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Re Gedling Colliery Fatal Accidents

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Fatal Accident No 97

South Nott’s Echo Saturday 28-11-1953

Arnold Man Killed at Gedling Colliery, Fall of Roof Unexplained at Inquest

An inquest was held at the Carlton Council Offices, on Wednesday, on Mr Howard Renshaw, aged 27, of 44, Wilbert Road, Arnold, the first man to be fatally injured while working on the coal face at Gedling Colliery for seven years. Mr C A Mack the Nottingham District Coroner, told the jury that had been working two and a half miles from the pithead on Wednesday November 11th when he was buried by a roof fall. Assistance arrived immediately but further small falls delayed efforts to release him. When he was eventually released he had died from his injuries. It is not known how or why the fall happened, no one working near could so what Mr Renshaw was doing before the fall. Another miner injured by the fall Mr G Gwaldzinski was still in hospital there was nothing however that he could tell them. Mr William Greenwell of 117, Vale Road Gedling said that as a deputy he had been in charge of the night shift on the face where Mr Renshaw was working. He had made two inspections during the early morning and was satisfied he conditions were safe for men to work there was adequate supports for the roof. Mr Eric Saywell, another deputy of 8, Norbett Road, Arnold, said he had taken over from Mr Greenwell at 7-15am, he was called to the roof fall at 8-30am. Mr Renshaw’s head was not covered by the fall and he was wearing his pit helmet. Temporary timbers were set, but further small falls hampered the work of the men attempting to release Mr Renshaw. It was not until 12-15pm when he was released, first aid treatment was given, and a doctor summoned, but nothing could be done to save his life. Mr Joseph William Marshall, of 37, Valley Road, Carlton, said he had been working near Mr Renshaw; there had been no shots fired or anything else to disturb the roof. Dr Macam a pathologist at the Nottingham general Hospital said he conducted a post mortem examination and that death was due to a crush injury. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”. It was stated that had not been a fatal accident on the coal face for seven years. Mr R Scott the colliery manager, expressed sympathy with Mr Renshaw’s relatives. He said that Mr Renshaw's attendance record was one of the best he had seen while at the colliery and they had lost a good conscientious young worker and one who could only be replaced with difficulty in these times.

Fatal Accident No 98

South Nott's Echo Saturday 28-11-1953

Carlton Man Killed When Roof Caves in at Gedling Pit,

Mother Earth Overcame the Skill of Man

A roof fall at Gedling Colliery resulted in the death of Mr John Thomas Isles, aged 50, a packer of 220, Carlton Hill, Carlton, was said at the inquest on Wednesday to be a case of Mother earth overcoming the skill of man. The inquest was held in Carlton Council Offices by the Nottingham District Coroner Mr C A Mack. He told members of the jury that Mr Isles had been working underground on Thursday November 12th being engaged in making a pack to support the roof prior to the removal of steel props. After this he was told to remove two props. Only one of these had been removed by the recognised method, but the other one had shot out by a fall of roof. It was then that Mr Isles sustained injuries which proved fatal. Evidence of identification had previously been given by Mr Thomas Isles, of 1 Hastings Street, Carlton, who stated that his son was a married man with four children; he had been employed at the colliery for most of his working life. Mr Charles Stephen Campion, of 4 Hardys Drive, Gedling, said he was a deputy at the colliery. On the day of the fall he had been in charge of the coal face in the Top hard seam, he had made routine inspections and was satisfied that working conditions were perfectly safe. He was informed at 11-40am that a fall had occurred. Arriving at the scene he saw that Mr Isles was partially buried, a large piece of stone possibly weighing several tons was on his back pressing his head down. Help was immediately given and Mr Isles was released at 12-15pm. Mr Isles had been well in hand with his work said the deputy , he was a good solid worker who knew his job. Mr Campion could give no reasonable explanation on how or why the fall took place. All the supports were along the waste edge were in position. Mr A Macon, a packer of 106, Sneinton Boulevard, said that he was in the next pack to Mr Isles and as far as he knew there had been no hammering or anything else which might disturb the roof. Dr G P M Hall, a pathologist at the Nottingham General Hospital said that he had carried out a post mortem examination and in his opinion death was due to shock following crush injuries with a fractured dislocation of the spine. After being told by the coroner that there was not a shred of evidence of criminal activity the jury returned a verdict of death from injuries received. They were satisfied every precaution had been taken. Expressing sympathy to Mr Isle's family, Mr R Scott the colliery manager said Mr Isles had been a good conscientious workman. Associating himself with the expressions of condolence, Mr R W Walker representing N.A.C.O.D.S. said it was a case of mother earth overcoming the skill of man.

Fatal Accident No 99

South Nott’s Echo Saturday 20-03-1954

Arnold Miner Killed, Accident at Gedling Colliery Result of Own Ingenuity

George William Dale, aged 25, of 37, Leivers Avenue, Arnold who was fatally injured in an accident at Gedling Colliery, met his death as a result of his own ingenuity, said the Coroner Mr A G Rothera at the inquest at Nottingham last Thursday. Dale who died in the Nottingham General Hospital shortly after the accident, was stated to have thrown pieces of timber into the coal cutting machine when the jib became fast near the coal face. The jib then swung out and pulled him onto the rotating chain. Norman Haswell a deputy of 16, Chaworth Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, said he was employed by the N C B at Gedling Colliery as a deputy in charge of 114s face in the Top Hard seam on the afternoon of Wednesday March 3rd. He detailed Dale to his regular work in 114s right stable; Dale appeared to be his normal self. Haswell began his inspection of 114s district travelling via the left supply gate and when he was within forty yards of the right stable he received word of an accident. He found Dale lying over the coal cutter jib; his arm appeared to be around the sprocket of the jib and his body over the jib. With the help of others Haswell released him, rendered first aid, and placed him on stretcher to be sent to the surface. Fred Davis aged 46, a cutter driver of 7, Seaton Crescent, Aspley, told the jury that he was employed on 114s face in the Top hard seam on the afternoon shift of March 3rd, he was told by the deputy to fill coal off that face. At about 5-30pm G Dale asked him to switch the machine on and then off, he did so with the picks out of gear. He was then asked by Dale to put the pick clutch in gear which he did while the machine was slowing down. Dale then asked him to give the picks a run. He shouted “all right, keep clear” and switched on the machine. He then heard a shout “stop the machine” and after doing so went round to see what had happened, and found Dale lying across the cutter jib seriously injured. He assisted to get Dale clear and helped render first aid. Davis added he was an authorised driver with 31 year’s experience. Joseph Bryan Towle, 20 a driller of 21, Brand Street, Nottingham, said he was employed as a driller on the afternoon shift and was detailed to by the deputy of 114s face for the purpose of boring shot holes. At about 5-30pm he had completed boring shot holes throughout the right stable when dale asked him to stand to one side while the machine was started up. He moved into a safe position and Dale was approximately four feet from the machine jib. The machine was started up and he saw Dale throw a piece of timber into the picks of the rotating chain. He saw him throw a second piece of timber into the rotating chain and at this instant the jib swung out and caught Dale pulling him into the chain. Towle said he gave all the help he could in rendering first aid. Ernest Isaac Wilkinson, a chargeman collier, of 56, Ravenswood Road, Arnold, said after being instructed to fill coal off the face he found the right stable partly cut, and Dale proceeded to cut the remaining length of stable when the cutting was completed “we proceeded to fill the coal out of the stable” said Wilkinson. The coal round the machine was cleared by about 5pm. When an attempt was made by Dale and myself to move the cutting machine jib we discovered that the jib was fast. Dale said he would have to cut the floor coal away with his hand pick to free the jib. I left him doing this while I went into a near bye gate road to fetch a new cutter haulage rope. As I was returning I heard a shout for the conveyor to be stopped. Witness added when he reached the cutting machine he found Dale fast in the jib of the machine. Robert Scot colliery manager said the normal way of freeing a fast jib was to use a haulage rope. He would make sure steps were taken at the colliery to prevent a similar accident. Dale he said was a fine worker and came from a family of fine workers. The jury returned a verdict that Dale died from shock and Haemorrhage following injuries sustained in the pit.

Fatal Accident No 100

South Nott’s Echo Saturday 12-01-1955

The Terrible Price Miners Sometimes Have to Pay

Mysterious Roof Fall Causes Death of Mr Reginald Whelan of Arnold

The cause of an underground fall at Gedling Colliery last Saturday morning, which resulted in the death of Reginald Heathcote Whelan, aged 36 years, of 11, Bells Terrace, Portland Street, Daybrook, was still a mystery after the inquest in the Carlton Council Offices, on Wednesday. Evidence was given by four colliery employees but not one of them could say how or why the fall occurred. A possible explanation of the fall was suggested by Mr A C Mack, Nottingham District Coroner who told the jury that during a change of shift at the colliery it was necessary to move a conveyor up the coal face. Whelan was helping with this work when there was a fall owing to the disturbance of two girders. The only practical explanation of the fall seemed to be that while the work was being carried out one of the roof supports may have been dislodged. “There is however not a shred of evidence to support this explanation” said Mr Mack. Evidence of identification was given by Harold Chamberlain, at shotfirer at the colliery of 84, Byron Street, Daybrook, who said his wife was Whelan’s niece. Dr K S Dickman of Arnold gave evidence that death was due to pressure, suffocation, and fractures of the ribs. Thomas Strickland, a chargeman fitter of 88, Bracknell Crescent, Aspley, said he, Whelan and another man had gone to the coal face to move a conveyor. They arrived at the conveyor at 7-15am and he examined the working face. He was quite satisfied it was well timbered and supported. They were moving the conveyor when the fall occurred and he was knocked down and sustained injuries and shock. He shouted for help, which came very quickly, I can’t say how the fall happened said Mr Strickland. He could give no evidence that the conveyor touched a roof support. James Banks, a deputy Blackhill Drive, Carlton, and Thomas Banks, an overman of 6, Orlando Drive, Carlton, both told of carrying out inspections at the coal face prior to the fall. They said that where the fall occurred the face was well supported and timbered. There were materials near bye if any further support was needed. William Staples, a chargeman fitter of 6, Oakham Road, Nottingham, said he was working with Whelan and Strickland when without any warning there was a collapse, the other two men were buried but help was sent immediately. The Coroner told the jury “all these experienced men cannot give us an explanation, every safety precaution was taken but something happened to cause a fall”. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death”. Mr R Scott manager of the colliery said “we have lost a good contentious workman who can only be replaced with difficulty”. This is the terrible price men of our proud profession must sometimes pay. Expressions of sympathy were expressed to Mr Whelan’s family by Mr W Walker N.O.C.O.D.S. and Mr A W Clarke N U M. The Coroner told the colliery representatives “I know you dread coming before me because the Gedling Colliery has an exceptionally good record, for safety and the care of its workers”.

Fatal Accident No 101

South Nott's Echo Saturday 16-07-1955

Gedling Miner Killed, Multiple Injuries Following a fall of Stone

While working underground at Gedling Colliery on Thursday June 16th John Robert Ibbinson, aged 33 years, of 64, Phoenix Avenue, Gedling was trapped by a large stone which fell as he struck a blow on the coal face. He sustained multiple injuries and died soon afterwards at the Nottingham General Hospital. The details of the accident were disclosed at an inquest held at Nottingham last Thursday, conducted by Mr A G Rothera the Nottingham City Coroner. Cyril Columbine, an overman of 6, Vernon Avenue, Carlton said that with Ibbinson and others he started work at the coal face at between 7-7-30am on June 16 temporary supports were in place in the area they were working, but they were fixing permanent supports. They were also cutting into the face to make a small alcove; it was a perfectly normal operation. They were working in the alcove at 2pm; Ibbinson struck the first blow on the coal face, as he did so a large piece of stone fell and trapped him. The stone was about five feet long by two feet by fifteen inches, it fell about nine or ten feet. Mr Columbine said there was nothing unusual about the blow which Ibbinson struck on the coal face. It was a most unfortunate and unexpected accident, all reasonable precautions had been taken. Peter Walker, of 50, Hawthorn Crescent, Arnold, a deputy at the colliery said that at the time of the accident he was in charge of that particular district. He made various inspections of the work taking place in the alcove during the morning. He was satisfied with the way the work was being done and the support that was being given to it. A few minutes before the accident he was in the immediate area and was satisfied that the operation was being carried out in the proper manner. The jury returned a verdict that Ibbinson died from injuries sustained in an accidental fall. Mr R Scott the colliery manager expressed regrets on behalf of the officials and staff. He said Ibbinson had only been at the colliery since the beginning of the year but had proved a first class worker.

Fatal Accident No 102

South Nott's Echo Saturday 10-10-1955

Fatal Accident at Gedling Colliery

Roof Supporting Bar Transported by Conveyor Belt Fouled Cutting Machine

When a coal cutting machine became dislodged on an underground face at the Gedling Colliery, it swung round and knocked out two roof supports and trapped Derek Cramp, aged 20, a coal cutting machine operator of 269, Coppice Road, Arnold. This was stated at the inquest last Thursday on Cramp who sustained injuries which resulted in his death at the Nottingham General Hospital a few hours after the accident on Thursday September 8. A representative of the N C B said that special steps were being taken to ensure that there would be no similar accident. Mr A G Rothera the Nottingham City Coroner told the jury that a post-mortem examination revealed that death was due to lacerations of the brain due to multiple fractures of the base of the skull- consistent with a crushing blow involving the head and right side of the chest. Theodore Wheatley, of 7 Hardys Drive, Gedling, said he was the chargeman on duty at the point where the accident occurred. Cramp was working near the disc cutting machine mounted above a conveyor belt. He saw the machine jump upwards as though something had struck underneath, it swung round and knocked two roof supports out and trapped Cramp. After the accident he noticed a nine foot long wooden split bar which had come up on the conveyor belt. Such bars were used for supporting the roof. The placing of such bars was not authorised, but it was not unusual. If they were put on it was essential that they be taken off before they reached the cutting disc. It was the responsibility of whoever had shouted for the bars to take them off the conveyor belt, the authorised method of transporting the bars was to carry them. The roof conditions were bad, and bars were needed to ensure that the roof was kept up. There was not sufficient time to obtain the bars any other way than on the conveyor belt. John James Frogson. Of 1, Westminster Villas, Westminster Street, Nottingham, a material handler said it was a normal practice to send material up the conveyor belt ahead of the disc cutter so that there was no danger of fouling the cutter. On the day of the accident the bulk of the material had been sent up ahead of the cutter, but later there was a call for more split bars. He handed over five split bars to be sent up the conveyor belt. This was frequently done though it was not the authorised way. There was the possibility that the attention of the man who called for the materials, to be diverted by other things and he would not take the material of the conveyor belt. Jonas Ozens, of 78, Addison Street, Nottingham, who was operating the cutting machine at the time of the accident, said if the bars were put on the conveyor belt and not taken off before reaching the machine they would pass under the machine or become jammed and cause the machine to jump. The jury returned a verdict that Cramp died as a result of injuries accidently received. Mr L H Street representing the N C B said that instruction had been given at collieries that in normal circumstances no materials were to be passed along the conveyor belt behind the cutting machine. In abnormal circumstances or if the machine was half way along the face and materials were required they were to be passed along by hand, or alternatively the machine stopped, and operators warned the material was coming so that they could make sure it was taken off. Mr R Scott the colliery manager said that Cramp was an outstanding boy, a first class worker and a first class young man. Those who had doubts about the youth of the country should have an opportunity to examine his working record.

NB. This was a mechanised face, the conveyor mentioned was not a belt but a chain driven panzer unit.