Heroic miner boldly faces death to save his mate [17 July 1909]

[Editor: An article about the heroism of Joseph Davis in a mining accident. Published in The Argus, 17 July 1909.]

Heroic miner.

Boldly faces death.

To save his mate.

Bendigo, Friday. — A sensational accident occurred at the Goldfields Consolidated mine, Diamond Hill, this afternoon, and was marked by conspicuous bravery on the part of a miner named Joseph Davis. He and John Allen, a married man, living in Forest-street, were engaged sinking the shaft, which has reached a depth of 854ft. They charged a couple of holes in the bottom, and, having ignited the fuse, began climbing the ladders to the plat at 730ft. Davis reached the plat safely, but somehow Allen lost his hold on the ladder almost at the last rung, and fell to the bottom.

By this time the fuses had burned beneath the collars of the holes, and the explosion was likely to follow any moment. Davis fully realised this, but without hesitation he hurriedly descended the ladderway to his mate’s assistance. He found Allen lying on the bottom close to the charges. There was no chance of getting to the plat before the dynamite exploded, so he huddled him into a corner of the shaft, and, crouching beside him, sheltered his prostrate mate with his own body.

Both shots went off.

Those at the plat expected to find the men killed, or terribly injured by the flying stone. On account of his position Davis received more injury from the latter cause than did Allen, but he had a providential escape, and sustained only a few minor injuries. Allen suffered little or no injury from the flying rock, but in the fall he sustained a compound fracture of the right leg. He was removed to the hospital. As he fell 54ft. he had a remarkable escape from death.

The friends of Davis are so pleased with his exploit that it is more than probable they will take steps to secure for him one of the medals presented by the King for bravery in mines.

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 17 July 1909, p. 19

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