Wilson Graham EM

b. 10/1857 Whitehaven, Cumberland. d. 3rd Q 1923 Whitehaven, Cumberland.

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

Wilson was born in October 1857, the son of John and Ann Graham, and was baptised at St James’ Church, St Bees, Whitehaven on 8th November 1857. He was the second of their four children. Wilson became a coal miner from an early age, and married Hannah, and they went on to have three sons and a daughter. Following the award of the Edward Medal, he continued to work as a miner at Wellington Colliery, and passed away in 1923, aged 65.



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.