Denaby Miner’s Death Follows Operation.

October 1907

Mexborough and Swinton Times October 19, 1907

Denaby Miner’s Death.
Sequel to Fall Of Coal.
Death Follows Operation.

On 24 September, Henry Sykes (28), miner, Firbeck Street, Denaby, while working in Cadeby Colliery, was injured by a fall of coal. His injuries were not considered serious, and he returned to his work the following day. Subsequently he complained of pains in the lower part of the body, and his doctor ordered him to the Doncaster infirmary. He was there operated upon, but died on Friday night last.

The inquest was opened on Monday, at the Doncaster Town Hall, by the borough coroner (Mr. R. A. H. Tovey). He explained that the enquiry would have been held earlier, but it but that it was at first thought the death was not due to the accident.

Mark Sykes, miner, of Altofts near Normanton, identified the body as that of his son., who was 28 years of age, married, and had four children, the eldest of which was six years of age. Deceased had been at Cadeby by a little over five months. Witness last saw him alive on Friday afternoon, in Doncaster infirmary, when deceased was in considerable pain. Deceased was a healthy man.

The foreman: had he ever complained of pain in the body before the accident?

Witness: No, but he complained ever since the accident.

At this stage the enquiry was adjourned. On Tuesday, at the end adjourned enquiry. Mr. A. H. Barnard watched the proceedings on behalf of the Colliery company.

Frank Gedney, filler, of 15, Bath Street, Denaby, said he was working with the deceased, about three quarters of a mile from the pit shaft. The accident happened between 9 and 10 a.m. The deceased was pulling some coal over with a bar about 6 feet long., and there was a piece of what was known as soft coal hanging over him. Just as the deceased pulled a piece of coal out, the piece which was hanging over dropped, and his hit the deceased on the right shoulder, knocking him to the ground. He fell heavily on his side. The weight of the fallen coal would be about one stone. Witness asked him if it had hurt him, and he asked him (witness) to look at his shoulder, which was found to be grazed. Deceased had not a coat on at the time, he was in his bare skin. He still kept on working, complaining about his shoulder, but of no other injury or pain. They left work at 2 o’clock. Deceased returned as usual on the following day. He again complained of his shoulder hurting him, and he had it bandaged. He left work at 2 o’clock, and witness did not see him anymore.

The foreman: did he complain before the accident of any pain? – No, sir.
Juryman: did you notice, when he was down, that any coal fell on his body ?

Witness: I asked him if it had hurt his leg, and he told me to look at his shoulder. The fall caused a graze, and I could not see well.

Ernest Hutton 8 Scawsby street, Denaby, a filler, gave evidence, and said deceased did not blame anyone for the accident.

Ruth Humphries, 8a, Woodview, Denaby, said the deceased was her nephew, and after she had heard of the accident she went to see him at about 3.30. He complained of the accident, and looked as if he had upset his inside. Later he said he felt as if he had some internal injury. She got some hot flannels and bran, and poulticed his shoulder, which, he said, eased the pain a little. He went to work on the following day, when he came home again he looked very ill, and the shoulder was very much inflamed.

On the following day he consulted Drs McClure and Smith, club doctors. They ordered his removal to the Doncaster Royal infirmary on the 11th inst., deeming an operation necessary. Deceased seem to be getting worse each day. She did not see him any more. He complained continuously of pain in his inside, but did not blame anyone for the accident.

Dr. Battersby said he examined deceased, and found that an operation was necessary, and it was performed the same night. The operation was successful but the deceased never recovered, and he died on Friday night.

The cause of the death was strangulation of the bowel, followed by gangrene of the bowel and peritonitis. Witness said the deceased had a kind of band in his abdomen, which only about 2% of people had. The bowel could force its way under this band, and a sudden contraction of the muscles of the body might cause it to do this, and it will cause strangulation. A fall might have caused this, but death was only indirectly due to the accident. The injuries to the shoulder had nothing to do with the death.

The jury found that the death was caused by an accident in the pit.