1st Miner's V.C

Liverpool Mercury Feb 22nd 1908

The King’s medal for miners.

Francis CHANDLER a typical Yorkshire miner, grey bearded and approaching 60 yrs of age, has just earned the distinction of being the first to gain the “Miners’ V.C.” for bravery in the mines, the King having signified his intention of personally investing CHANDLER with the coveted trophy.

He is still suffering from the effects of the awful calamity at the Hoyland Silkstone Colliery, near Barnsley, on Nov 23rd, which resulted in the deaths of 4 workmen, one of whom was his son Leonard, aged 19.

On the fateful evening, while in charge of a party of workmen engaged in fireing iron-girders in the roof of the boilerhouse, there was a sudden, “earth bump” which knocked out every lamp and caused the workers to be badly scalded by escaping steam.

CHANDLER jumped from the top of the boiler and groped his way from the boilerhouse. Then hearing someone shout, “I’m done for,” he returned and found one of his companions helpless.

Getting him on his back he crept with him to a place of safety.

CHANDLER, though badly scalded, then went back to help others in the engine-house, and after three attempts managed to get on the boiler, where the heat was intense.

He then went for other assistance, creeping on in the darkness with limbs scalded until he felt he had got to the shaft.

He then rang for the cage, but in trying to get in he slipped back and was thrown on his face. He eventually managed to get in, and gave the signal.

When he got to the top he called for assistance, and again went down the pit and assisted in the rescue.


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