East Pool Mine, Illogan, Cornwall. 1912
Surface view of the shaft, scene of the rescue by Kemp and Opie. Mine Shift Bosses, William Kemp and Albert Opie were awarded Edward Medal awards for their bravery during the mining incident recounted here. Three men were descending the shaft in a skip when they were dropped into water, which unknown to everyone, had risen from its previous level. Two men jumped off the skip but the other man was drowned. One man grabbed a ladder and climbed to safety. The other man was afraid to jump across an open space to the ladder and held on to an air pipe. Opie descended the shaft to try and rescue the man, but failed to reach him. Opie and Kemp then descended another shaft, to travel via a cross-cut to reach the frightened man. The cross-cut had water in it, which was rising all the time. At one place it was touching the roof. Opie went under the water, reached the other side, then proceeded to the shaft where the man was hanging to the air pipe. He dragged the man through the water in the cross-cut to save him. Kemp waited at other side of the water, in considerable danger, to keep a light for when the man was brought out. Photographer: Arthur William Jordan.
© From the collection of the RIC