Hard Hat Might Have Saved Him – Denaby Miner Killed

July 1941

Mexborough & Swinton Times, July 26

Hard Hat Might Have Saved Him

Denaby Miner Killed

A witness at an inquest at Conisborough on Wednesday on Thomas Henry Whitwell (38), collier, 28, Braithwell Street, Denaby told the Doncaster District Coroner, Mr. W. H. Carlile, how Whitwell took charge of a rail he was carrying and was buried by a fall of roof as witness went back to get another one.

Mr. J. T. Stephenson, H.M. Inspector for Mines, was present; Mr. D. Sheldon represented the Cadeby Branch of the Y.M.A.; Mr. D. Cowburn, manager of Cadeby Colliery represented the Denaby and Cadeby Colliery Company.

John Harold Hill, of 2, Strafforth Terrace, Denaby, said he and Whitwell were working in 82’s stall in the Middle East District of the Barnsley Seam, and he had examined the place, which was supported by two side-bars and a centre-bar, and thought it was perfectly safe.  Suddenly there was a fall and Whitwell was buried.  The fall brought down the middle support.  After the fall witness noticed a slip on the left hand side, right along the side of the packing.

In reply to H.M. Inspector, witness said Whitwell also examined the lip before the accident and said it was the best lip he had seen.

Rudolph Summerscales, of 9, Warmsworth Street, Denaby Main, examined the place.  On finding that the roof showed no signs of weakness he did not put up an extra support.  He visited it again about 6 p.m., and everything was in order.  After the accident he found that the fall had come from a slip.

The Coroner stated that he thought witness should have played for safety and put up a support.

Dr. D. T. Clarke said death was due to asphyxia, after the man had been rendered unconscious by the injury to his head which a hard had might have prevented.

Recording a verdict of “Accidental Death”, the Coroner said the accident proved the value of hard hats.