Denaby Boys Death – Suggestion of Gas Poisoning – Verdict of “Natural Causes.”

April 1926

Mexborough and Swinton Times April 30, 1926

Denaby Boys Death
Suggestion of Gas Poisoning
Verdict of “Natural Causes.”

The death of Cornelius Wildman (14), pony driver, of 15, Bowlby Street, Denaby Main, was investigated by Mr Frank Allen, at the Fullerton hospital on Monday. Wildman was working in the pit Cadeby on Thursday of last week and when he arrived home complained of feeling ill. On Friday he was taken to the Fullerton hospital, and died about five hours later. At the inquest the coroner said there was a suggestion the time that the boy had been gassed in the pit. He had three men present who worked in the same place and they said there was no gas in that place. A post-mortem examination showed that the boy died from meningitis.

Daniel Wildman, minor, father of the deceased, gave evidence of identification and said when the boy came home from work on Wednesday he complained of feeling sick. He went to work on Thursday morning and work through the shift. When he came home he was sick. On Friday afternoon a doctor was fetched and the boy was removed to the hospital where he died at 8.45 the witness said Dr Forde suggest the boy might have been gassed. The boy said when he was driving his last load “something came across him,” and he felt ill.

In answer to Mr Dyson (Y. M. A.) The witness said the boy had been working in the pit about 10 weeks. They had heard of no complaints of gas. The boy had always been very healthy.

Charles Finchett, miner, of 117, Doncaster Road, Denaby Main, said Wildman drove for him. Witness had not noticed any gas and the boy had not complained of feeling ill. In answer to Mr Humphries (H.M. Inspector), the witness said the air which passed over the boy came to him.

Edward Riley, Pit corporal of 69, Balby Street, Denaby Main, said Wildman was driving under his supervision, the witness went wherever Wildman did and felt no effect of gas.

Pharos Benson, pit deputy, of 43, Bolton Street, said he got no complaint of gas from anybody last week. Gas was reported in another stall in the same district 12 days ago. That stall was on the intake side of Wildman’s stall, and men had been withdrawn that morning (Monday). Up to then there was not over 2 ½%, and that would not be poisonous.

Dr Forde said he was called to see the boy about 2 p.m. on Friday and found him almost unconscious and in a dying condition. The boy’s mother said he was gassed and the witness thought it right to move him to the hospital where he was given oxygen. He never rallied and died at about 8:45 p.m. The witness had made a post-mortem examination and found the cause of death was acute meningitis, arising from some germ infecting the system.

A verdict of “natural causes” was returned by the jury.