b. 30/06/1912 South Wales. d. 19/07/1984 Ammanford, Wales.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 21/09/1933 Brynamman, Wales.
Thomas Derwydd Thomas (1912-1984) was born on 30th June 1912, possibly in Garnant, Carmarthenshire, Wales. He was the son of Evan and Mary Ellen Thomas (nee Morgan). It is known that his childhood was spent living at Derwydd Farm near Garnant, and he went to primary school in the village. As soon as he was able, he left school and began work in the anthracite mine near to his home.
On 21st September 1933, he was working at Brynamman Colliery, Glamorgan, Wales, when there was an inrush of water at the pit. Thomas was working underground at the time. At great personal risk, he assisted a youth who had lost his lamp and was unable, in the darkness and water, to make his way to safety. They both reached a place where several others had gathered. The miners then divided into two groups, one group seeking a way out via an airway and the other via a roadway that was flooded and obstructed by a mass of timber and rails washed down by the water. Thomas took up the rear in the roadway group, which succeeded in reaching safety; he then returned, at considerable peril to himself, to find the other group, which then escaped by the same route. Thomas was the last to leave the pit.
Thomas was awarded the Edward Medal in Bronze (London Gazette 6th February 1934) and also received the Daily Herald Order of Industrial Heroism. He was also presented with a gold watch by Amalgamated Anthracite Collieries Ltd. In 1936, Thomas married Margaret Davies, and they went on to have a daughter called Mair. Thomas would spend all his working life in the mines.
In 1971, following the change in the Royal Warrant, Thomas opted to exchange his Edward Medal for the George Cross, and duly donated his EM to the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. Thomas died on 19th July 1984 in Carmarthen, West Wales, and it is believed he was buried in Carmarthen but this is not known for certain. His George Cross and 1977 QEII Silver Jubilee Medal are not publicly held.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: MORRISTON CREMATORIUM, SWANSEA.
ASHES SCATTERED IN GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE.