Mexborough& Swinton Times, August 23
Denaby Miner Sent to Prison
Declined to Work at One Pit
Under the Defence Regulations, John Heathcote (20), a mine worker, of Denaby Main, was at the Doncaster West Riding Police Court on Saturday sent to prison for three months for failing to comply with a direction given by the Minister of Labour to perform employment as a mineworker.
Prosecuting for the Ministry of Labour, Mr. W. L. Crawford said Heathcote had ignored two directions given to him to go to work in the pit at Denaby after he had registered as a mineworker. He had previously worked in that pit for five years. The only reason he gave for not complying with the directions, said Mr. Crawford, was that he had a conscientious objection to going down that particular pit to which he was sent.
Heathcote admitted that he had worked at the Denaby pit for five years, and said his employers had refused to give him a job “in the coal” when he was there
Mr. Crawford said the only disagreement he knew of appeared to be in respect of a change-over of jobs
Heathcote said he did not draw unemployment benefit. His father and brothers worked down a pit. His parents were maintaining him. He denied that he was idle, and said he would not work down that pit.
The Magistrates Clerk (Mr. E. W. Pettifer), pointed out that under the Order a man could not choose his job.
Asked by the magistrate if he would go to work or go to prison, Heathcote said he preferred to go to another pit.
He was told he could not make any stipulation of that kind.
The magistrates than fined him £5 on condition that he started work at Denaby Colliery on the Monday.
Heathcote: If you are going to fine me I am not going down the pit.
The Magistrates Clerk (Mr. E. W. Pettifer), told the Bench that they could reverse their decision.
The Magistrates thereupon altered their decision and sent Heathcote to prison for three months.