Blood on the coal. This page is in memory of those men and boys who lost their lives at Whitburn colliery. This list of names is by no means complete. Anyone knowing of any names missing can contact us with the details or the Durham Mining Museum at www.dmm.org.uk who compiled this list and gave us permission to reproduce it on this website.
Durham Cathedral The Miners Memorial
Ainsley, Gilbert Miller, 14 Jul 1913, aged 32 Hewer whilst hewing in a "wall" 6 yards wide in a board and wall whole district of a seam 5 feet thick with a "blue" roof of poor quality, a large stone, 10 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 1 foot 6 inches thick in the centre, tapering to a feather-edge practically all round, fell from the roof close up to the coal face and left-hand coal side, breaking the ends of two planks partly set under it, and killed him instantly; considering the nature of the roof, more timber should have been set on both sides of the barrow-way timber.
Arundel, Alexander, 14 Nov 1922, aged 17, Landing Lad, crushed by a set of tubs.
Arundel, H., 13 May 1939, (accident: 02 May 1939), aged 31, stoneman head injuries
Atkinson, Colin Watson, 04 Jun 1901, aged 69, Truck Greaser, supposed to have been crushed between wagons which were being lowered into the colliery sidings.
Atkinson, Edward Middlemiss Lewis, 15 Sep 1908, aged 15, Engine plane lad, run over by tub at junction on endless rope haulage road.
Beadling, Charles, 09 Dec 1888, aged 28, Stoneman fall of stone from a canch which was being timbered
Beadling, Thomas, 10 Feb 1919, (accident: 07 Feb 1919), aged 39, Stoneman, died from blood poisoning set up by injuries received when his nose was penetrated by a poisonous wire.
Bell, R., 29 Jun 1934, (accident: 17 Dec 1925), aged 42, Hewer killed by a fall of stone
Belsay, John, 30 May 1896, (accident: 19 May 1896), aged 18, Landing Lad, He appeared to have made the set ready in the landing, which is a heavy one, and to have been putting the "cow" on the hind end, when 3 full tubs ran down the flat and jammed him against the set. Died on the 30th May.
Bence, Daniel Mark, 02 Apr 1907, aged 45, Back Overman lost in the mine. See below for more information.
Blackburn, Thomas, 25 Jun 1901, aged 21, Wagon Attendant, Deceased and another man were larking about instead of attending to their work, and did not hear an approaching wagon. On realizing the danger deceased pushed his mate to a place of safety, but was unable to extricate himself in time
Blencoe, George, 25 Oct 1897, aged 49, Hewer, Deceased and another man were turning a place away from a stenton when this happened. The roof was considered good. The stone fell from a slip running along one side. The deputy had examined the place a very short time before the accident, and it was considered to be in safe working order.
Bone, Alexander, 27 Jan 1921, aged 27, Shifter, crushed by tubs.
Borwick, Patrick, 20 May 1912, aged 17, Screen labourer, whilst probably stooping down to clean some coal off the rail in front of a wagon under the screens, his head was caught between the wagon axle box and a column supporting the screens
Boulton, Harry V., 19 Feb 1924, aged 49, Stoneman, killed by a fall of stone
Brown, Thomas, 27 Jan 1892, 1:15 p.m., 4th hour of shift, aged 36, Hewer, A shot had been fired by the deputy which had not blown the coal, and, as deceased was engaged in getting it down, the coal and the stone above suddenly came away from a "slip."
Burgess, John George, 26 Apr 1910, (accident: 11 Apr 1910), aged 24, Banksman, Caught by sneck of cage, hand cut. Death from lock-jaw
Burn, Daniel, 28 Dec 1893, 2:00 a.m., 3rd hour of shift, aged 61, Shifter, A fall of stone had taken place on a road near a working face. Deceased and another man were sent to put the road right, and when they were doing this a break in the roof was heard, the other man ran out over, but the deceased ran in an opposite direction for a few yards to get his lamp, when the stone fell on him.
Cadman, William, 15 Jan 1890, 4:30 p.m., 3rd hour of shift, aged 13, Driver, Fell in front of his set of tubs and killed.
Carr, Norman, 17 Aug 1962, aged 45
Castro, Joseph, 31 Aug 1896, aged 16, Driver, He was bringing an empty tram along the road, and at a sharp turn it got off the way, knocking a prop and plank out, and bringing down a large piece of stone.
Chestney, William O., 28 Jan 1887, aged 12, Coal Cleaner, crushed between wagon and screen support
Coe, John Thomas, 08 Aug 1901, aged 16, Clip Boy, He was caught by a full tub which ran a main owing to the clip slipping. The primary cause of the accident was the action of another boy in disobeying orders by allowing a set to collide with a tub and tram, thereby causing a jerk on the rope.
Corner, Matthew, 03 May 1872, aged 53, killed crossing the railway.
Crawley, Patrick, 09 Oct 1893, 11:00 a.m., 6th hour of shift, aged 27, Hewer, He was kirving in the bottom coal, and the band above fell on him. He had been told to set sprags, he neglected to do so.
Cullen, J. S., 26 Jan 1895, 10:15 a.m., 7th hour of shift, aged 13, Flatter, the deceased was left his own flat to go to another one, presumably to look after empty tubs, although it was no part of his business; he rode in on the set from the crossing, and rode out on the full set, off which he was getting when he stumbled, and fell in front of the tubs
Cuthbert, George Edward, 06 Dec 1907 aged 16, Landing Lad.
Davison, John, 05 Mar 1912, (accident: 19 Jan 1912), aged 41, a small piece of stone struck him on the nose, causing him to step suddenly aside, straining himself; he died on March 5th from peritonitis following an operation for strangulated hernia. Buried
Dew, William Hodgson, 27 Jan 1919, aged 19, Putter, killed through being crushed between a tub and a prop.
Dickinson, Robert Frost, 08 Jan 1909, aged 32, Coal cutterman, caught by disc of coal-cutting machine.
Dobson, John George, 25 Jan 1910, aged 19, Putter, crushed by tub.
Dodsworth, George, 07 Jun 1902, aged 35, Onsetter, deceased was crushed between two runaway tubs and the shaft timber ; the road near the shaft on which the empty set of 30 tubs is made up, inclines inbye for its first portion, and then rises, and in order to get the first part of the set sufficiently far.
Dunbar, William Henry, 13 Jan 1925, aged 26, Rolleyway man, crushed by tubs.
Dundas, Samuel, 28 Sep 1896, aged 18, Incline Boy, Through a misunderstanding between the boy at the top of the incline and the deceased with regard to the signals, a full tub was allowed to run a main down the incline which knocked some props out and caused some stone to fall on to the deceased. The boy in charge of the top of the incline should have been more careful.
Dunlavey, John, 18 Jul 1902, aged 14, Trapper, as the deputy was leaving a hewer's place after timbering it up, he was asked by the hewer to provide another plank ; he gave a plank to deceased, who was stationed at a door some distance outbye and who had only worked eight days in the pit, and told him to follow a putter, who was going inbye to the hewer's place with two empty tubs drawn by a pony, and asked the putter to look after him ; the boy followed the putter, and when near the face stood to one side, at a somewhat narrow part of the road, to allow the full tub to be drawn out, when he was caught by it and crushed ; it was no part of deceased's duty to carry timber to the face, and the deputy was wrong in sending him.
Dunleary, Michael, 25 Nov 1899, aged 50, He was killed on the Marsden Rattler. On Saturday night, 25th November. It is supposed that he had missed the last train from Westoe Lane Station, South Shields, and was walking up the line to his home, when he was caught by a light engine which is run at 10.30 p.m., to bring the guards, &c., home after taking the last train up the line.
Dunn, Alfred B., 16 Aug 1918, aged 17, Landing Keeper, caught by a full set of tubs
Elliott, D. R., 08 Nov 1922, (accident: 06 Nov 1922), aged 15, Landing Lad, died as the result of injuries through coming in contact with a prop
Ellub, J. G., 25 Sep 1943, aged 14, Screens, crushed by trucks
Ellwood, Isaac, 17 Jun 1906, (accident: 30 Apr 1906), aged 33, Hewer. On 30th April deceased sprained his side by stepping back quickly to escape some falling top coal, and was off work three weeks when he resumed work up to June 2nd. He was taken to the Ingham Infirmary, South Shields, where he died, and an inquest, after a post-mortem examination was held and medical evidence was given, that death was due to "Appendicitis with subsequent peritonitis and septic pneumonia." The jury found that death was due to natural causes.
Ellwood, William, 27 Nov 1923, aged 16, Driver, died through being run over by a full tub.
Evans, John, 27 Apr 1910, aged 44, Wasteman, caught by engine set.
Farish, John R., 11 Jul 1928, aged 47, Hewer, killed by a fall of stone.
Farish, Joshua, 07 Jul 1899, (accident: 29 Jun 1899), aged 58, Labourer, When repairing a tippler he was crushed between it and a tub which was being taken past. A post-mortem examination showed that death was due to pneumonia accelerated by the accident.
Farrow, Robert Sedgewick, 14 Aug 1921, aged 19, Datal, crushed head.
Fleming, James, 05 Apr 1884, aged 49, Hewer, killed by a fall of stone
Foster, Robert, 03 Sep 1913, aged 24, Painter's Labourer, deceased was engaged in painting a locomotive shed roof when he overbalanced himself moving a plank; he fell a distance of about 16 feet on to his head.
Gerowski, E., 30 Oct 1931, aged 61, Pipeman, struck by pipe.
Gibson, Joseph, 11 Jun 1891, 11:00 a.m., 5th hour of shift, aged 40, Engine Plane Inspector, deceased and others were engaged removing a small fall when another fall occurred and caught the deceased; the roof at this point was broken and timbered. Buried Whitburn Cemetery
Glancy, Michael, 02 Dec 1893, aged 16, Pony driver, killed at the Marsden Colliery Station, South Shields, by falling between the platform and the footboard of the carriage; the men are taken to and from South Shields on the private branch railway, and it appears that the deceased, in his anxiety to secure a seat, endeavoured to get into the carriage before the train came to a standstill, with the result as stated above.
Gledhill, James, 14 Aug 1882, aged 26, Engineman, fell out of kibble down sinking pit.
Goodman, John, 01 Aug 1929, aged 15, Tracer, crushed
Griffiths, Richard Spoors, 08 Dec 1914, aged 19, Driver, deceased was driving two full tubs down to a landing when the second tub became derailed; the deputy uncoupled the tubs, and the pony immediately started away; in grasping the check rein after the tub had moved about 5 feet, the driver got his head between the side of the tub and a prop; he was instantly killed.
Grimwood, John, 06 Oct 1935, (accident: 04 Oct 1935), aged 62, Hewer, killed by a fall of stone.
Haddick, Robert, 14 Feb 1933, aged 28, Rolleyway man, crushed by tubs. Buried Whitburn Cemetery
Harper, George, 28 Feb 1944, aged 33, Filler, killed by a fall of stone.
Hastings, Robert Palmer, 19 Dec 1907, (accident: 18 Dec 1907), aged 14, Haulage lad, deceased worked near the bottom of a self-acting incline about 300 yards long laid with double way the whole distance, and provided with a travelling way on one side and the statutory refuge holes. The sets consisted of 16 tubs. During a temporary cessation of work he left the point at which he was employed and travelled up the incline to see a companion who worked at the top. While he was on the incline the sets began to run and he was caught by them at meetings. The empty set had four of its tubs derailed. He had been warned not to leave his post. The Local Inspectors in their report stated "Find that he was caught by the set and that he was not at his work. Buried Whitburn Cemetery
Hauxwell, Robert, 28 Jan 1914, (accident: 27 Jan 1914), aged 15, Landing Lad, deceased was walking outbye at the end of his shift, along a separate travelling road, when he purposely kept behind two other lads he was walking with, making his way through an open but fenced off stenton, passing over two fences on to the main haulage plane, knowing that a set of 34 full tubs would be shortly passing along towards the shaft; it is supposed that in trying to get on to the set to have a ride outbye, he fell; he was found shortly afterwards by the Overman, who heard him shouting for help; both of his legs were fractured above the ankles, and he died a few hours later.
Henderson, Charles, 16 Mar 1910, aged 28, Shaftman, caught by cage.
Hindson, J. W., 12 Dec 1942, aged 42, Filler, crushed by tubs
Hood, Robert, 23 Apr 1933, aged 47, Deputy, killed by a fall of stone.
Hopper, John, 05 Mar 1890, 2:00 p.m., 4th hour of shift, aged 41, Hewer, Fall of coal whilst working under it.
Howden, Frederick W., 15 Dec 1916, aged 15, Landing Keeper, killed through falling out of a cage which was ascending in the shaft
Howey, John William, 11 Feb 1907, aged 34, Stoneman, killed by a fall of roof.
Hughes, William, 17 Feb 1903, (accident: 24 Sep 1901), aged 52, Shifter, Deceased and two other men were timbering on an engine plane, and while deceased was holding up one end of a balk, one of his mates the other end, and the third man putting in a middle prop as a temporary support, a small quantity of stone fell and all appeared to have attempted to jump clear, but deceased caught his foot against the rail and the balk fell on his back and severely injured his spine. He lingered until death, unable to work, and as the death took place more than a year after the accident it is not included.
Hunter, William, 03 Oct 1903, (accident: 02 Oct 1903), aged 62, Shifter, This accident occurred on a colliery railway, which is also used as a passenger line and is worked under Board of Trade rules. The accident happened on a pay Friday night after deceased had received his pay and had had some liquor. He was run over by a train and both legs severed. He was removed to the South Shields Infirmary where he died.
Hutchins, William Joseph, 26 Jun 1913, aged 38, Hewer, deceased was sitting hewing when a large stone fell from a slippery parting in the roof and broke his neck; he told the putter a few minutes before that he would get the deputy to put a prop up when he came in; the timbering rules allowed the men too much latitude, and this accident was the unfortunate result.
Hutchinson, Thomas William, 30 Sep 1927, aged 35, Horse keeper, crushed.
Irvine, Robert, 21 Oct 1914, aged 27, Hewer, Deceased was attempting to work underneath the ramble or roof stone in a pillar working, and had set a prop and plank underneath the edge. Whilst he was hewing, a piece of stone 3 feet by 2 feet by 1 foot 10 inches canted the timber out and fell on to him, killing him instantly.
Jager, Charles William, 10 Jul 1948, aged 50. Packer and drawer. Killed by a fall of stone. On the day of the accident Mr Jager was not meant to be at work, his son Thomas Jager had been delayed at sea so he went to work instead.
Buried Harton Cemetery.
Jefferson, J., 04 Aug 1936, aged 37, killed by a fall of stone
Johnson, Francis B., 11 Jun 1890, 4:30 p.m., 11th hour of shift, aged 35, Engineer, crushed by tubs on an endless rope incline.
Jopling, W., 28 Mar 1933, aged 16, Datal, crushed by tubs
Judge, B., 31 Jan 1946, (accident: 30 Jan 1946), aged 60, Shifter, died from injuries received.
Kane, Francis, 11 Jul 1928, aged 34, Hewer, killed by a fall of stone
Kay, Thomas, 26 Feb 1930, aged 26, Rolleyway man, killed by a fall of stone
Knox, Henry, 25 Sep 1894, 9:40 p.m., 4th hour of shift, aged 30, Hewer Deceased was found under a stone, which had fallen while he was at work.
Liddle, Edward, 18 Aug 1893, 2:20 a.m., aged 32, Deputy, Deceased and another deputy were drawing timber, and had almost finished when a heavy fall took place and caught deceased. This is one of the usual sort of avoidable accidents to deputies when drawing juds. The prop he was engaged with should apparently have been drawn at an earlier stage.
Lilley, Thomas, 05 Aug 1900, aged 30, Shifter, He was assisting a pumpman to lay a range of pipes, and in order to get a straight lead he knocked out a prop, but omitted to set another in its place. Shortly afterwards, when passing the spot where the prop had been removed, a large stone fell.
Lindgreen, John, 08 Oct 1913, aged 27, Coal cutter, deceased was fatally injured by a fall of roof, whilst in his working place; the place was not timbered in accordance with the timbering rules
Lowdon, George, 14 Aug 1912, aged 36, Wagonway man, deceased was assisting to remove a fall of roof in the rolley-way, which had been caused by the engine-set; he was in the act of testing the roof when a further fall occurred, fatally injuring him, Buried: Whitburn Cemetery.
Makepeace, James, 28 Nov 1889, (accident: 27 Nov 1889), aged 21, Weighman, crushed by wagons. Taken to Ingham Infirmary where the next day, his leg was amputated. He died an hour later. The inquest revealed that if the decision to amputate had not been delayed by his friends he might have stood a better chance of survival. Buried at St Peters, Harton.
Makepeace, Wilson, 01 Oct 1887, aged 23. Jumping from the Marsden Rattler whilst in motion he stumbled and fell under the wheels. Buried at St Peters, Harton. (brother of above).
Marsden, William, 30 Mar 1893, (accident: 08 Jun 1892, 2:30 a.m., 5th hour of shift), aged 41, Deputy, In ascending or descending a "staple," a deputy who was with the deceased slipped and fell on to him. They were making an inspection of the mine previous to the pit starting work. Marsden died 30th March, 1893
Marshall, John, 23 Jul 1909, aged 19, Engine plane lad, caught by runaway tubs.
McGee, Dennis, 18 Jun 1911, (accident: 03 Oct 1910), aged 62, Wasteman, killed by a fall of stone.
McGinley, Richard, 19 Apr 1928, (accident: 07 Nov 1927), aged 16, Landing Lad, crushed.
McGlave, James, 13 Apr 1944, aged 63, Drawer, killed by a fall of stone
McKenna, Thomas, 05 Feb 1897, aged 31, Hewer, He was working in a place in a "broken" district and at the time was nicking. The accident was due entirely to carelessness. The overman had been in about half an hour before and told him to come from under the coal until timber had been set. He apparently went on nicking without any timber set when the coal came away. There was plenty of loose timber in the place.
McMillan, James, 17 Dec 1924, (accident: 05 Dec 1924), aged 18, Plane boy, through jumping from a railway carriage whilst the train was in motion.
McQuade, Henry, 05 Mar 1887, aged 16, Sending Minder, killed by a fall of stone
McTavy, Hugh Toner, 05 Aug 1926, (accident: 11 Feb 1924), aged 34, Shifter, killed by a fall of stone.
Millet, Joseph, 24 Aug 1909, aged 16, Landing lad, crushed by tubs in landing
Moon, William, 04 Apr 1890, 8:00 p.m., 12th hour of shift, aged 38, Shaftman, when engaged taking out a wire rope conductor in the shaft, deceased fell off the top of the cage a depth of 600 feet.
Morton, Jacob, 17 Nov 1892, aged 38.
Murphy, W., 1918, [approximate date]
Naylor, Thomas, 07 Feb 1921, (accident: 01 Jul 1919), aged 68, Shifter.
Newham, Robert Charlton, 26 Apr 1934, aged 44, Wagonway man, crushed.
Newman, John, 25 Nov 1891, 6:00 p.m., 8th hour of shift, aged 31, Deputy, caught by a fall of stone when drawing timber.
Newton, Richard, 1896, aged 51, was knocked down by the locomotive and killed when trespassing on the railway at night [fatality reported during the year but not classified as a colliery accident]
O'Connor, William, 19 Feb 1900, aged 38, Hewer, He was helping a putter to lift a full tub on to the road at a jud turn. As soon as the tub was on the rails, the pony pushed back, and deceased was caught in a stooping position between the full tub and an empty one.
Ogilvie, John, 22 Aug 1901, (accident: 18 Jul 1901), sprained his side; a post mortem examination was held and, after hearing the medical evidence, the jury returned a verdict of death from natural causes.
Ogilvie, Robert Lake, 04 Nov 1936, aged 19, Datal, runaway tubs
Parker, Ralph Forster, 02 Oct 1905, aged 14, Trapper,
Patchett, John, 05 Apr 1889, aged 13, Driver, pony stumbled and knocked a prop out causing a stone to fall from the roof.
Pattison, John, 08 Apr 1911, aged 58, Stoneman, killed by a fall of stone
Pease, George, 21 Apr 1923, (accident: 04 May 1922), aged 60, Hewer, crushed.
Perry, John, 09 Sep 1897, aged 53, Stoneman, Deceased and others had fired a shot in the left-hand side, which had no doubt loosened the top stone on the other side, where another shot was prepared. A jagged stone had been left on the top of a plank, and deceased decided to get it down. In doing so, he loosened the stone on the right-hand side of the place, which came away upon him. There was no necessity for him to go under the stone.
Pyle, William Thomas, 24 Dec 1906, (accident: 15 Nov 1906), aged 57, Shifter
Reed, George, 19 Jan 1903, aged 36, Hewer, A small pillar of coal known as a "stook" was being taken out in the second or broken workings in the Bensham seam when some coal from it suddenly fell upon deceased. The coal usually sticks to the roof, but in this case it came away easily. The Local Inspectors examined the place, and were of opinion that deceased "met with his death accidentally."
Rickett, George Wakefield, 11 Apr 1938, aged 17, Datal, tubs amain.
Robinson, J. R., 28 Dec 1938, aged 40, Deputy, crushed by tubs
Robinson, John, 07 Jul 1902, aged 37, Hewer, while hewing at the face of a bord in the Bensham seam, a stone fell from the roof, canting out some timber ; a hitch crossed the place at an angle, and may have weakened the stone.
Robson, Thomas W., 18 Dec 1914, (accident: 04 Dec 1914), aged 45, Hewer
Sedgewick, Robert, 23 Aug 1902, (accident: 20 Nov 1901), aged 43, Rolleyway man, the return wheel of an endless rope haulage is fixed under the kip near the shaft ; while the haulage was standing deceased was oiling the wheel and was caught by it when it started ; he did not give any directions for the haulage to stand while he was so engaged
Shaw, Matthew, 17 Feb 1892, 8:30 p.m., 4th hour of shift, aged 50, Hewer, He was busy nicking, when a stone fell without warning, from a slippery parting.
Sibbald, James Christopher, 27 Jul 1942, aged 47, Salvage, killed by a fall of stone.
Sickling, Fred, 24 Dec 1914, (accident: 30 Nov 1914), aged 17, Landing Lad, deceased, after having rapped the full set away from the landing on the main haulage, walked with two other lads up the haulage plane, which was a wide road with a clear 4 feet 6 inches travelling way, and as the set passed them they took hold of the tubs and ran by the side; the second had tripped over a "fluke," and deceased, who was following, fell over him and his left leg was caught by the tubs; he died three weeks later, Buried: Whitburn Cemetery.
Simmons, Thomas, 06 Jun 1889, aged 25, Deputy, fall of roof while drawing out props
Smith, John Robert, 13 Jun 1930, aged 41, Rolleyway man, runaway tubs,
Smith, Matthew Hurst, 06 Oct 1899, aged 21, Screenman, He was lowering down two empty wagons under the screens and, according to his own statement, was crushed between them whilst attempting to couple them when in motion.
Smith, Robert, 07 Jul 1891, aged 28, Locomotive Driver, caught his head against a foot-bridge and was almost immediately killed.
Snowden, Robert Mathison, 15 Dec 1934, Drawer, killed by a fall of stone
Soady, Robert, 14 Feb 1905, aged 34, Timber drawer.
Soulsby, Robert Bowman, 27 Feb 1918, aged 15,
Spraggon, Shotton, 05 Feb 1932, aged 56, Stoneman crushed by tubs, Buried: Whitburn Cemetery.
Stevens, Thomas, 17 Feb 1906, (accident: 16 Feb 1906), aged 17, Landing Keeper, struck by set.
Stubley, Thomas L., 19 Mar 1946, aged 20, Haulage.
Sutton, James, 18 Jul 1906, (accident: 12 Jul 1906), aged 52, Hewer
Taylor, David, 04 Nov 1966, aged 59, died from injuries received.
Tearney, Joseph, 01 Jan 1930, (accident: 23 Jul 1928), aged 40, Wasteman, died from injuries received
Thompson, H. E., 02 Jul 1927, aged 54, Rolleyway man, crushed by tubs
Thompson, John George, 1896, Hewer, It was alleged that John George Thompson, a hewer, employed at Whitburn Colliery, had died from an injury received in the pit, but after hearing the evidence of the doctor, who made a post mortem examination, the jury returned a verdict of "died from heart disease
Urwin, James, 18 Aug 1915, aged 55.
Waters, Robert, 20 May 1938, (accident: 19 May 1938), aged 17, Datal, received fatal injuries through being struck by a tub.
Weir, John Thomas, 04 May 1895, 12:15 a.m., 1st hour of shift, aged 34, Hewer, a large fall of stone occurred when the deceased and two other men were taking some side coal off in their working place, and caught deceased; the stone fell from "slips" or "jacks" in the roof, which were not detected beforehand.
Wetheral, James, 22 Mar 1900, aged 19, Putter, A full set was off the road on the engine bank, and a deputy and putter uncoupled three tubs and stayed them up. Unfortunately the stay gave way, and the full tubs ran amain and caught deceased at the bank bottom.
Wilkinson, Joseph, 19 Dec 1935, aged 46. Buried: Whitburn Cemetery
Wilkinson, Richard, 23 Sep 1895, 6:30 a.m., 7th hour of shift, aged 55, Stoneman, deceased and another man were widening the road, and in replacing the timber, the baulks were set 4 feet instead of 6 feet apart; nevertheless, a stone fell from between two of them
Wilkinson, Robert McKenzie, 16 Aug 1895, 6:45 p.m., 4th hour of shift, aged 17, Putter, the deceased was found crushed between the roof and the top of a tub; the road was in good order, and there was no evidence to show who he came to be in that position, Buried: Whitburn Cemetery
Wilson, Thomas Nixon, 17 Feb 1900, aged 36, Onsetter, The top deck had been loaded and the cage was being raised, when the deceased was pushed against it by a heavy timber tram which he was going to put into the empty road. He was drawn up by the cage and crushed between it and the shaft timber.
Winter, John Thomas Ingram, 31 Dec 1902, aged 18, Screener, seven lines of rails from seven coal belts converge gradually until all are merged in one line of rails ; a truck loaded at No. 2 belt had been moved forward a few yards and stood in such a position that a track deceased was moving forward from No. 1 belt would not clear it, and this deceased recognised after the truck he was engaged with began to move, and he attempted to stop it by getting in between the trucks and applying the brake, and was so crushed that he died the same day.
Young, G. R., 13 Dec 1930, aged 20, Clip Boy, crushed
Young, Preston, 19 Jun 1901, aged 63, Underground Mason, The deceased and another man were pointing wood brattice in a working headway and had just sat down to get their "bait" when a flag of stone three or four inches thick fell away breaking off at the edge of the brattice props Buried: Whitburn Cemetery
In 1907 an extraordinary and shocking case of a back-overman, Daniel Mark Bence, aged 45, losing himself in the mine and eventually dying of starvation. He was last seen alive in the mine about 9.15 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2nd, and nothing was seen of him again till his dead body was discovered at 9.15 a.m. on May 7th. At 7.30 a.m. on the morning of April 2nd he arranged with the fore-overman to visit the men working in the Fourth West Cross-cut, splitting the pillars in the Bensham seam. Two sets of men were at work in this district separated by some abandoned workings. The fore-overman accompanied Bence into the district, which is about 1½ miles from the pit bottom, and whilst walking there, he said he would show Bence a short cut from the one set of men to the other, and took him through two manhole doors into the return airway and along it to the Barrier Flat where the first set of men were working. They parted company at some separation doors leading into another district and before doing so, the fore-overman asked Bence if he knew the place and the road back and Bence said he recognised where he was and knew the way back and he would go and visit the men in the barrier and then return by the way he had come in, viz., the short cut and thence on to the other set of men, Bence then visited all the men in the Barrier Flat and was last seen alive by a putter at the flat about 9.15 a.m., but no remarks passed between them. In the ordinary course he should have returned to the pit bottom about 1.30 p.m., and his absence was at once noticed, as nothing unusual had occurred in the working of the mine to account for it.
Four or five deputies and the back-overman immediately returned and searched about the roads on the short cut it was surmised he would take when travelling from the men in the Barrier Flat to the other men. At 7 p.m. about 30 men joined in the search and at about 10 p.m. organised search began, between 40 and 50 men, stonemen, deputies, and officials, assembled and concentrated their efforts in searching the abandoned workings south of the Barrier Flat and immediately adjoining the shorter route shown him by the fore-overman in the morning, the impression being that in returning this was to get to the other men, Bence had taken the wrong turn and lost himself in the abandoned split pillars and been buried under a fall of roof. These falls were systematically examined and turned over wherever possible, the searchers shouting and jowling at each road end. The night shift hewers descended at 5 p.m. and worked their shift, but the rest of the men held a meeting and decided not to come to work for the remainder of the week or until Bence was found ; the colliery consequently was idle until April 8th.
In the meantime the search was prosecuted with resolute devotion and unremitting zeal, and eventually on May 7th Bence’s body was found in the abandoned workings about midway between the two sets of men he had to visit and about 300 yards from the last working place he had visited and on the opposite side of the Barrier workings to that where it was conjectured he might have lost himself. He was lying on his back, hands on breast, against the side of the coal in a split which had been driven 6 yards wide through a pillar and was completely hemmed in though not touched by a fall of roof, the stones of which were too heavy for him to lift. His stick and leather cap were lying by his side and a pencil was stuck in one of the ventilation hole of the latter. His watch and note-book were underneath him and he had taken one of his boots off. It is rather singular that he had written nothing in his note-book. The place varied in height from 18 inches to 2 feet. The following day his lamp was found about 36 yards from the body. It had a screw lock and all the parts were taken to pieces and laid regularly on the floor ; it was not damaged. About a tablespoon of oil was in the oil pot. The pricker was bent back ; the deceased may have done this to drink the oil.
A post-mortem examination of the body was made in the presence of three medical men ; they found no injuries to the body, no bones broken, all the organs healthy, no sign of poison, and they could not account for death except by starvation.
During Bence’s conversation with the fore-overman in the morning he had been regretting that there was not a shorter route between his men, that he had tried to find a shorter way two or three weeks previously but had not succeeded. The distance from one set of men to the other by the route shown him by the fore-overman is about 1,200 yards, and the distance across the abandoned workings is only 300 yards, and although these workings were abandoned only five months previously owing to "creep" coming on, they were in an unsafe state and to a large extent closed by falls of roof. No one knew this better than Bence or imagined that he would attempt to cross them, as he was known to be a cautious man. But his intimate knowledge of these workings has probably led him to endeavour to find a short cut through, that in doing so he has lost his light and in trying to find his way out in the dark he has been shut off and entombed by a heavy fall of roof and eventually starved to death.
During the search, parties of men were near where the body was ultimately found.
A curious feature about the business was that deceased made a written report as to the state in which he found the workings before he commenced his round, even going the length of stating he had found gas at a point where it was generally observed.
It may be stated in connection with this fatality that had Bence’s lamp been fitted with an internal igniting apparatus his life would probably not have been lost.
Source: 1907 Mines Inspectors Report (Cd 4045), Newcastle District (No. 3) by J. B. Atkinson, H.M. Inspector of Mines, Page: 16
Glossary of Mining Terms and Pitmatic.
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