William Waugh EM

b. 12/08/1875 Leamside, Durham.  d. 12/03/1952 Wallsend, Northumberland.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 29/09/1930 Hedley Pit, South Moor, Durham.

William was born on 12th August 1875 in Leamside, Durham, one of nine children of William and Hannah Waugh (nee Carling).  The family moved around alot during his chldhood, before they settled in Stanley near to the Hedley Pit. William became a miner, and later a deputy overman. He married Annie Lewins in 1897, and they had two daughters, Jane and Ethel May. Sadly, his wife died in 1925, five years before he was awarded the Edward Medal. Following the presentation of his medal, he moved to Wallsend where he spent his remaining years. He died on 12th March 1952, aged 76, and he was laid to rest with his wife in Stanley New Cemetery.



On the 29th September, 1930, a fall of roof occurred in the Hedley Pit, South Moor, County Durham, partially burying a hewer, Frederick Beaumont. A chargeman, Victor King, was the first to come to the rescue. He found that a small passage-way remained open by which the buried man might be reached and, with the assistance of his son Richard and John George Tarn, be immediately built two chocks of timber to keep it open. The passage was seven yards long and about two feet square and the only practicable method of rescue wasfor three men to crawl along the passage-way and lie full length, two in the passage-way and one over Beaumont’s body, and pass back, one at a time, the stones that were pinning him down.

This perilous and arduous work was carried on for nine hours by a team of miners (including Victor King) working in relays under the direction of the manager (Walter Robert Scott) and the under-manager (Robert Reed) until at last Beaumont was released, shaken but otherwise uninjured. During the whole nine hours the roof was shifting and “trickling” and on four occasions Beaumont was almost freed when a further fall buried him again. At one time the danger of a further fall appeared so great that the manager telephoned for a doctor (Dr. Charles James Brookfield Fox) to come to the pit to amputate Beaumont’s leg and so expedite his release. Fortunately — as it turned out — the doctor found it impossible to amputate in the restricted area in which Beaumont was confined, but he remained on the scene until Beaumont was rescued and examined and treated him before sending him to the surface. Shortly after Beaumont was extricated the whole of the tunnel collapsed.