The Edward Medal (King Edward VII) is a British civilian decoration which was instituted by Royal Warrant on 13 July 1907 to recognise acts of bravery of miners and quarrymen in endangering their lives to rescue their fellow workers. The original Royal Warrant was amended by a further Royal Warrant on 1 December 1909 to encompass acts of bravery by all industrial workers in factory accidents and disasters, creating two versions of the Edward Medal: Mines and Industry.
In both case (Mines and Industry), the medal was divided in two grades: first class (silver) and second class (bronze), with the medal being a circular silver or bronze medal (as appropriate to the class awarded) suspended from a ribbon 1 3/8" wide and coloured dark blue and edged with yellow. The medal associated with mines depicted colliers at work whilst the industry medal had a female figure with an industrial complex in the background. Peculiarly, the cost of the Edward Medal (Mines) was borne by a fund established by a group of philanthropists (including prominent mine owners) and not the state.
The Edward Medal (Mines) has been awarded only 395 times (77 silver and 318 bronze) and the Edward Medal (Industry) only 188 times (25 silver and 163 bronze, of which only two were awarded to women), making the Edward Medal one of rarest British gallantry awards. Only posthumous awards were made after 1949, and the Edward Medal (Industry) (1st class) has not been awarded since 1948.
The Edward Medal was discontinued in 1971, when surviving recipients of the Edward Medal (along with holders of the Albert Medal) were invited to exchange their award for the George Cross. Nine (2 silver, 7 bronze) elected not to exchange their medals.
Reverse of the Edward Medal (Industry) Class I (left).
Reverse of Edward Medal (Mines) Class II (centre).
Obverse of the Edward Medal Class II(right).
|Awarded by United Kingdom and some British Empire/Commonwealth countries|
|Eligibility||United Kingdom and British Empire/Commonwealth personnel|
|Awarded for||Acts of bravery by miners, quarrymen and industrial workers in mines and factory accidents and disasters.|
|Status||Replaced by George Cross in 1971.|
|Established||13 July 1907|
|Total awarded||Mines : 395 (77 silver, 318 bronze) Industry : 188 (25 silver, 163 bronze)|
|Equivalent||George Cross (for civil gallantry or military actions not in the face of the enemy)|
Media related to Edward Medal at Wikimedia Commons
The New Year Honours 1915 were appointments by King George V to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by members of the British Empire. They were announced on 1 January 1915.1931 Birthday Honours
The King's Birthday Honours 1931 were appointments by King George V to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by members of the British Empire. The appointments were made to celebrate the official birthday of The King. They were published on 2 June 1931.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.Africa General Service Medal
The Africa General Service Medal, established in 1902, was a campaign medal of the United Kingdom. It was awarded for minor campaigns that took place in tropical Africa between 1900 and 1956, with a total of forty five clasps issued. The medal is never seen without a clasp and some are very rare. Most medals were granted to British led local forces, including the King's African Rifles and the West African Frontier Force. The only campaigns where European troops were present in any numbers were the various Somaliland campaigns, (including to the Royal Navy), and in Kenya.Albert Medal for Lifesaving
The Albert Medal for Lifesaving was a British medal awarded to recognize the saving of life. It has since been replaced by the George Cross.
The Albert Medal was first instituted by a Royal Warrant on 7 March 1866 and discontinued in 1971 with the last two awards promulgated in the London Gazette of 31 March 1970 to the late First Officer Geoffrey Clifford Bye of Boolaroo, New South Wales, Australia, and on 11 August 1970 to the late Kenneth Owen McIntyre of Fairy Meadow, New South Wales, Australia. The medal was named in memory of Prince Albert and originally was awarded to recognize saving life at sea. The original medal had a blue ribbon 5⁄8" (16 mm) wide with two white stripes. A further Royal Warrant in 1867 created two classes of Albert Medal, the first in gold and bronze and the second in bronze, both enamelled in blue, and the ribbon of the first class changed to 1 3⁄8" (35 mm) wide with four white stripes.
The first recipient of the medal was Samuel Popplestone, a tenant farmer, who on 23 March 1866 helped to rescue four men after the cargo ship Spirit of the Ocean lost its battle with force eleven gales and was torn apart as it was swept onto the notorious Start Point rocks in Devon. Witnessing the accident, Popplestone paused only to raise the alarm before setting off alone for the wreck, armed with just a small coil of rope. He clambered out onto the rocks and although swept off several times, he eventually managed to lift four men out of the water and drag them up the cliff to safety. As the story of Popplestone's bravery became known through the press, he was hailed as a hero and as a result of his heroism he became the first recipient of the brand new award for civilian gallantry.
In 1877, the medal was extended to cover saving life on land and from this point there are two medals with different inscriptions to depict which they were awarded for. The land version was enamelled in red, with a red ribbon. The titles of the medals changed in 1917, the gold "Albert Medal, first class" becoming the "Albert Medal in gold" and the bronze "Albert Medal, second class" being known as just the "Albert Medal".
The event that led to the introduction of the Albert Medal for Gallantry on Land was the Tynewydd Colliery disaster which occurred on 11 April 1877. In many ways, although it was tragic the disaster at Tynewydd was, by the standards of the time when single mining accidents often claimed hundreds of lives, relatively unremarkable. However, as the enthralling saga of the determined, dangerous and stoic rescue of the surviving colliers was dramatically and episodically reported in the press it captured the imagination of the public and MPs. Consequently, released from Windsor Castle on 25 April 1877, it was announced that "the Albert Medal, hitherto only bestowed for gallantry in saving life at sea, shall be extended for similar actions on land, and that the first medals struck for this purpose shall be conferred on the heroic rescuers of the Welsh miners".In 1911, second class honors were awarded to an Indigenous Australian prisoner.
The Albert Medal in gold was abolished in 1949, being replaced by the George Cross, and the second class of Albert Medal (in bronze) was only awarded posthumously. In 1971, the Albert Medal was discontinued (along with the Edward Medal) and all living recipients were invited to exchange the award for the George Cross. From the total of 64 eligible to exchange, 49 took up the option.
The medal was made of gold (although early examples are gold and bronze), which was enameled blue. Miniatures of all four types are known to exist, with the gold awards believed to be gilt.Arthur Devere Thomas
Arthur Devere Thomas GC (5 August 1895 – 1 November 1973) was awarded the Edward Medal, later exchanged for the George Cross, in 1931 for the following action:
On 14 January 1931 a workman who was engaged in dismantling a wooden staging fixed across the track of the Metropolitan Railway Station at Kings Cross, slipped and fell from a height of about 20 feet to the permanent way of the down Inner Circle line. He was unconscious and lay face downwards across one running rail with his head close to the negative rail of the electrified system. Mr. Thomas, who was acting as flagman for the protection of the workmen, saw the man fall and at the same time heard a down train approaching the station round the curve. Realising that a signal could not be seen by the driver in time for him to stop the train, Mr, Thomas immediately jumped down from the platform to the up line and, crossing two positive and two negative rails carrying 600 volts, snatched the unconscious man from almost under the wheels of the approaching train and held him in a small recess in the wall whilst the train passed within a few inches of them.Bernard George Ellis
Bernard George Ellis GC (21 November 1890 – 1 July 1979) was a junior officer in the British Army who was awarded the Albert Medal (AM) for bravery during World War I while serving in Mesopotamia. His Albert Medal was translated to the George Cross in 1971.
Ellis was born in Surbiton in Surrey in 1890, the son of Henry Charles Ellis and May (née Bennett). He was educated at Salisbury Cathedral School and at the Montpelier School at Paignton in Devon. The family lived at Home Cottage in Roundwell in Bearsted. Ellis had one brother, Charles Harold. His great-grandfather, Charles Ellis was the Mayor of Maidstone in 1860, and his grandfather Charles junior was also Mayor of Maidstone three times: in 1864, 1872 and 1878.When World War I broke out in 1914 Ellis was working at the Union of London and Smith’s Bank in Maidstone. He enlisted with the Public Schools Corps in September 1914 as a Private and arrived in France with them in November 1915, serving in the trenches for six months opposite the Hohenzollern Redoubt. He returned to England and trained as a bomb instructor at Oxford following which he was given a commission before being gazetted to the Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment), going with his battalion to India and then to Mesopotamia.According to The London Gazette of 18 July 1919:
'On 21 August 1918, Lieutenant Ellis was with a party at Shahraban under instruction in the firing of rifle grenades. A volley was fired, but one of the grenades, owing to a defective cartridge, did not leave the rifle, but fell back into the barrel with the fuse burning. The firer lost his head and dropped the rifle and grenade in the trench, but Lieutenant Ellis, who was separated from the man by four other men in a narrow trench, at once forced his way past them and seized the rifle. Failing to extract the grenade, he dropped the rifle and placed his steel helmet over the grenade, which at once exploded, severely injuring him. There can be no doubt that his prompt and courageous action greatly minimised the force of the explosion and saved several men from death or injury'.Ellis survived his injuries and was invalided back to India, where he served as Captain of the Guard to Lord Willingdon, Governor of Bombay. Despite 350 pieces of the exploded grenade being in his body, 77 of them in his right arm, Ellis remained a keen sportsman. In 1971 he was among the surviving recipients of the Albert Medal and the Edward Medal who accepted the offer to exchange their awards for the George Cross. He also received the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal and the Defence Medal. His medals are now in the collection of the National Army Museum in London.Ellis died in Letchworth in Hertfordshire in 1979 and is buried in the churchyard of All Saints church in Willian, Hertfordshire.Burngrange mining disaster
Burngrange is an area of the Scottish village West Calder. Situated at the far west of the village it mainly consists of housing constructed for the areas mining industry in the early 20th century.
On 10 January 1947, Burngrange was witness to its worst underground mining disaster, in which 15 miners perished.
Burngrange Shale Mine was situated 16 miles south-west of Edinburgh in the Parish of West Calder in the County of Midlothian. It was owned by Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Co., Ltd., which at the time was a subsidiary of Scottish Oils Ltd and was one of a group of 12 mines working the oil shales in the Counties of Midlothian and West Lothian.
The Report on the causes of, and circumstances attending the Explosion and Fire which occurred at Burngrange Nos. 1 and 2 (Oil Shale) Mine, Midlothian, can be found at.David Brown was awarded the Edward Medal (Later the George Cross) for his actions on the day. He was an overman at the mine.Cadeby Main pit disaster
The Cadeby Main Pit Disaster was a coal mining accident on 9 July 1912 at Cadeby Main Colliery at Cadeby, near Doncaster, now in South Yorkshire, England, killing 91 men. Early in the morning of 9 July 1912 an explosion in the south-west part of the Cadeby Main pit killed 35 men with 3 more dying later due to their injuries. Later in the same day after a rescue party was sent below ground another explosion took place killing 53 men of the rescue party.Catterick Bridge explosion
The Catterick Bridge Explosion occurred on 4 February 1944 in the railway sidings at Catterick Bridge station, on the Richmond Branch Line/Catterick Camp Railway in North Yorkshire, England. It killed twelve people and injured more than a hundred. The incorrect loading of explosives into railway wagons is believed to have been the cause, but because of wartime restrictions, reporting of the event was not as widespread as it would have been had the explosion occurred in peacetime.Empire Gallantry Medal
The Medal of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for Gallantry, usually known as the Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM), was a British medal awarded for acts of the gallantry that did not reach the standard required for the Albert Medal and the Edward Medal. King George V introduced it on 29 December 1922. Recipients were entitled to use the post-nominal letters "EGM" and as a Medal of the Order of the British Empire it was also divided into military and civil divisions. Unlike appointments to the Order of the British Empire it could be awarded posthumously.George Cross
The George Cross (GC) is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded "for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger", not in the presence of the enemy, to members of the British armed forces and to British civilians. Posthumous awards have been allowed since it was instituted. It was previously awarded to residents of Commonwealth countries (and in one case to Malta, a colony which subsequently became a Commonwealth country), most of which have since established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians including police, emergency services and merchant seamen. Many of the awards have been personally presented by the British monarch to recipients or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.Gordon Bastian
Gordon Love Bastian, (30 March 1902 – November 1987) was an engineering officer in the British Merchant Navy who was awarded the Albert Medal for risking his own life to save other members of the crew of SS Empire Bowman after it was torpedoed on 31 March 1943. In 1971, living recipients of the Albert Medal and Edward Medal were instructed to return their medal and were instead issued with the George Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry awarded to civilians or to military personnel for actions "not in the face of the enemy" in the United Kingdom and CommonwealthJack Bamford
John Bamford GC (born 7 March 1937 in Newthorpe, near Eastwood, Nottinghamshire), known as Jack Bamford, is the youngest person to have been directly awarded the George Cross. On 19 October 1952, aged 15, he rescued his two younger brothers from their upstairs bedroom when a fire occurred during the night at their home in Newthorpe. He took four months to recover from the injuries he sustained. He was awarded the George Cross in December 1952.However, because in 1971 the Albert Medal and Edward Medal became eligible for exchange for a GC, he lost his record as the youngest recipient to David Western, who had been awarded the Albert Medal in 1948 at the age of 11.List of Australian George Cross recipients
The George Cross (GC) is the highest civil decoration for heroism in the United Kingdom, a status it also holds, or has held, in several countries comprising the Commonwealth of Nations. The George Cross (Post-nominal letters "GC") is regarded as the civilian counterpart of the Victoria Cross, and is awarded to civilians for "acts of the greatest heroism" or to military personnel for actions that are not "in the face of the enemy" or for which purely military honours would not normally be granted. In an official radio broadcast on 23 September 1940, King George VI announced his decision to establish the awards of the GC and George Medal to recognise individual acts of bravery by the civilian population. The Royal Warrant that established the awards was published in the London Gazette on 31 January 1941. Australians received the GC under the Imperial honours system until 5 October 1992 when after more than two years of negotiations with Australian State governments, the Australian prime minister, Paul Keating, announced that Australia would make no further recommendations for British honours. Australians are today eligible for the Cross of Valour instituted by letters patent within the Commonwealth of Australia and its Territories on 14 February 1975 under the Australian honours system.Between the first award of the GC to an Australian in 1942 and the final bestowal to Constable Michael Kenneth Pratt in 1978, 14 Australians were directly decorated with the medal. Of these, nine were awarded to military personnel and five to civilians. Eight of the medals were awarded posthumously. At the time of the institution of the GC, living recipients of the Empire Gallantry Medal automatically became recipients of the new award, and were required to return their previous medal; two Australians became GC holders through this method. In 1971, the British Government announced that living recipients of the Albert Medal and Edward Medal would henceforth be recipients of the GC with the option of exchanging their insignia for that of the GC. The decision for such an action was the result of the decline in the status and significance of the two awards, leading recipients to feel they were not receiving the recognition they were due. Of the 27 Australian holders of the Albert Medal, six were living at the time and all opted to exchange their insignia for the GC. None of the eight Australians awarded the Edward Medal were alive in 1971, and thus no Australian became a recipient of the GC through this exchange. Including exchange awards, a total of 22 Australians were decorated with the GC.List of George Cross recipients
The George Cross (GC) is the second highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It is awarded for gallantry not "in the presence of the enemy" to both members of the British armed forces and to British civilians. It has always been able to be awarded posthumously. It was previously awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians including police, emergency services and merchant seamen. Many of the awards have been personally presented by the British monarch to recipients and in the case of posthumous awards to next of kin. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.Initially, the Empire Gallantry Medal recognised acts of the highest bravery but was never considered equal to that of the Victoria Cross. The George Cross succeeded the Empire Gallantry Medal and all those living that had been awarded the medal, and all posthumous awards from the outbreak of World War II, were obliged to exchange their medal for the George Cross. In 1971, the living recipients of either the Albert Medal or Edward Medal, that respectively recognised the saving of life and acts of bravery following industrial accidents, were invited to exchange their medals for the George Cross; 24 recipients elected not to exchange their medal.
Since the Second World War most Commonwealth realms have instituted their own honours systems with the second highest award being for gallantry not in the face of the enemy. In 1972, Canada created the Cross of Valour for Canadian citizens; in 1975 Australia, inspired by Canada, created a similar award with the same name in the Australian Honours System, the Cross of Valour. Recipients of the Canadian and Australian awards both use the postnominal letters CV. Unlike the GC within British honours, the majority of Canadian CV awards and all Australian CV awards have been to civilians. The Australian Government ceased recommendations for British awards in 1983 and the last two Australian state governments ceased recommendations in 1989. On 5 October 1992, the Australian Prime Minister announced that Australian governments would make no further recommendations for British honours with British awards to Australians after that date being treated as foreign awards. During the 1975–1992 period when Australia made recommendations for both Australian and British awards, the State of Victoria recommended a GC which was granted. The award gazetted in 1978 was for 39 years the most recent award to a living civilian, until the award in 2017 to Dominic Troulan. The Queen of New Zealand has awarded the New Zealand Cross to New Zealand citizens since its institution in 1999, which grants the wearer the postnominal letters NZC.There have been 407 George Cross awards, including two special awards, but no honorary awards. Some recipients serving in British forces were foreign born, including Albert Guérisse (Belgium), Violette Szabo (France), and Noor Inayat Khan (Russia). All three served within the Special Operations Executive during World War II. There are currently 20 living recipients.List of living recipients of the George Cross
As of 2017, there are 18 living recipients of the George Cross, including two former recipients of the Albert Medal for Lifesaving and one former recipient of the Edward Medal, who voluntarily exchanged their medals for the George Cross in 1971 when it replaced both.
The George Cross (GC) is the highest civil decoration of the United Kingdom and other member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is the highest gallantry award for civilians of any rank or profession, and is primarily intended to be a civil award. Military personnel may be awarded the George Cross for actions not in the face of the enemy or for actions not normally meriting a purely military award. The George Cross was officially constituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI as a way to recognise civilian courage. It recognises "acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger".Initially, the Empire Gallantry Medal recognised acts of the highest bravery. The George Cross succeeded the Empire Gallantry Medal and all those living that had been awarded the medal, and all posthumous awards from the outbreak of World War II, were obliged to exchange their medal for the George Cross. In 1971, the living recipients of the Albert Medal and Edward Medal were invited to exchange their medals for the George Cross; 24 recipients elected not to exchange their medal.
In recent years, the George Cross has often served as the highest-level military decoration for recognition of peacetime heroism, or for wartime actions of gallantry not in the face of the enemy. Prior to 2017, when Dominic Troulan received the decoration for heroism during a 2013 terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya, no civilian awards of the GC had been made since 1978, when it was awarded to Victoria Police constable Michael Pratt. Previously, the last civilian award in the UK to a living recipient had been to Metropolitan Police inspector Jim Beaton in 1974 for his efforts in protecting Anne, Princess Royal from a mentally ill man attempting to kidnap her.
Certain Commonwealth realms have replaced the GC with their own equivalent awards. The Cross of Valour has been awarded to Canadian citizens since its establishment in 1972, and the identically named Cross of Valour has been awarded to Australian citizens since 1975. Both allow the wearer to use the postnominal letters CV. Since 1999, the New Zealand Cross has been awarded to New Zealand citizens, which allows the wearer the postnominal NZC. Awards of the George Cross made prior to the establishment of their replacements in each nation are not exchanged.
Until 26 January 1950, when India became a republic within the Commonwealth, the George Cross and its precursors were awarded to Indian civilians and military personnel in the government and princely states forces. All British awards were discontinued after 26 January 1950. In 1952, the Ashoka Chakra replaced the George Cross.List of recipients of the Order of Industrial Heroism
The list of recipients of the Order of Industrial Heroism (OIH) contains 440 recipients, who received awards between its inception in 1923 and dissolution in 1964.
Sometimes there were multiple awards relating to one event; six of the awards were to miners' union lodges, rather than individuals, where a large number of members had been involved in mine rescues. Only one of the solo awardees was a woman; another received one alongside three men.Philip Yates
Philip William Yates GC (3 January 1913 – 14 February 1998) was an English recipient of the Edward Medal, later exchanged for a George Cross, awarded for gallantry in the 1931 Bentley Colliery Disaster in Yorkshire.
Philip William Yates was born in County Durham on 3 January 1913. He left Counden Church School in Bishop Auckland at the age of 13 to work as an undertaker's assistant, in 1927 he became a coal miner.On 24 November 1931 there was a huge underground explosion at Bentley Colliery near Doncaster, Yorkshire, caused by firedamp, of the 47 miners working at the coal face 45 were to die, some later. As the walls and roof of the tunnel collapsed hundreds of other miners were injured. Yates with his colleagues Richard Darker, Oliver Soulsby and Frank Sykes, went to the area of the explosion and without regard to the dangers they extricated the injured miners and moved them to safety, this involved carrying them two miles underground to the main shaft, they were under constant danger of more explosions.Eight miners who were involved in the rescue were awarded the Edward Medal, including Yates and his three colleagues and members of the colliery rescue team. Yates was also awarded the Order of Industrial Heroism.After the Bentley Colliery disaster he left the coal industry to be a foundry worker until he retired. He exchanged his Edward Medal for the George Cross in 1971 when the Edward Medal was withdrawn.
Yates retired to South Yorkshire with his wife and two children and in 1987 he became the last survivor of those awarded the George Cross in the disaster. He died on 14 February 1998 aged 85.Silvertown War Memorial
Silvertown War Memorial, also known as Silvertown Explosion Memorial, is a war memorial in Silvertown, in East London. It serves as a memorial for the workers at the Brunner Mond chemical plant who were killed on active service during the First and Second World Wars, while also commemorating the people killed in the Silvertown explosion on 17 January 1917. It became a Grade II listed building in 1999.The Silvertown factory was owned by the Brunner Mond chemical business, a forerunner to ICI, and had been used for the manufacture of caustic soda. The factory was mothballed before the war, and the government decided to use its spare industrial capacity for the purification of TNT, using a process that was acknowledged to be dangerous in a built-up residential area. At about 7pm on Friday 19 January 1917, after most of the workers had left for the night, an accidental fire spread and ignited over 50 tons of TNT, killing 73 people in and around the factory (69 immediately, and four later from their injuries), and injuring hundreds more; it also destroy the factory and hundreds of local houses, and damaged thousands more.
The memorial was erected in the 1920s by Brunner Mond on North Woolwich Road, beside their factory. It comprises a tapering limestone obelisk about 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) high, with blocks bearing inscriptions topped by a slightly domed block, each face of which is carved with a wreath. The memorial originally stood on a circular stone plinth.
One face of the memorial, to the east, was carved with the inscription "TO THE GLORIOUS / MEMORY OF THE / MEN FROM THESE / WORKS WHO FELL / IN THE GREAT WAR / 1914–1919", together with the names of 7 men. The west face had the inscription "AND TO THE MEMORY / OF THOSE WHO WHILST / SERVING THEIR COUNTRY / BY MAKING T.N.T. / PERISHED IN THE / EXPLOSION IN THESE / WORKS. JANUARY 19TH / 1917" with a further list of 18 names, including Andrea Angel, who was posthumously awarded the Edward Medal. A further inscription on the south face reads "ALSO TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO FELL IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939 – 1945" with another 7 names. The north face remains blank.
The site of the destroyed factory remained empty for nearly a century, but a neighbouring factory continued in operation until 1961. Both sites were cleared for a residential redevelopment in 2014, and construction of the Royal Wharf development began in 2015. As part of the development, the memorial was removed from its original location near the road, at the entrance to the site, restored and re-erected in 2016 elsewhere on the site, closer to the River Thames. Relatives of those killed by the explosion attended a service beside the memorial to commemorate the centenary of the explosion on 17 January 2017.
|Orders of chivalry|