Crushed To Death – Trapped By Trucks – Shunting Mishap.

August 1930

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 08 August 1930

Crushed To Death

Denaby Man Trapped By Trucks.

Shunting Mishap.

Mr. C. B. Marshall (Deputy Coroner) and a jury sat for over two hours at Conisbrough, yesterday, inquiring into the accident caused the death of John Burke (55), colliery surface labourer, who was killed at Cadeby Main the previous morning.

Burke and a man named Bingham were filling dust near the washer and were sheeting their second truck-load when without any apparent warning seven other trucks, higher up the road moved, and Burke was crushed between the truck he had been filling and the  first of the other seven trucks. The accident occurred about 9.20 a.m.

Martin Bingham, labourer, 8, Trent Street Conisborough, said he was attaching the sheet at the end of the truck lower down the road and Burke was at the end nearest the other trucks. Witness had just got down from his end when he beard the clash of the buffer, and when he looked round the trucks together and Burke was jammed betweenthem. He heard no sound before that. He had to get assistance to release Burke, who appeared to be dead when they got free. He was pinned in the middle of the body.

In reply to the Inspector of Mines (Mr Collinson), Bingham said he saw at three of the trucks on the road above them were braked down. They could not have moved without being struck by something.

In reply to Mr. T J. Gregory, the men’s inspector, Bingham said he had worked five years on that job and had not known such a thing happen before. He did not customarily see the shunter when trucks were shunted down that road.

Wagons Braked Down.

Charles H. J. Lawrence, wagon loader, 135 Doncaster Road Denaby said he brought down the two dust wagons on which and Bingham worked, and seven others, early that morning He pinned down the bras on three of the seven wagons. Brakes were also pinned down on other wagons standing higher up, at the top of the yard. He was, having his “snap” when the accident occurred and knew nothing of it till afterwards.

In reply to Mr. Gregory, Lawrence sad they always found it safe to have the brakes of three of seven wagons pinned down the road. In answer to a query by the jury it was stated that the gradient on the road was one in 55.

Leonard Bassindale, shunter, 13, Calder Terrace, Conisborough, said Burke and Bingham went to him about seven that morning and asked for two dust wagons. He put the two wagons in, first pulling out about twelve others in order to put the dust wagons in front of them. He left them at the top of the road. About nine o’clock, is the course of later shunting operations, he put 15 wagons into that road first hooking up five others which he found there. He moved the whole train about the twenty wagon lengths. As the driver of the locomotive backed in steadily he pinned down the brakes of sufficient of the wagons to hold the train. He felt no bump and went on with his work at the other end of the pit yard, being unaware of the accident till some little time later. He could see no other wagons on the road when he gave the signal to the driver to back down. He could not see the wagon on which Burke was working because of the bend in the road. Before he started moving the train there would be about 50 yards between the first wagon and the corner of the screen. He could see about thirty yards of that distance.

Mr. Collinson remarked that, a wagen being about six yards long, the distance Bassindale had the wagons moved was about 120 yards, and he called Bassingdale’s attention to the regulation which laid down that a shunter should precede or accompany the first wagon of a train in such circumstances.

Bassindale admitted he had pushed the train about 90 yards farther than he could see, but when asked, “Do you consider you complied with the rules?’ He replied, I don’t know exactly what you mean.”

The Coroner: You knew two wagons had been put in there for the filling of dust.Where did you think they had gone’—l expected they had been filled and had through the other end.

“In A Hurry.”

You did not take the precaution of forward to see whether the seven wagons and the two had been got out of the way?—No.

Why didn’t you go forward those 30 yards so that you could see down to the washer ? —We were In such a big haurry to get those wagons out of the way that I hadn’t time.

Who was in a hurry besides you?—Mr. Gregory the traffic manager. He was standing by the side of the line, waving the engine on.

Mr. Collinson further quoted the regulations and Bassindale said the engine gave a whistle which he considered sufficient warning. He did not know that regulations posted at the colliery, and had never instructed in his duties, except by his brother.

In reply to Mr. H. Hulley (representing the Colliery Company), witness said he had never seen the regulations posted at the engine house. If he had gone to the front of the train of wagons he could not hare signalled the driver because the latter not have been able to see him. If he had used his whistle the driver would not have been able to hear it.

In reply to Mr. Gregory, Bassindale said in his opinion the twenty wagons did not strike the seven that were standing on road, or the train would have “buffered up.” He was sure his train did not strike anything at all.

The Coroner: You were braking wagons. When the engine pushed these, did not that cause them to buffer up ? —Yes.

George White Gregory, traffic manager, Cadeby Lane. Denaby, said the train in Bassindale’s charge passed him, and be passed on Bassindale’s signal to the driver to back in. Thera was no particular hurry about the operation. He could not see, because of the bend in the road, whether Bassindale went to the front of the train before moving it. The regulations were posted conspicuously.

In reply to Mr. Holley, Gregory said had not given Bassindale any particular instructions. He took it for granted he knew his work and had read the instructions. He saw the place after the accident but could not say whether the accident was caused by the twenty wagons striking the seven.

Conflict Of Evidence.

Clarence William Tomlinson, colliery driver, 5, Willow Street, Conisborough said he drove the engine that shunted Bassindale’s train on to the dirt road. He simply obeyed Bassindale’s arm signals, which he could see quite plainly.  The train travelled about twenty wagon lengths. He did set feel the train strike anything. It was possible for it to strike something, it they were stopping, and the shock was slight, without him or anyone else seeing or hearing anything to warn them of the fact.

P.c. Whitehead described Burke’s injuries which included such revere crushing of the abdomen as was sufficient alone to death.

The Coroner said they had had a protracted sitting through a conflict of evidence over what ought to have been a very simple matter. The conflict was chiefly between the witness, Bassindale, and everybody else —he was bound to say that. The evidence of Tomlinson, that the twenty wagons have struck the seven without anyone hearing the impact, seemed to clear up any doubt that the train did strike the seven wagons and push them up to the one on which Burke was working; but there thing wrong somewhere, If such a slight push could send those three wagon two or three wagon lengths with sufficient force crush a man to death as Burke had been crushed.

The Jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”