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Tony Sissons - My Dad, Charles Sissons, Died In The Markham Pit Disaster
Any Other Sources Of Information Regarding The Markham Disaster?
Trying To Find Memorabilia Of Markham Pit

Margaret Burdett - Help contacting Kevin Cowley, a possible distant relative
Kevin Cowley - My uncle, Frank Cowley, was one of those seriously injured
Marie - My Great Grandad, Philip Yarnold Was Injured in the Markham Disaster
Paul - I was woken by a loud banging on the front door

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Tony Sissons
25 June 2009
My Dad, Charles Sissons, Died In The Markham Pit Disaster

My name is Tony Sissons. My dad, Charles Sissons, was unfortunately one of the men that died in the 1973 Markham pit disaster. At the time, I had just had my 4th birthday and memories of that day are very blurred – I think I was the youngest of all the children to lose their father.

I now live in Bahrain, working as a school teacher, with two young children of my own. I am very proud to tell people, and my children, that my father was a coalminer, but am finding it very difficult to find out any information about the tragedy. My children are so far removed from the life that their grandfather lived that I think it extremely important to educate them about these proud, hardworking and brave men. I intend to take them to the mining museum this summer and also take them to the site where Markham pit used to be to show them where their grandfather worked and was killed.

If you could please inform me of any other sources of information regarding the Markham pit disaster, I would be most grateful. Also, I am trying to find memorabilia of Markham pit, possibly something that commemorates the men that lost their lives that day, to display in my home. Perhaps this doesn’t exist!

Kind regards,

Tony Sissons.

Margaret Burdett
8 April 2009
Help contacting Kevin Cowley, a possible distant relative

I was looking through your site as suggested by my brother who was a miner at Markham pit Bolsover he started on the day of the cage accident in 73 and stayed till it closed.

On looking at your pages I saw a note on from a Kevin Cowley about a Frank Cowley, I think he may be a distant relative of ours grandads great nephew whose family all came from Grasshill, Grassmoor.

I am doing the family tree at the moment and would love to be able to get in touch with him if at all possible, I understand you do not give out email addresses to anyone, but if at all you could find a way to help I would be very grateful to you.

Your sincerely

Margaret Burdett (Cowley)

Kevin Cowley
7 August 2008
My uncle, Frank Cowley, was one of those seriously injured

I was reading your web page about the cage disaster at Markham Colliery and the men who died and were seriously injured. I found my uncle's name, Frank Cowley, (my father's brother) was on there as he was one of those seriously injured.

His friend, Nibber Upton told me once he should have been on the cage with him, but as they came out of the battery room Nibber turned to Frank and asked him to wait for the next cage as Nibber wanted the toilet, as Nibber came out he saw the winding gear flying down the shaft and ran over to the checkman, he asked where Frank was and the checkman replied, (He's caught it Nib).

Year's later as my uncle was on his death bed he spoke about the disaster, my aunty, his sister, told me that he said, as they were going down and they realised the cage was on it's way down a voice from the bottom cage yelled "THIS IS IT LAD'S WE ARE ALL F****D, WE'RE ALL GONNA F*****G DIE" then it went silent until the cage hit the bottom.

I can't remember it myself as I was only 2 years old at the time but my dad used to tell me about it as they both used to work at Oxcroft together. When Oxcroft shut they both went to separate pits, my dad to Highmoor in Killamarsh, and my uncle Frank to Markham. Incidentally, Bill Wilson, also on the injured list is still alive and kicking and actually lives straight across the road from me and my family where we now live.

I know it may all be useless information but, little stories like this keep big memories alive.

Thank you for reading

Mr Kevin Cowley.

Thank you very much Kevin for sending in this email, these memories are very important for the continued remembrance of the mining industry and those who worked in it.

26 November 2006
I was woken by a loud banging on the front door

I remember that very morning as a school lad tucked up in my single bed that overlooked the main road of Staveley Road Poolsbrook. Why? Because I was woken by a loud banging on the front door, below my bedroom window. This was a NCB driver who was sent to pick my dad up who was a Banksman on No4 shaft. He was required as assistance and back up for emergency duties relating to the terrible disaster at the No3 (Shonky) shaft.

Time has passed and many memories forgotten. But me! I work at that very shaft to this day 2006. The mine long closed but the Shonky is still an unfilled shaft that is capped and the mine gas, until resent, supplied the Coalite boilers. The site around the No3 (Shonky shaft) is very well maintained by ex-mining engineers who I am contracted to as security.

I worked at Markham as a Ropesplicer down No1 shaft (blackshale) we kept records (not PM Records) of all the main jobs we did underground as a personal and tradition, in a book that followed other books, records whatever you want to call them, that dated back to the 1930s. These books contained many individual writings and personal statements (one drawing of Hitler and the lads having a go at him). The books were left underground in our ropecabin (between the West Car Road and the West Intake) when the pit closed. Why? Because we still had respect even possibly spiritual feelings of the fact the books belonged at home. Even upon our last shifts when moral was just a flicker . . . I followed my dad and grandad into the shale. (Grandad was spared the 38 explosion in the shale) . . . there isn’t a shift goes bye that I do. I have to look at the now present galvanised pipes that sit on the old Shonky and remember . . . and I have to touch them and say goodnight lads. . .

10 April 2007
My Great Grandad, Philip Yarnold Was Injured in the Markham Disaster

Hi ya
Just a quick message to say I'm reading your site with interest. My great grandad Philip Yarnold of 39 Poolsbrook Crescent is listed which drew me. He was injured in the Markham disaster. I've read a similar list at Chesterfield Museum.

My dad worked at Markham from 1971 and my husband also had a couple of years down the same mine early in his working life. I haven't had a chance to work my way through the whole site yet, I've just found it but I think it's great.

Well done
Marie X

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