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There was an announcement in the London Gazette that the King had awarded the Edward Medal to Rowland Bennett, manager of Hanley Deep Colliery, North Staffs, and Albert Maley "in recognition of their gallantry" and here lies the story of the heroic rescue of a miner.

On the 17th Jan 1935 extensive falls of roof caused the accident. Three men, Tom Harrison, of 66 Market St. Hanley. William Hough, of Bloomsfield House, Leek Rd. Milton, and Joseph Breasley, of 46 Bexley St. Hanley, were taken to the North staffs Royal Infirmary.

Harrison was the most severely injured of the three and it was on account of their courageous workin rescuing him that the Edward Medal has been awarded.

Hanley Pit

Hanley Deep Pit (Shelton Iron, Steel & Coal Co.Ltd.)
During the 1930s, it employed 1552 men and boys underground and 395 on the bank

Rowland Bennett

When the fall of roof occurred Harrison was knocked down and his legs and feet fastened. He was saved from fatal injury in two further falls by a steel prop and bar which were placed over him by another worker. It was found that the only way to release the imprisoned man, apart from amputation, was for someone to work his way along side him under the fall and scrape the debris away with his hands passing it out piece by piece.

The space was so small that only a man of slim build could undertake the task, and in doing so he had to lie prone over the imprisoned man.

Mr. Bennett and Mr. Maley carried out this extremely dangerous work, and Maley, with the aid of a pick managed to set the man free after he had been imprisoned for almost six and a half hours.

Mr. Bennett paid tribute to Dr. Conway who had never been down a pit before. He went straight down without the least hesitation to give morphia to Harrison and stayed with him for four hours.

It was all in a days work was the only comment Mr. Maley made from his home in Eaton St. Hanley.

Hanley Pit

Pit Terminology - Glossary

John Lumsdon