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Alan EmailAlan Beales Database of Fatalities in the Coal Fields

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Sheila Blackburn - My great uncle Albert Gibson was killed at Desford Colliery, Bagworth 1916

Sheila Blackburn
13 January 2013
My great uncle Albert Gibson was killed at Desford Colliery, Bagworth 1916
In Memory

Dear Alan,

I would be very grateful if you would mention my great uncle Albert Gibson in your list of mining casualties. Here are the details for your consideration:

Albert Gibson was aged thirty when he was killed as a result of a coal fall on the morning of 11 July 1916. He was working at Desford Colliery, Bagworth.

At the Inquest, Albert was described as a 'careful miner', and the verdict was accidental death.

His injuries were considerable: Albert was found in a kneeling position with his head doubled under. A piece of coal weighing six hundredweight pinned him to the ground. Albert's inquest and the verdict on the cause of his death were published in the 'Hinckley and Bosworth Herald', Saturday 15 July 1916. Albert was buried in Hinckley.

Many thanks for your assistance.

Sheila Blackburn
(Grandaughter of Albert's older sister Kate Gibson).




 An inquest was held at Bagworth yesterday, (Thursday) on Albert Gibson aged 30 years of Upper Bond Street, Hinckley who was killed by a fall of roof at the Desford Colliery at Bagworth on Tuesday morning.  The Inquest, which was held by Mr Frank Bouskell, deputy coroner was attended by Mr Hepplewhite, of Tamworth (HM Inspector of Mines), Mr Crane (representing the mine officials) and Mr L Gowdridge (miner’s agent).

James Henry Gibson, of Barlestone, said the deceased, his brother, was employed as a holer at Desford Colliery. When witness last saw him at Hinckley he was in good health, being a strong, healthy man with good hearing and eyesight.

Dr James Hamilton of Coalville, who examined the body after the accident, described the injuries.  The lower hip was split the left side of the body crushed generally, the chest bruised, the left forearm fractured, the back severely lacerated and bruised and the skull fractured.

Henry Brown, of Desford, said that soon after 8:30am on Tuesday morning he heard a fall in the stall in which deceased was working.  He at once ran to see what was wrong and found deceased under a large piece of coal that had slipped out. He called for assistance and then fetched the deputy Mr Phipps.  So far as he knew there was nothing about to indicate the cause of the fall. No shot had been fired that day to disturb the coal.

Replying to Mr Hepplewhite, the witness said Gibson was entirely buried by the fall. He could not account for the accident.
John Neville Wallbank, of Thornton, also employed as a holer, said he was working by the side of deceased at 8:30 a.m.  As they were to commence working at that spot witness agreed to deceased’s suggestion that some ‘brobs’ (short props) should be put up.  A few minutes later witness heard a fall and someone shout out.  He ran in the direction of the fall and saw deceased under a large piece of coal.  He did not think deceased was working when the fall occurred. This part of the stall had not been worked since last Friday but at 7:15 am on Tuesday everything near it was correct the props and sprags (A wooden or steel device for holding up coals to prevent falling) being in the correct position. Deceased was a careful miner.

Questioned by Mr Hepplewhite, witness said he spragged the place where the fall occurred last Friday. It penetrated to 6 ft 6 inches, three brobs and a sprag being used.


James Phipps, the deputy, who resides at Bagworth, said he was in charge of the stall.  He made his first examination at 8 a.m. when everything appeared all right.  Deceased and others were then working at the right hand end of the stall holing.  He spoke to the stallman, and no complaints were made.  On being informed of the accident he at once went to the spot and saw deceased lying dead, a large piece of coal having fallen on him. The brob was in the correct position, and the sprag was lifted out. Deceased was not actually working at the spot.

In reply to questions, witness said he did not examine the spot more particularly that morning than at any other time. He had seen the sprags since, and so far as he could see they were all sound.  So were the brobs.  There was no weight on the roof when he made the examination. He could only account for the accident by coal falling over the sprags and breaking them. There were no tools near. Plenty of suitable brobs were handy.

A chargeman named Henry Grodridge, of Barlestone, said he was working with deceased at 8:30 a.m. He was then in the proper end of the stall.  Some 15 minutes later he heard the fall, and proceeded to the spot, found deceased in a kneeling position with his head doubled under him, a large piece of coal weighing six hundred weight pinioning him to the ground. After the coal had been broken deceased was dragged out, but he was quite dead. He had not the slightest idea what deceased was doing at the particular spot. That part of the stall had not been worked since last Friday.  It was then properly propped up and made quite safe.  On examining the spot after the accident he found the brob in its correct position.  Nothing had been done that morning that would cause the coal to fall.

The jury returned a verdict of “accidental death.”

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