Mining Heroes Rewarded

The Edward VII Medal was awarded to the following two people for an act of bravery
in rescuing a fellow worker from a flooded mine shaft at Harriseahead Colliery on 10th March 1924

Harry, Wilson, Miner, Harriseahead Colliery, Bronze, 10th March 1924
Pailing, Baker, Manager, Harriseahead Colliery, Bronze, 10th March 1924

According to M. Kitchen's book "The Edward Medal"

London Gazette, 22nd August, 1924

His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to award the Edward Medal to:-
Mr Pailing Baker, Colliery Manager, and Mr Harry Wilson, Road Corporal,
in the following circumstances:-

On 10th March 1924 an inrush of water took place at the HARRISEAHEAD COLLIERY in Staffordshire.
The majority of workmen had already left the mine, but it was found that one man named Booth was missing.
He had been working alone about 130 yards from the bottom of the shaft, and representations were made to Baker, the manager, that it was impossible to rescue him.

The bottom of the pit was three parts full of water and water was still rising. Baker, however, was resolute; he called for volunteers and Wilson was one of five men who responded and descended into the mine by a foot rail.

The rescue party reached a ventilation door which they dared not open owing to the pressure of water behind it and they therefore prepared to retire. Baker, who had followed, insisted that Booth could not be left, but Wilson was the only man who volunteered to continue the work of rescue. Baker and Wilson managed to force the ventilation door and allow the water to escape gradually. They then waded to the place where Booth was working, reaching him after great difficulty, and all three men were eventually drawn to the surface. Both Baker and Wilson ran a great risk of being trapped under the low roof in the mine. They could not tell to what height the water would rise and if it had reached the roof both the rescued and the rescuers would have lost their lives. Both Baker and Wilson displayed exceptional courage and resolution.

London Gazette, Page 6350

Edward VII Medal

Awarded for life saving in mines and quarries, in two grades:
first class (Silver) and second class (Bronze).
Medals were engraved with the names of the recipients but, since the 1930's, the date of, and place of the action, were added.
Living recipients were invited to exchange their medals for the George Cross in 1971.
The last awards to living recipients were made in 1949.

Information supplied by :- Phil Clifford , Mines Rescue Research