William Jenkins EM

b. ? d. ?

DATE OF EM ACTION: 21/09/1944 Newlands Colliery, Pyle, Glamorgan.

Very little is known about the life of Under Manager William Jenkins other than his actions at the Newlands Colliery, Pyle, Glamorgan on 21st September 1944.



Shortly after 3.0 p.m. on the 21st September, 1944, a heavy fall occurred in the Newlands Colliery, Glamorganshire, imprisoning two colliers. On the alarm being given, Mr. William Jenkins, the Under-Manager, hurried to the scene and took charge of the rescue operations. Further heavy falls occurred on several occasions. By 9.30 p.m. it was estimated that as much as forty tons had been cleared in attempting to make an opening on to the fall. Mr. Jenkins remained at work and by 2.30 a.m. was able to get on to the fall, which was twelve to fifteen yards long, through an opening some two feet square. He proceeded to make a passage down to the trapped men on the other side, and continued to do so when he himself became trapped by a further fall, which temporarily blocked the exit. In due course, with assistance from the trapped men, he established an opening on their side but was afraid that if they attempted to climb up, the opening might again become blocked. He therefore procured three leather belts and by this means formed a life line with which he hauled the first man up through the hole. On the way out a further fall occurred which injured Mr. Jenkins in the neck, chest and arm, and temporarily incapacitated him; he was pulled out by the feet, and when the exit was cleared went in and brought out the rescued man. Once again the hole was blocked by another fall, and when it was cleared Mr. Jenkins, though in pain from his injuries, returned to the fall to rescue the remaining man. This man is of considerably greater stature than Mr. Jenkins, but Mr. Jenkins was able to pull him up through the hole, and by 4.0 a.m. both men were rescued. Mr. Jenkins, who before the rescue had completed an arduous morning shift, had been below ground with a short break, for twenty-two hours. Mr. Jenkins showed great resourcefulness, endurance and self-sacrifice and he was in constant danger of being trapped or killed outright.