William Lawson's Medal
This medal commemorates Leicestershire's worst pit disaster. When the Gob fire broke out during the night shift, there were forty-two men working down pit No. 5. Thirty-five men lost their lives, the youngest, John Albert Gee, was a boy of thirteen years of age.
William Lawson, whose medal is shown here was a member of the rescue party. These brave men were aware that none of their comrades would be found alive. Ponies were used to transport bricks underground to seal off the fires, whilst any miners’ bodies that were found were carried by stretcher to the surface, where hundreds of men and women had gathered, wailing and crying.
Samuel Hallam, Licensee of the Queen’s Head Inn, Thringstone, was on the pit bank. He felt that something should be done to show recognition of the courage, determination and bravery shown by the rescuers. He formed a mementoes committee to decide what could be done. It was through Mr. Hallam’s efforts that on 2nd July, 1898, at a special ceremony held on the Duke of Newcastle grounds, Whitwick, the medals and certificates were presented to the rescuers by Alderman Wakeley, Mayor of Leicester, and Chairman of the Disaster fund.
Whitwick Historical Group
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Page Last Updated: 13 May 2013