The Marine Colliery
Cwm, Monmouthshire. 1st. March, 1927
To remember these men and to preserve our heritage on Feb 27th 2008
we erected a monument
and a remembrance garden.
Those Who Lost Their Lives
- David James Evans aged 33 years, a labourer who had burns to the face had blood oozing from his right ear. He also had a fractured skull and died from shock caused by burns and his injuries.
- Richard Monaghan aged 21 years, a ripper. He had severe burns to the upper part of the body and his arms. He died from shock following the injuries and burns.
- Albert Wright aged 35 years, a labourer. He had burns to the upper body, face and hands. He died of shock following the burns.
- Joseph Chappell aged 26 years, a collier’s assistant. He had burns to the head and died of shock due to the burns.
- Thomas Charles Monaghan aged 28 years, a collier. He had severe burns to the upper body and a fractured skull. He died from his injuries and burns.
- Edward Coleston John Miles aged 36 years, a collier. He was severely burnt and died from shock.
- William Matthews aged 52 years, an overman. He had burns to the upper body and died from shock following the burns.
- Charles George Lee aged 21 years, a labourer. He had burns to the upper body and died from shock following the burns.
- Alfred Griffiths aged 57 years, a collier. He was badly mutilated with an arm off and a very bad head injury. He died from his injuries.
- Harold Edward Reed aged 21 years, a fitter. He had a fractured skull and severe burns to the upper body, forearms and hands. He died from shock following his injuries.
- Gordon Reddick aged 30 years, a labourer. He was severely burnt and had a fractured skull he died from his injuries and burns.
- Arthur John Medland aged 18 years, a collier’s assistant. He suffered a fractured skull and was burnt.
He died from shock due to his injuries.
- Thomas John Gatehouse aged 19 years, a labourer. He had burns to the upper body, a fractured skull and a broken neck. He died from his injuries.
- Reginald Eric Davies aged 43 years, a repairer. He had a fractured skull and was burnt. He died from shock and his injuries.
- James Samuel Vaughan aged 41 years, a repairer. He was mutilated about the head, burnt and had a fractured skull.
- Ellis Williams aged 50 years, a fireman. He had severe burns to the upper body and fractured arms legs and skull.
- Llewellyn Jenkins aged 29 years, a repairer. He had severe burns to his hands and face and upper body. He died of shock from his injuries.
- Thomas John Morris aged 39 years, a haulier. He was severely burnt about the head and face.
- Benjamin Stibbs aged 21 years, a collier’s assistant. He suffered fractured ribs and pelvis and was burnt.
- William Jones aged 30 years, a collier. He suffered fractured ribs and spine.
- Walter Alexander Shelard aged 21 years, a collier. He had a broken leg and burns to the upper body.
- John Collum Rogers aged 29 years, a ropeman. He had a fractured skull and burns to the upper body.
- Thomas John Tarr aged 21 years, a labourer. He had a fractured spine and burns to the upper body.
- Edwin George Mason aged 33 years, a labourer who had a fractured leg and burns to the head and legs.
- John Henry Hobbs aged 45 years, a labourer who had a fractured leg and burns to the body and legs.
- William Henry Penny aged 22 years, a labourer. He had a fractured pelvis and skull as well as burns.
- William Mark Dudley aged 33 years, a labourer who had broken limbs and burns to the back.
- Samuel Harbin aged 40 years, a labourer. He had a bad head injury and burns to the body.
- Frederick George Green aged 47 years, a repairer who was very badly injured and burnt.
- Walter John Mathlin aged 33 years. He was very badly injured and burnt.
- Robert Pester aged 39 years, a haulier who died from a fractured skull.
- Robert Wilfred Button aged 19 years, an engineman, was badly burnt and looked as if he had been scalded.
Many of the victims died from carbon monoxide poisoning:-
- John Rogers aged 50 years, a fireman.
- Sidney Hill, aged 36 years, a repairer.
- Charles Green, aged 57 years, a repairer.
- William Bryant, aged 61 years, a repairer.
- Edwin Harold Wilcox, aged 30 years, a ropeman.
- Frederick Trowbridge, aged 22 years, a labourer.
- Charles Henry Cox, aged 24 years, a haulier.
- Richard Nation, aged 38 years, a haulier.
- Henry Brain, aged 26 years, a labourer.
- Wilfred James Probert, aged 22 years, a labourer.
- Thomas Lewis, aged 70, and engineman.
- William Henry Warren, aged 25 years, a collier’s assistant.
- John Clarke, aged 47 years, a collier.
- Trevor Matthews, aged 28 years, a collier.
- Herbert Matthews, aged 29 years, a collier.
- Thomas John Morris, aged 26 years, a collier.
- William Charles Pickford, aged 26 years, a collier’s assistant.
- Albert (Bert) Button, aged 35 years, a collier.
- William George Davies, aged 35 years, a repairer.
- William Crowley, aged 43 years, a repairer.
The inquest and the inquiry were held concurrently. With the permission of the Coroner, the witnesses were summoned and evidence taken. Mr. Henry Walker made the official report into the disaster.
The inquest into the men’s deaths was held by Mr. W.R. Dauncey the Coroner for the Abergavenny district of Monmouthshire. The proceedings took place at the Town Hall, Tredegar on 12th July 1927 and was completed on 3rd August and evidence was heard from seventy nine witnesses. The Coroner summed up by putting the following questions to the jury-
- Was the explosion in it’s origination one of gas or coal dust and if of gas was it subsequently increased and carried on by the presence of coal dust?
- Where did the gas come from?
- Where was ignition produced?
- By what means was ignition produced?
- Was the explosion purely accidental?
- Was the explosion the result of the negligent act or omission of anyone, and, if so, of whom and what was the act of omission?
- If the answer to question No.6 is in the affirmative, was the degree of negligence
a) Criminal b) Less than criminal c) A mere error of judgement?
The answers of the jury to the first five questions were:-
- Yes. Gas carried on by coal dust.
- C. Face and Top C. Level.
- C, face.
- we have not sufficient evidence to be definite but suggest that i) the missing lamp, and ii) the blast pipe may have caused ignition.
The following recommendations were made by the jury-
- That 20 percent of the lamps used underground be oil lamps.
- That reports of the Colliery Examiners include more details.
- The Colliery Examiner’s duties be confined to colliery examinations only.
- That Colliery workmen be searched before descending the shaft.
There was no general agreement on the cause of the explosion and the point at which it occurred. Mr. Michael thought that there had been fall on the ‘A’ face and that had released gas which was ignited by sparks from the falling material or, more likely, from sparks from the haulage engine. The manager, Mr. Gay, thought the gas came from the ‘A’ face and ignited at the haulage engine. He thought a fall had occurred but it was not close enough to the face to check the ventilating current.
The Miner’s Agent, Mr. D.L. Davies, thought the explosion originated on the ‘C’ face form one of three possible causes, 1). the missing electric lamp. 2). sparks from the nozzle of the compressed air blower in the ‘C’ face, or 3). heat set up by the conveyor trays rubbing against props being absorbed by coal dust. This would have resulted in spontaneous combustion that could heat oil vapour from the exhaust of the conveyor engine.
Extensive experiments were made to try to find the exact cause but the evidence was not conclusive. With regard to the cause of ignition, Mr. Walker considered two possibilities, the missing lamp and stones falling or already fallen.
With regard to the lamps, of the seven bodies that were found at the inbye end of the ‘C’ level only six lamps were found, the missing lamp had the number ‘E.L. 2147’ and was issued to Edward Mile but the lamp that was found near his body was lamp number ‘E.L. 2019’. There had been an exchange of lamps for some reason but the reason was not known. Sparks from falling stones were known to have caused explosions and there was a large body of expert evidence to show that this was a possible source of ignition.
Mr. Walker concluded that the explosion occurred at the ‘C’ face. He said:-
“I consider an explosive mixture of firedamp and air existed in the ‘C’ face and at the face by the ‘C’ Level that this explosive mixture was ignited either by stones falling on stones already fallen or at the bare glowing filament of an electric lamp and that the area of the explosion was increased and its volume magnified by the presence of coal dust.”
On the recommendations of the jury, he commented-
“I should be in entire agreement with the recommendations if I were convinced that the workmen would make use of a flame safety lamp for testing for firedamp, but, until I am convinced, I feel that the possibility of accident is greater with flame safety lamps than it is with electric lamps. The only alternative, when electric lamps are generally on use, is to rely on the fireman and in such case his district should be small, and this is what was done here.”