Mexborough and Swinton Times, August 30.
Conisborough Miner “Shot.”
Mystery of a Missile.
Curious Accident in Cadeby Pit Bottom.
The mysterious accident, resulting in the death of Edward Bradley Whittlestone, a dataller of the Cadeby colliery, aged 57, of Mount Pleasant Conisborough, was enquired into by Mr Montague Nicholson, deputy coroner, at the Fullerton Hospital, Denaby Main, yesterday afternoon.
Whittlestone was emerging from the cage at the bottom of the shaft on Tuesday night when he was struck by a missile which, apparently, fell from the pit top. He fell forward and was taken to the Fullerton hospital when he died without recovering consciousness.
There were at the enquiry, Mr H Hawley, manager of the Cadeby Main Colliery, Mr R.S. Young, Barnsley, H.M.I. and Mr T.J.Gregory,, representing the YMA
The widow gave evidence of identification, and said that when the husband left, on Tuesday night, about 9.30 he was in good health. He had 30 years experience as a miner at Cadeby colliery.
James Lees, a miner, of Cliff View, Conisborough, said he was with Whittlestone at the time of the accident, which occurred about 10:15 PM
“There was about a foot between as,” said the witness, “We were just leaving the cage when I heard a report like the crack of a rifle, and suddenly Whittlestone fell face forward. We searched for the cause of the accident, but could find nothing.”
Lees said the accident occurred so quickly that it was impossible to see anything strike Whittlestone. A small 1 inch nut, which had been found near the spot was examined by the coroner, and witness agree that it may have been the cause of the accident.
Answering the inspector, Lees said that in his opinion, he concluded that the missile, whatever it was, must have first hit the side of the cage, and then rebounded hitting Whittle stone in the centre of the forehead.
John William Burkinshaw, of 9 Doncaster road, Conisborough, a shaft examiner, said he inspected the shaft the night previously and after the accident. He found nothing to indicate the cause of the trouble, but also agreed that the piece of iron, which was an inch bore, similar to those used on the “slippers” of the cage might have been the cause.
Dr Ford said he was called about 11 o’clock on Tuesday night. There was a scalp wound about 2 inches in length, and from the symptoms betrayed by the injured man, he concluded that the skull was fractured.
The doctor suggested that the missile most certainly struck some other object first or the man would have been killed instantly. The witness agreed that the nut was the likely cause of the accident.
The Coroner remarked that it was a most curious and unfortunate fact that at all the injuries of mining fatalities he had recently attended, the men concerned had been old and clever workman killed by some such unlucky accident as they had heard of at that inquest. He thought it a pure accident, and that no blame could be attached to anyone. The man was most probably killed by the falling nut but that could not be definitely established.
The jury agreed, and a verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.
The coroner and Mr Gregory associate themselves with an expression of condolence and sympathy from Mr Hulley.