William Richard Protheroe EM

b. 18/03/1845 Cefn, Wales. d. 14/01/1911 Aberdare, Wales.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 06/04/1910 Bwllfa Dare Colliery, Aberdare, Wales.

William was born on 18th March 1845 in Cefn, Breconshire, the son of John and Mary Protheroe (nee Anthony). After a childhood spent in a mining community in South Wales, he became a miner himself. He rose up the ranks and became a Colliery Under Manager. In the mid 1860’s he married Mary and they had six children. For a brief time, the family moved to Staffordshire, before he returned to South Wales and employment at the Bwlffa Dare Colliery near Aberdare. Protheroe was awarded the Edward Medal for his part in the rescue of John Isaac. Sadly, Protheroe didn’t live long after his award, dying less than a year later on 14th January 1911 in Aberdare. He was 65 years old.



John Isaac, a repairer, was engaged in inspecting the return airway. He was going under a timbered bridge when it collapsed without warning. Tons of debris covered him. Isaac was saved from instant death because timber partially supported the fall. His assistant ran for help and Protheroe, the under manager, and Jones, soon arrived, followed by Evans. They discovered Isaac was approximately seven feet below them and he was buried up to his his head. The area around Isaac was dangerous and there was a risk of more falls. However, the three men started digging with their hands, and sawed timber as they advanced to make a narrow tunnel to Isaac. After over nine hours they cleared a space big enough to allow Isaac to be pulled out. The place Isaac had been trapped in collapsed just after he was brought out.