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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:32 pm 
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Location: Staffordshire
The Times
Friday March 23 1962
16 Miners killed by explosion
Nurse goes down to aid injured.
From our northern correspondent
Burnley March 22

Sixteen miners were killed by a coal explosion at Hapton Valley Colliery, near here, this morning. A further 21 men were injured. Tonight it was stated that one of them was very seriously ill and the condition of 13 others was serious.
Officials of the North Western Divisional Coal Board were tonight trying to establish the cause of the explosion, which occurred at one end of the 140-yard-long No.2 face of the Union seam, 250 yards below ground at the 100-year old pit.
"There was a terrible blast and we were all blown 10 or 15 yards along the face", said Mr. Jack Murray, aged 36, of Jockey Street, Burnley, senior man of the 90 fillers who were shovelling coal on their hands and knees. Other workers were close behind when the explosion happened at 9:45a.m.
"The next thing I knew was that I couldn't see a thing because of the thickness of coal dust in the air", said Mr. Murray, who suffered burns on his arms. "Some of the other 170 men working in the pit at the time were on the spot almost immediately with stretchers to carry out the wounded."

Gave Morphia
While two rescue teams raced from the coalfield's station at Boothstown, the pit's resident nursing sister, Mrs Maud Waggett, aged 45, put on overalls and helmet and went to the face to give morphia to wounded and dying men.
Shortly afterwards she was joined by the pit doctor, Dr. Francis Halliwell, who had been called from another pit. He injected pain-relieving drugs and dressed the burns of the injured men.
"It was like a battlefield down there", said another collier, Mr. T. Allison, aged 24, of Irene Street, Burnley. "We were working a quarter of a mile away when our ears 'popped' and a rush of air filled the working with dust. Coal tubs 1,400 yards away were blown over."
Relatives were joined by the Bishop of Burnley, The Rt. Rev. G. Holderness, and other clergy as they clustered in the yard of the pit they know as "Happy Valley" for four hours until the last of the victims was brought out along a 1,800-yard drift roadway.
All those killed were from Burnley, among them a miner whose wife is expecting a fourth child, two young men who were to have been married soon, and a 16-year-old boy whose job it was to take supplies to the coal face. Relatives of the dead were taken to the pit tonight by police to identify the bodies of the men.

Quick Response
Mr. J. Anderton, chairman of the divisional board, said rescue, police and ambulance workers could not have repsonded more quickly to the tragedy.
It is the first in the Lancashire coalfields since 1959, when five men lost their lives in an accident at Bickershaw Colliery, and the biggest in the division since nationalization.
An investigation into the cause of the explosion was started tonight. A mobile laboratory was set up at the pithead and samples were brought from the coalface. Below ground a team of officials made a technical examination.

A full report into the cause of the explosion can be read at http://www.dmm2.org.uk/uknames/1845-01.htm

Casualties - Taken from http://www.dmm.org.uk/mindex.htm

Killed
Christopher William Brown, Age 55, Driller
Samson Henry Bullen, Age 44, Deputy
James Cummings, Age 19, Supplies Man
Robert Dunston, Age 26, Ripper
Stanley Faulkes, Age 41, Filler
John William Halstead, Age 53, Deputy/Shotfirer
George Hartley, Age 32, Mechanic
Raymond Ernest Howarth, Age 20, Electrician
Tom Isherwood, Age 49, Face Scraper Operator
Donald Stewart McGoogan, Age 28, Mechanic
Garry Pickles, Age 22, Electrician
John Robinson, Age 24, Filler
Donald Rushton, Age 33, Ripper
Robert Shuttleworth, Age 33, Filler
Ronnie anthiny Taylor, Age 16, Supplies Man
Benjamin Wals, Age 25, Filler

Died from injuries
John Grieg Barritt, Age 23, Electrician
Joseph Forrest, Age 17, Supplies Man
Peter tinsley, Age 16, Apprentice Electrician

Seriously Injured
James Allen, Age 48, Conveyor Maintenance Man
Neville Edward Barker, Age 24, Filler
Brian Bullen, Age 23, Filler
George Dyson, Age 34, Filler
Alan Fisk, Age 24, Filler
Brian Greenwood, Age 23, Filler
John Heywood, Age 24, Filler
Joseph Madden, Age 46, Filler
Jack Myers, Age 35, Filler
John Pinder, Age 28, Filler
Robert Pinder, Age 25, Filler
Henry Dransfield Walker, Age 39, filler
George Walsh, Age 21, Filler

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:39 pm 
Spider Lady
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Location: Staffordshire
The Times
Saturday Mar 24, 1962
Explosion Colliery Declared Safe
Hapton Valley colliery, near Burnley, where 16 miners died in an explosion on Thursday, was declared safe for work yesterday.
There will be a full resumption of work on Monday morning. A preparatory shift will be called in tomorrow night.
This was announced yesterday after Coal Board and trade union officials had spent many hours at the pit making investigations and tests. Of 12 injured miners in hospital last night, five were seriously ill.
Mr. Wood, Minister of Power, said in the Commons that a public inquiry would be held into the explosion. He associated himself with the tribute paid by Mr. Gunter, Labour member for Southwark, to the "almost incredible heroism" of the men who went to search for the dead and injured.
Mr. Wood yesterday received a telegram from the Queen, which said: "Please convey my very sincere sympathy to the relatives of those killed and to all who have been injured in the explosion at the Hapton Valley Pit."

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 Post subject: Mine Victim Dies
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:41 pm 
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The Times
Tuesday Mar 27 1962

Mine Victim Dies
Joe Forrest, aged 17, the youngest of the miners detained in Burnley Victoria Hospital after Thursday's explosion at the Hapton Valley Colliery, Lancashire, has died. This brings the death toll to 17 with 37 injured.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:44 pm 
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My Dad worked at Hapton Valley pit, and a few days before the disaster he was asked to work in the office for less money. After the explosion the firm was short of miners so my Dad went back to working in the mine.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:46 pm 
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The Times
Wednesday Mar 28 1962
Mine Disaster Death Roll Rises to 18
The death roll of last week's disaster at the Hapton Valley Colliery rose to 18 yesterday with the death of Peter Tinsley, aged 16, of Clive Street, Burnley. He was the second 16-year-old victim of the disaster to die. On Monday a 17-year-old miner died.
Of the injured men still in Burnley Victoria Hospital, two, Mr. J. Barritt and Mr. A. Fisk were said to be dangerously ill, while the remaining eight there were comfortable. The funerals of 11 of the victims were held yesterday at Burnley.

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Last edited by Mel on Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Pit Death Roll Now 19
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:50 pm 
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The Times
Monday Apr 2 1962
Pit Death Roll Now 19
The death role in the disaster at Hapton Valley Colliery, Lancashire, rose to 19 yesterday when John Barritt, aged 23, of Coal Clough Lane, burnley died in hospital.

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 Post subject: No Contraband on Miners
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:04 pm 
Spider Lady
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Location: Staffordshire
The Times
Tuesday Jun 19 1962

No Contraband on Miners
Explosion Inquiry Evidence

Nothing was found among the personal effects of the miners who died in the explosion at Hapton Valley Colliery, Lancashire, on March 22 which could have produced a spark or a light, a police officer said at a Ministry of Power inquiry which opened at Burnley yesterday. Mr. H. S. Stephenson, chief inspector of mines, presided
Police-constable alec Widdicks, who said that he was responsible for the victims' property, was replying to Mr. R. H. Clough, north-western divisional inspector of mines and quarries, who had asked whether there was anything in the nature of smoking materials which could produce a spark or light.
Sixteen miners were killed in the pit. Two others died later.
Dr. Charles K. Hefferman, of Common Lane, Balderstone, consultant pathologist to Blackburn group of hospitals, said it was possible that seven of the men, whose deaths were attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning, could have walked some distance - perhaps 50 yards - while breathing carbon monoxide.
Police-constable John Noel Bonell said that he found on the body of Mr. John William Halstead a shotfirer's key and a bag or case of detonators. There were 31 detonators in a leather case. He thought the shotfirer's key was loose in a pocket but the clothing was so badly burnt that it was difficult to determine where it was. The detonator case was locked.

"Good Ventilation"
Mr. Leslie Wheeldin, aged 28 captain of a rescue team said that a sepf-contained breathing apparatus was used on the first examination to examine the atmosphere. He found 0.206 per cent carbon monoxide, good ventilation, no smoke or haze and there was a slight smell resembling that following a fire. Another member of the team tested for inflammable gas but did not find any.
Mr. Alan Fisk, aged 25, filler, of rosehill Road, Burnley described the last few minutes before the explosion. He said he was helping the shotfirer, Mr Jack Halstead, one of the victims, to prepare the shot holes. "He fired the shot. There was a bang and that's all I remember. I heard him turn his battery key and then there was the bang. I had tested for gas and did not find any".
The hearing was adjourned until today.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:14 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Burnley Lancashire
I remember the day of the Hapton Valley pit disaster very well. A few weeks earlier I had undergone knee surgery and on that fateful day I was waiting for a Harle Syke bus at the Mitre after visiting our GP. Several ambulances passed me their sirens screaming, later that day I heard what had happened.

During the summer months I had to go to the Victoria Hospital for physiotherapy, whilst I was there many of the injured miners were also there having physiotherapy. I will never forget the heartbreaking scenes watching grown men cry as they had their painful treatment. I was just 16 at the time and am now 61 but the memory is still clear in my mind.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 9:56 pm 
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I was watching a film today about Burnley and it was on there that I first heard about this disaster. I was straight on the net looking for info.
Do they still have a memorial service Maggie. On the video I was watching, it said that a service was still held today. I think the film is ony about 7 or 8 years old.

For those of you that go, the film is the one we will hopefully be watching at the next meeting on the 28th November.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:41 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:14 pm
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Location: Burnley Lancashire
Mel I think that a memorial service is held every year for the miners who died, I found this article:
Pit disaster victims remembered

From the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, first published Monday 18th Mar 2002.

A MEMORIAL service to mark the 40th anniversary of the Hapton Valley pit disaster was attended by more than 100 people yesterday.

Friends and relatives of the 19 miners who were killed in the explosion on March 22, 1962, gathered at the memorial stone dedicated to them in Burnley Cemetery at noon.

Two of the youngest survivors, George Walsh and Brian Greenwood, remembered their colleagues as wreaths were laid by members of the community and the Mayor of Burnley, Councillor Jack Alston.

They were working at the face of the pit when disaster struck.

Mr Walsh, 61, of Rush Street, said: "I was one of the youngest who came out alive but I was burned all over and was in hospital for more than three weeks. Every year we have a good turnout at the memorial service which is nice."

Mr Greenwood, 60, of Coal Clough Lane, said: "It is nice to see old friends again. I had my face and hands burned but I do class myself as one of the lucky ones. George was fighting for his life."

Colleague John Pinder, 68, of Manchester Road, Hapton, was another of the 13 men injured in the explosion.

He said: "I think the turnout was good and shows that people still think about it and still remember the people who were killed. We don't ever want to forget what those lads went through.

"We were the lucky ones. I was burned from head to foot but they did a good job at the hospital and I've only two scars.

"We were close friends of the men who died. Hapton Valley was a very close community. We all knew each other and all pulled each other through. Everyone wanted to help one another.

"The disaster made people realise who they were, what sort of industry we worked in and what sort of people we worked with."

The service was led by Father John Haigh, of St Mark's Church, in Rossendale Road, during which the hymns The Lord's My Shepherd and Abide With Me were sung.

Fr Haigh said: "Since we last met 12 months ago Burnley has been in the news a lot and not for good things. It has been portrayed as an area of social exclusion, racial tension and breaking down of communities but today we celebrate Burnley as a community. A borough which nurtured these men who lost their lives.

"It's a place of good comradeship among miners and has a tradition of public service. Although there are no miners working in Burnley any more that great community spirit is what we need."

Bob Clark, a trustee of the Hapton Valley Disaster Fund and a member of the rescue team, said he was overwhelmed with the turnout. "It was an absolutely tremendous response to say it was 40 years ago. The mining community was such a close-knit community."

Archive Home
From the Lancashire Evening Telegraph
http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk
© Newsquest Media Group 2002

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 3:10 pm 
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Thanks Maggie.

It's good to know that this is still remembered in Burnley.

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