instructed Albert Meakin, a labourer, to slack the fire of the furnace. Meakin, with another labourer named Nock, descended an eight-rung iron ladder to the furnace pit, which is six feet six inches below the floor level, and entirely covered by grating except at the point of descent. Meakin withdrew the firebars from the furnace before inserting dummy bars; this allowed the red hot coke of the fire to fall into the water sump under the furnace, filling the fire pit with steam. Rudd heard screams from the furnace pit and running to the spot saw Nock on the ladder and clouds of steam issuing from the grating over the pit. He immediately went to the rescue, assisted Nock out and laid him on the grating. Then wrapping his coat over his head, he descended the whole length of the ladder into the pit. His leg was grabbed by Meakin, who was apparently groping for the ladder, and Rudd managed to get hold of Meakin’s arm, only to find the skin come away in his hand. He succeeded, however, in getting Meakin up the ladder out of the pit and at once started first aid. Both Meakin and Nock were severely scalded and, died as the result of their injuries.

Rudd’s action in going to the rescue of Nock and then going down the ladder to rescue Meakin was a very gallant one. Although the danger was greatest immediately after the hot ashes fell into the water sump and thereafter the risk to life in descending into the pit was not so great, Rudd, who had no knowledge of what had happened in the pit, had no means of estimating the danger he was incurring. He saw that Nock was badly burned and he thought that a steam pipe working an injector had burst or that molten metal had leaked into the fire hole. Either of these occurrences would have involved serious risks as the scalding steam would have been incessant, and Rudd faced what he thought were these risks and effected the rescue of both men single-handed without regard to his own safety.