The Marine Colliery
There were four men ahead of them in the return, Eversley, Mitchell, Brain and Archie Parsons and Brown and Michael were weak and shouted for help. Eversley, Mitchell and Brain came back and together with Rich tried to carry Davies but they had to leave him and they got to the No.1 shaft only with the greatest difficulty.
On the information that seven men had got out of the East Old Coal District, two parties went down to try to get into the Black Vein workings. A message was sent to the men working in the West side, which had not been affected by the explosion, to get out of the mine. A party Led by McVicar tried to get into the workings and another led by Gay tried to get into the Old Coal workings.
Both parties travelled along the Main East Level to a point where the intake cross measures branched off to the Black Vein. They found that their progress was barred by a heavy fall.
McVicar’s party then decided to try to go by the way of Griffith’s Slant and the return airway and the other party went to the pit bottom tried to get into the East Old Coal workings by the route that the seven men who had escaped had taken. At 5 a.m. a party consisting of Mr. Gay, Mr. John, Mr. Hann, Mr. W.J. Oliver, the manager of Waun Llwyd Colliery, Mr. W.H. Leigh, agent of Arrail Griffin, Mr. A.T. Winborn, the superintendent of the Crumlin Rescue Station, and four rescue men set off to the Old Coal workings. The party travelled along the ‘Fault Level’ but were affected by afterdamp. John was left in the airway and could not get out by himself and the other members of the party were not in a position to offer assistance. However, they did get out but Mr. Hann and Mr. John were severely affected and it was a little time before it was known for sure that they would recover fully. At the Inquiry Henry Walker was very critical of their actions and commented:-
McVicar went to the Fault Level by way of the Black Vein return where he found that John was receiving attention. He then went towards the place where Hann, Gay and John had been when John was gassed into the Old Coal District with Evan Evans, the overman and Albert Samuels, a rescue man. He told Collings and Michael, the undermanager to follow with a couple of men. The party found the body of William George Davies and on opening the doors across the Main East Level they found the bodies of Thomas John Morris and William Charles Pickford. Samuel George Gronow and Thomas John Price were found alive and Samuels, the rescue man gave them oxygen.
They could see other bodies further up and McVicar, Collings and Evan Evans went through another door to the top of Penny’s Dip where Collings became exhausted and was left. McVicar and Evans went on and found the bodies of Richard Nation, Charles Henry Cox and Wilfred James Probert. They returned to the top of Penny’s Dip and told Collings to tell Michael and Samuels to follow them down the dip where they found the bodies of Trevor and Herbert Matthews. They were joined by Samuels and Michael and they explored the whole of the Old Coal workings without finding any of the dead.
The party then returned to the Main East Level and travelled outbye where they found the bodies of John Rogers, Thomas Lewis, William Bryant, Henry Brain, William Warren, Charles Green, Frederick Trowbridge, William Crowley and Edwin Wilcox and were joined by Mr. O.L. Gibbon, the manager of the Elliot Colliery and Mr. Idris Williams, manager of the Prince of Wales Colliery. They tried to get directly to the shaft but found the way blocked by falls. They returned to Penny’s Dip and McVicar gave orders for the bodies to be removed but these orders were not understood and only the two survivors, Gronow and Price were brought out.
McVicar went to the surface and there was a meeting with Mr. J.M. Carey and Mr. P.T. Jenkins, H.M. Inspectors of Mines who were briefed on the situation. A party consisting of McVicar, Carey, Jenkins, J.R.N. Kirkwood agent of the New Tredegar Colliery, David Evans, agent of the Oakdale Colliery, J.H. Austin, agent of the Markham Colliery, H.E. Thomas, agent of the Mardy Colliery, David Griffiths, agent of the Britannia and Bargoed Collieries and a squad of rescue men went to explore the Black Vein Seam.
They erected a brattice stopping at the No.1 Heading on the low side of Enoch’s road and the ventilation was partly restored so the party could travel up the No.1 Heading, across the No.2 Heading and down to the ‘A’ level. Further progress was not possible due to bad ventilation. The body of a haulier, Thomas Morris, was found in the crosscut between Nos. 1 and 2 Headings.
Nothing was done in the Black Vein the following day but the day after that a party which included W.D. Woolley, the managing director of the Tredegar Coal and Iron Company, D.L. Davies and Arthur Jenkins of the South Wales Miner’s Federation entered the district after erecting a brattice in the Top Level and this level was explored as far as the fall. Beyond this point the level was explored by rescue men but no bodies were found and they got to within 15 yards of the face and later two rescue men David John Martin and Albert Trevor Borrows explored the face and found the bodies of David Evans, Richard and Thomas Monaghan, Albert Wright, Joseph Chapell, Edward Miles, and William Matthews.
Burrows and Martin then went to the ‘B’ Level where they located the bodies of Charles Lee, Alfred Griffiths, Harold Reed, Gordon Reddick, Arthur Medland and Thomas Gatehouse. The bodies of James Vaughan, Ellis Williams, Llewellyn Jenkins and William Penny were seen in the ‘A’ Level. From this point onwards, there was steady progress and all the bodies were recovered by the 11th March.