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Commendation after Pit Ordeal

January 1928

Mexborough & Swinton Times, January 27, 1918

Commendation after Pit Ordeal

In, recognition of conspicuous gallantry in rescuing a fellow-workman who had. been buried by a fall of roof in the mine, Mr. Joseph Davies, of 12, Providence Street, Low Valley, has received a letter of commendation and appreciation from the former Parliamentary Secretary for the Mines Department, Col. G. R. Lane-Fox.

The occasion on which Davies distinguished himself was on 16th August. Davies was working in the Houghton plane district of the Barnsley seam at Houghton when there was a fall of roof in a neighbouring-working place, and a man named worry Freear, aged about 26, of Victoria Street, Darfield, was buried. Rescue efforts were promptly organised, although the neighbourhood was perilous. The fall consisted of several hundred tons of rock and it was impossible for some time to locate Freear. it was thought that Freear  must certainly have been killed, but eventually his cries guided his rescuers to the spot where be lay crushed beneath the stone, his face only exposed. H seen as though he had warning of the fall, and had attempted to escape.

It was here’ that Davies’s courage, composure and resource showed themselves. Assuming command of the operations he exposed himself to great risks time after time thrusting ‘himself into position in which death- threatened him every more.

Other rescuers were amazed at this daring and the spirit of Self-sacrifice he showed. Davies’s practical experience stood him in good stead, and was the means of up Freear’s life. Davies conceived the idea of burrowing round Freear’s body, and upon this task he concentrated, and at length he was able to build around the man a framework of timber. Freear himself shewed great courage and fortitude. He was badly injured, and the weight of the stone was well-nigh crushing the life out of him, but he calmly gave instructions to his rescuers and helped them occasionally by scraping away dirt with his hand. Now and again he cried out when the pain became intolerable.

Meantime, his rescuers consider him, and occasionally moistened his lips with water. Thus the work proceeding for over five hours, and end of which time Freea up r was liberated with the exception of his feet. This last face was accomplished by Davies exposed himself to the greatest risk of all.

He scrambled into the hall first and work with his hands. Freer was eventually released after the hospital, and is now recovering unable to get about with the aid of sticks

Among the rescue party were Mr H Guest, the manager of the scene, and Mr a Poyner, an official of the Houghton Main branch of the W.M.A.. These and others present pay the ice tribute to the courage and coolness of Davies. Freer declares that he owes his life to Davies, and that it was his confidence in Davies’s bravery and ability that kept his spirits up during his ordeal .