Buried by Seventy Tons
Bentley Miner Killed At Brodsworth
Doncaster Gazette, 15 June 1928
At the inquest at Bentley on Tuesday, on Abel Gilbourne (29), a miner of Arthur Place, Bentley, who was killed in the Brodsworth Main Colliery on Monday, 11 June 1928, following a fall of dirt, a verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.
William Henry Evans, a miner of East Avenue, Woodlands, said they were examining the stall when the fall occurred. About 2.30 a.m. they noticed that some "top softs" had come down and had disclosed a slip. Deceased commenced to set a bar and witness held it for him. Without the least warning the roof fell on top of them. The fall weighed about 60 or 70 tons, and buried Gilbourne.
George Edward Hall, of Woodlands, who was working with them, was partly caught by the fall. When the dust was cleared witness saw Hall. They could see part of Gilbourn [sic] and they got him out after 90 minutes. He was dead when extricated.
Arthur Gillott, colliery deputy, Woodlands Rd., Woodlands, said he examined the roof thirty minutes before the accident and it was quite safe.
The coroner (Mr. Frank Allen) said it was a simple accident, and one which was far too common. The men were doing their best, but unfortunately luck was against them.
Doncaster Chronicle, 15 June 1928
Heavy Roof Fall at Brodsworth Colliery
Bentley Man Killed
There was a heavy fall of soft coal and dirt - estimated at from 60 to 70 tons - in the Brodsworth Colliery during the Sunday night shift, when one man was killed, another injured, while a third escaped with a scratch.
As a sequel the Doncaster District Coroner, Mr. F. Allen, and a jury on Tuesday afternoon conducted an inquest on Abel Gilbourne, 29, a miner of 1, Arthur? Place, Bentley.
The coroner reminded that Gilbourne was working with two other men in number 41 stall of the South district of the pit on Monday morning when there was a sudden fall of roof. Gilbourne was buried and when extricated found to be dead. One of the other workmen was too seriously injured to attend the inquest but the third was present. He would tell them what happened.
The Survivor's Narrative.
William Henry Evans of East Avenue, Woodlands, said he and the others working in the stall were carrying through an examination preparatory to getting coal. They found some soft coal had fallen and revealed a slip. It was decided to set a bar and witness held one leg whilst Gilbourne lifted the bar without any warning there was a heavy fall and Gilbourne was buried. Mr. H.S. Scott (H.M. Inspector of Mines) said there was about 60 - 70 tons in the fall, composed of soft coal and dirt. Witness said there was a great amount of dust and that for a time he was unable to see. He groped his way about and ran into George Edward Hall who had been working with them. Hall was injured and unable to attend the inquest. Three other men came to their assistance but it was an hour and a half before Gilbourne was dug out, being found in a bending position. Witness said one prop had been set on the gob side and they were going to put the other prop under the bar when the fall occurred. They did not disturb the roof and there was no previous suggestion of it being unsafe. Gilbourne tested it with his pick before the fall occurred. Answering Mr. H.S. Scott witness said the soft coal was blowing when they went into work but after preventative work this ceased. Mr.Bailey representing the Y.M.A. that they did not know and could not explain how he managed to get clear. It was likely that Hall was knocked out of the way by the fall. Mr. S. Bunting manager of the Brodsworth colliery explained that Gilbourne appeared to have been turning round to escape the fall and in doing so caught his arm around a prop which prevented him going forward. Arthur Gillot of Woodlands Road, Woodlands, deputy in charge of the District, said the working place was safe when he made an examination an hour and a half before the fall occurred. Answering Mr. J.W. Lane, representing the Y.M.A. witness agreed it was not unusual to use props for bars.
Mr. Lane: Don't you think if there was a supply of properly shaped bars there would be more incentive to the workmen to set the bars?
Witness: There was no necessity to set a bar there.
Mr. Lane: I am not discussing this case in particular.
The coroner said this was a type of fatality that unfortunately was far too common. There was no complaint about the setting of a particular bar and he hardly thought it competent for the jury to discuss merits of flat or round bars, or he might discuss steel bars. In this case there was no bar broken or forced out, All three men in the stall were competent men but Gilbourne was unfortunate when the fall occurred and was a little too late getting clear. After the jury returned a verdict of accidental death, Mr. S. Bunting expressed sympathy in the loss of a valued worker of some years service said the mystery of the fall was that Gilbourne was the one to be trapped while the other escaped. Mr. J. Lane and others joined in the expressions of sympathy