Cadeby Disaster Victim – Pickering, William Henry

July 1912

Mexborough & Swinton Times, July 20, 1912

William Henry Pickering.

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector Of Mines For The Yorkshire And North Midlands Division

Killed In The 2 nd Explosion In Cadeby Main Colliery July 9 th 1912 In His 52 nd Year.

He Led The Rescue Party After The 1 st Explosion on July 9 th And By An Act Of Supreme Valour

Crowned A Life Devoted To The Service Of God And Man By A Heroic Death.

Why Was It ?

The death of Mr. Pickering was the first to be confirmed, and those who could relapse into anything approaching calmness, on the realisation of the news, did wonder how it was that so gifted a craftsman should have been caught in the toils. Here was lying dead a man of magnificent experience, a man who had run the gauntlet of hundreds of explosions, had forced his way through many hazards, had directed and encouraged and guided in the midst of many perils ; a man who had often risked his life, but never needlessly.

We shall never be given anything like a cogent account of this second explosion. I think, but if there is any reliable narrative to be obtained, we shall want to know whether Mr. Pickering followed his invariable precaution of seeing that the ventilation was kept sound and good, inch by inch, step by step.

We cannot suppose that lives were recklessly thrown away on the hands of a seasoned scientist.

A Brilliant Victim.

Mr. Pickering, of whom the Home Secretary, in his telegram of sympathy, spoke in the highest terms, has long been looked upon as one of the leading authorities on coal mining in the whole world. He has, for a considerable number of years occupied the position of Divisional Inspector for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, with a break of about two years, during which he did similar duty in India, and quite recently won the Edward medal for a signal act of bravery in supporting a doomed miner while he took the sacrament from a priest.

One of the painful features of his untimely end is the circumstance that he would, in the ordinary course, have been lunching with the King and Queen at Hickleton Hall at the time he was lying amid the ruins of the second explosion.

Funeral Of Mr. Pickering. Archbishop Officiates
The Sheffield Victim.

The funeral of Mr. Pickering has been fixed to take place at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon. Canon Sandford ( Vicar of Doncaster ) and an intimate friend of the deceased gentleman, will officiate. The day and time has been fixed to meet the convenience of the numerous colliery representatives and officials from all parts of the North and Midlands who desire to pay their last respects at the graveside.

The body of the late Chief Inspector now lies at his residence in Lawn Road, Doncaster. The Edward Medal, he so nobly won, reclines upon his breast.

Inspectors Bravery.

How The Late Mr. Pickering Won The Edward Medal.

Mr. Pickering, who was the Chief Inspector of Mines for Yorkshire and the North-Midland district, was in his fifty-fourth year. The son of a Wigan gentleman, he was educated at St. Peter´s School, York, and after being trained as a mining engineer was placed first in the examination of candidates for inspectorships.

He was appointed assistant inspector in 1866 and spent some years in India as chief inspector of mines. Two years ago he was awarded the Edward Medal of the first class for his bravery in connection with an accident at the Water Haigh Mine, Oulton, near Leeds. Five men were killed, but one, Patrick McCarthy, was pinned by the legs and lingered in agony for several hours. Mr. Pickering was one of six men who were decorated for endeavouring to save McCarthy. The water rose until it had reached the man´s shoulders, and he became delirious, but Mr. Pickering stayed by him at the risk of his own life. Two doctors and a priest were taken down to McCarthy, whose terrible suffering came to an end just as they reached him.

Mr Pickering’s Grave in Hyde Park Cemetery, Doncaster Memorial Plaque in St George’s Minster