William Noy Tonkin Hoskin EM

b. 1872 Pendeen, Cornwall. d. ? 1939 Falmouth, Cornwall. 

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

William Noy Hoskin was born in Pendeen, Cornwall in 1872. All that is known about his early life though he did have an elder brother James. The first record of William is on the 1891 Census where he is living in St Just, Cornwall with his mother Elizabeth, who was now married to James Nicholas. At the time William was already working in the mining industry, and is it unclear why he moved as far north as Cumberland. In 1896, he married Mary Elizabeth Sewell in Whitehaven, near to his new place of work – Wellington Colliery. He and Mary had two sons, William and Jonah, and two daughters, Mary Elizabeth and Beatrice. Following his award of the Edward Medal, little else is known about him except that he must have returned to Cornwall. He died in Falmouth in 1939, aged 67. 



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.