A Funny Roof – Mexboro’ Miner Killed At Denaby.

February 1932

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 05 February 1932

A Funny Roof.

Mexboro’ Miner Killed At Denaby.

Two Ton Fall.

Place That “Wants Looking After.”

Conflicting evidence regarding the state of the roof in the Parkgate seam of Denaby Colliery was given at an inquest at Fullerton Hospital on Monday, on Frederick Hugo Dolman (47), contractor, 29, Simpson Place Mexborough, who was killed by a fall of stone on Saturday.

The inquiry was conducted by Mr. W. Carlile, with a jury, and there were also present Mr. P. L. Collineon Inspector of Mines), and Mr. N. Hulley (manager, Denaby Colliery).

James Williams, insurance agent, 29. Simpson Place, Mexhorough, said Dolman resided with him. He did speak about some relatives, but he would never have them mentioned.

Coroner: Was he married or single?—lt came to me about two days ago that he was married. A lodger told me. I received information that he had a wife and two children living.

James Briggs Marsden, dataller, 21. Hall Gate, Mlexborough, said he was working with Dolman on the morning shift on Saturday.

“We were in 240’s gate putting a right-hand pack up. The accident happened about eight o’clock. I was on the flat sheets and Dolman was in the middle of the road picking a packer up. A stone came down on him. I shouted but received no answer and then I partly moved the stone. It was impossible for me to remove it myself. I went and got four colliers and we got him out but he was dead. They built the pack about a yard high.”

Coroner: Did you know there was anything wrong with the roof ?—No.

The chargeman looked over it but I never saw him test it with a pick, as they generally do. He have done.

No “Slips” Seen.

Witness and Dolman set two props before starting on the pack. He did not see slips in the roof. There were props set on the left-hand aide of the gate but no bars. The roof seemed good but was a bit jagged at the end. On the night shift a certain amount of ripping had been done.

“We set the props for safety because the roof was a bit bad at the end of the lip.There was nothing to indicate the stone.”

Answering Mr. Collinson, he said the stone fell without warning. There was no timber where they were packing.

Michael Cain, deputy. 8, Addison Road, Mexborough, said during Friday night shift some ripping, and packing was done in the gate. He visited the place three times, the last time being about 4.35 a.m. He examined the place and considered it safe. Before his last examination, shot firing was done. There was adequate timbering set according to regulations—five feet tub room and four feet adjacent props. The roof, when he last saw it was good and there were no signs of a break.

Coroner: I understand the roof in the Parkgate seam is not too good ?—I should not say that.

Was there any crumbling?—I never saw any. We have had no trouble with the roof at this spot np to this accident.

We tested the roof with a pick according to general practice. Since the accident he found a break running over the “pack hole.”

Coroner: Having regard to this accedent, do you think the timber was sufficient?

Yes. Nothing could have been done to prevent this. The stone knocked out some timber in the middle.

Mr. Collinson : Is there not a false roof there varying in thickness? At times we have had that.

Have you noticed that on the left side of the gate there had been a small fall previously ?—Not particularly.

Answering further questions, witness said though two props were knocked out, there should have been two more. He could not state where they were now.

Mr. Collinson: There is 9 feet 9 inches tween the props now?—There should be two more. There was more timber there than actually required. If there had been more it would not have prevented the accident because there was too much weight.

Deputy’s Inspection.

John William Earp, contractor, 4, Morris Road. Balby, said he watched Cain examine the roof with a pick. The deputy remarked about the roof “at the front of the lip” and asked witness to “see to it.” There was a small piece of stone at the top of a prop. He pulled the prop out and reset it. He had previously drawn out another prop in the packing.

“The roof is a pretty funny roof. There is about an inch of coal running between the rock and the bind. The effect is to loosen the bottom bind and make it dangerous if not seen to immediately.”

The small fall previously mentioned was caused when he pulled out and re-set the prop as instructed by the deputy. He did not think he disturbed the roof when he did it, because there was sufficient timbering.

He agreed with Mr. Collinson that where the roof was “thin,” caused by the coal in it, the best practice was to get it down.

Cain, re-called and questioned shout the false roof, said: I have only noticed it for about a month. You get these things running now and again. but it is not a bad roof generally. It was quite perfect practically all that place when I tested it. .

More Timbering Needed?

George Reed, miner, 10. Kelham Street, Mexborough, said he was working in 236 stall when he was fetched by Marsden. When he got to the scene of the accident he saw Dolman trapped under a stone over seven feet long, four feet wide, and varying in thickness, from “a feather edge to about a foot.” He estimated the weight to be over two tons.

Dr. J. Gemmel, Mexborough, said death was due to a compound fracture of the skull. Other injuries were general contusions and abrasions of the body.

Recording a verdict of “Accidental death,” the Coroner said:

“We have tried to go into this case thoroughly. I think it is obvious to everyone that this roof was not as good as one of the witnesses has tried to make it out to be. I think it is generally admitted that it wants a good deal of looking after. It seems to me that it is right to say that there possibly was a little more space in the timbering than there should have been. I think we can draw that conclusion, though it may only be a matter of inches. I think it a fair conclusion. There seems to have been no sign of a break in the reef and possibly, if there had been more timbering, it would not have this man’s life because of the weight of the fall. Under those circumstances I think we can say that no one is to blame.”