Information and photographs submitted by subscribers are posted in good faith. If any copyright of anyone else's material is unintentionally breached, please email me

Criggleston Disaster - Wakefield, Yorkshire - 29th July 1941


Ken Townend - Crigglestone Colliery and the Townend Family
Sheron Boyle - Crigglestone Accident
Mary Swain - Crigglestone Mining Disaster, 1941 - I am the DAUGHTER of Robert Wilson White
Stuart Smith - My great grandfather, Robert Wilson White, Died In The Crigglestone Disaster, 1941
Michelle Kennedy - Criggleston Disaster 29th July 1941 - Lloyd, Bernard and James Fox Died In The Disaster

Ken Townend
24 Nov 2016
Crigglestone Colliery and the Townend Family

Ken Townend BEM. Hayle Cornwall.
Just found your site on Crigglestone Colliery. Interesting reading.

My father worked there for many years as did four of my elder brothers and myself for a short time. Norman Townend (father), would have been there when the explosion occurred. As well as two of my older brothers, Alan and Trevor. I do believe, father injured his back at the time. In later years, brothers, Stuart and David worked there and I started there as an indentured trainee underground electrician in 1963. Brothers Alan, Trevor and Stuart all left, over a period of time, to join the Royal Navy. David left to become an engineer. I left after several months of training, to join the Army, in Nov 63.   Father moved on to work the Drift mine at Wood Lane, which joined Newmillerdam colliery. Remember him working with his Irish friend there. Father retired, after working since aged 14, in the late 60s. One of my sisters married a deputy Brian Pitt, who worked at Crigglestone. He would possibly have been there, when the accident happened as well.
Many thanks.

Sent from my iPad

Sheron Boyle
20 Jul 2016
Crigglestone Mining Accident


I am a journalist, working for ITV Calendar. I have read your website with great interest from my own personal interest - being from a mining family.

But also professionally - re Crigg I am very interested in talking to families of the men who died. I read Mary Swain's very moving message about her father dying and I wondered if you would ask her if she would be interested in talking to us about the event - along with the local historian and councillor.

Mary has all the original paperwork and while she can't remember her father, she can tell of the impact his death had on their family.

Also Michelle Kennedy - whose mum lost 3 brothers - and her mum would also be interesting to talk to.

My granddad worked at the pit all his life - Patrick Costello - and would have worked there at the time of the accident.

Would you contact Mary to ask if she would be interested?

Thank you

Sheron Boyle


ITV Broadcasting Limited (Registration No. 955957) (“ITV”) is incorporated in England and Wales with its registered office at The London Television Centre, Upper Ground, London SE1 9LT. Please visit for further information.

This email and any attachments are intended solely for the addressee and may contain confidential, copyrighted and/or privileged information. If you have received this message in error, please notify us and delete it. Recipients should scan the email and any attachments for their own protection.

This email does not conclude a binding agreement. The views or opinions presented in this email do not necessarily represent those of ITV.

In MemoryStuart Smith
9 Jun 2014
My great grandfather, Robert Wilson White, Died In The Crigglestone Disaster, 1941

My great grandfather was Robert Wilson White. A ripper and one of the 22 that died that day, my grandma, his wife, always said to us that the men all knew that there was gas, apparently my Grandfather said goodbye to her before every shift for two weeks prior to the explosion as though it would be the last time they would see each other, saying it will only take one spark and we will all be gone!

I have the original letter of condolences from the mine owners and the receipt for the widows of the men in way of compensation!!!  A whole FIVE Pounds. My gran was left with four kids! She never remarried.


Robert Is Also In Allan's Database

Sent from my iPad

In MemoryMary Swain
28 May 2016
Crigglestone Mining Disaster - I am the DAUGHTER of Robert Wilson White

Dear Fionn
After reading the email from my great nephew Stuart Smith in Canada, which I saw on your website, I would like to give you my account to set the record straight.

I am the DAUGHTER of Robert Wilson White. He left a widow (Blanche) and 4 children between the ages of 4 months and 14 years. I was 3 years old when he died and the second youngest. I am 78 years of age now and the only surviving member of his immediate family.

I have all the original documents regarding the compensation and the £5 the widows were given from the owners "to tide them over in their immediate difficulties" (in their words) until the compensation was awarded. Later there was a sum of £300 for my mother and £300 for the children (£600 in total) which she collected weekly from an office in King St Wakefield. I have the documents from the County Court of Yorkshire against Benzil and By- Products Ltd. My youngest brother, who was 4 months at the time of my father’s death, was 8 years old when she received the final payment. The mine owners also allowed 10 pounds per miner for funeral expenses which my mother and another widow didn't receive because they refused to use the funeral directors nominated by the owners.

Because I was so young when my father died I have no memories of him but my mother told me all about him. I know he was well known in Wakefield at the time because he played for Wakefield Trinity after coming here from Orrel near Wigan in the early 1920's

Yours truly
Mary Swain

Sent from my iPad

In MemoryMichelle Kennedy
26 Feb 2015
Criggleston Disaster 29th July 1941 - Lloyd, Bernard and James Fox Died In The Disaster

My grandmother lost her only 3 brothers in this disaster I would really appreciate any information that can be supplied.? Although I never met any of my great uncles, my mother was 6 at the time and has memories of them.

Lloyd Fox - 24
Bernard Fox - 32
James Arthur Fox - 39

Also In Alan Beales Database

Kind regards

Michelle Kennedy