15 Year Old Pony-driver Run over by Tubs at Denaby Main

September 1907

Mexborough & Swinton Times, September 6th 1907

Charles Smith, 15 Year Old Pony-driver
Run over by Tubs Denaby Main

The inquiry into the death of Charles Smith, residing with his widowed mother in Adwick Road, Mexborough, a pony-driver at Denaby Main Colliery, was held in the Primitive Methodist Institute, before the coroner, Mr. Dossey Wightman.

Mr. Clayton acting as foreman of the jury.

The mother of the deceased gave evidence of identification, and said she last saw the deceased alive on Thursday morning September 6th, when he was quite well.

Henry Willoughby, aged fifteen, a pony-driver employed at the same pit, next gave evidence. He stated that the deceased had worked with him for about a year. On the day of the accident, about 11-00 a.m., deceased brought a train of full tubs through a pass-by, where he ( witness ) had some empties, and they did an exchange.

Answering the Coroner, witness stated there were the usual number of tubs, namely eight.

About twenty minutes going in the direction taken by the deceased, he found deceased under the first tub, motionless, apparently dead. The pony was yoked to the tubs and quite quiet. He went for help, and it was about quarter of an hour before the deceased was extricated, when he was quite dead. In witness´s opinion, the lad fell first and overturned his tubs, which fell upon him, and this caused his death.

In cross-examination witness stated that the line was clear at the time, but the deceased was riding on the tubs.

Mr. Clayton : It is a very dangerous practice riding on the tubs.

The Coroner : Is it a usual thing for pony-drivers to ride on tubs ?

Witness : Yes sir.

Charles Rodgers, deputy at the pit, said he passed the place of the accident at 8-00 a.m. in the morning and found everything safe. When he heard of the accident he went immediately to the deceased, and found they were putting him on a stretcher. He was quite dead. Witness examined the place and found it quite safe. He said deceased had no right to ride on tubs, seeing that lads had been cautioned about doing it. The deceased ought to have been between the pony and the first tub. He ( witness ) further remarked that deceased was one of the best lads in the pit, he had never been reported for any offence. The most likely explanation as to his death was that he ( deceased ) was walking with one foot over the chain, caught a sleeper, and was then thrown.

In his opinion he did not think that he would have been riding ; If he had he would have been face upwards.

The last witness ( Willoughby ), recalled in answer to a question by the Coroner, said the corporal had never aid anything to the lads about riding ; in fact he allowed them to ride.

The Coroner here suggested an adjournment for the appearance of James Clayton the corporal.

The jury said they could plainly see it was a case of accidental death and so did not think it necessary to adjourn.

The Coroner : `Lads will be lads´.

Rodgers : I don´t allow them to ride.

The Coroner : Then don´t let your corporal.

A verdict of “Accidental Death” by being run over by tubs was returned.