Mexborough and Swinton Times May 12 1916
Denaby Pony Drivers Wanton Behaviour
to Denaby pony drivers, Arthur Wellings and Herbert Clare, were summoned for doing an act likely to endanger the safety of the mine or to persons in the mine.
Wellings’s mother appeared and pleaded guilty and Clare appeared personally and pleaded guilty.
Mr Frank Allen appeared for the company said it was one of the worst cases he had had to bring before the court. They were caught in the act; in fact, there was a lot of boys there, and they were seen to go to the side of the road where they were driving, to use a corporal’s peggy and pull-out timber, for the purpose of letting the dirt down.
There were only too successful, for they let down something like 20 tons.
Afterwards marks were found on a ‘leg’ which supported the roof where they had been hammering to get it out. If it had come out, there would have been a job for him, continue Mr Allen, in another capacity, for the lads, in all probability would not have been there that day.
It took two and half hours to move the dirt, and cost £2. It was a very funny thing that in that particular pit the manager was having continual trouble with falls in the roadway, and always more on the afternoon shift. The company had come to the conclusion that the falls were not all accident, the result of deliberate act by boys who desired to get out of the pit stop and on the afternoon shift the boys, if they got out, could get to some amusement in the evening.
The company estimated that 20 or 30 stalls per week on account of falls, and they lost between 200 and 200 tons of coal per week, which would otherwise have been got. For stalls were put off and eight men were temporary idle in this case. He considered it a very, very bad case.
Clare had, however, born a good character; they had been no previous complaint. Wellings had admitted he had done this on previous occasions. Had they not been so young he would have asked their worships to send them to prison.
It was stated that Wellings was 17 ½ and earning 30 shillings, and Clare was 15 ½ and earning 21s a week.
A Pawnee driver named FAQ describe what happened, how a pile was pulled out of the side, and a boy set to watch for the deputy. He realised they might have been buried.
Mr HW Smith, the manager, said he had questioned the boys and Wellings admitted the offence. It was a very dangerous thing to do. It was a crime against the country and themselves, and called the country expensive in addition. Had the “leg” come out the persons engaged getting it out would have been buried. They had falls sometimes it took them a week to clear.
Wellings was ordered to pay 30s and Clare 21s