Home Office Inquiry Into the Cadey Disaster – Tuesday Morning

August 1912

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 10 August 1912

Home Office Inquiry Into the Cadey Disaster – Tuesday Morning

At the commencement of Tuesday’s hearing Mr. Redmayne, addressing Mr. Gichard, said: It was mentioned in the evidence yesterday, Mr.Gichard, that gob stinks were always reported. May I take it that in this case the gob stink was not reported ?

Mr. Gichard. I don’t know that I can admit that.

The Inspector: Then I must call evidence to prove it.

Mr. Beale. Then your case that it was reported?

Mr. Gichard: Yes.

Question of Reports

James Springthorpe, deputy in the south district, was again question on the subject of reports.

The Inspector: When you examined the workings, did you report immediately, are you in the habit of waiting sometimes at the end of the shift? – At the end of the shift.

Where is your report book kept?—At the pit bottom.

Reading from the regulations in the Mines Act, 1911, the inspector asked Springthorpe where the deputies met the men before they entered for their shifts.

Witness. At the pit bottom.

When does the night deputy make his report, which the regulations say should be made before the work commences — Six o’clock.

And when does be make his inspection? Between four and six.

Can it be said that he enters up his report without delay? – I should say so.

Should be No Delay

The Inspector: Sub-section 3 of Section 66 says: “A full and correct report is to be made without delay. There is to be no delay between the inspection and making out the report.” Before the deputy meets you, is his report made out?

Witness: I can’t say. It may have been.

Do you not look at the report to see what things are like before you go in? Do you see him and talk to him?— Yes.

Is his report written before he sees you?— I have not seen it.

You look at his report? – Afterwards.

What do you mean by saying he reports afterwards? – After he as written it.

The Inspector: I want to find out whether he has written the report before or after he sees you?

The witness replied that he did not know.

You say you see his report? – I see it at 6 o’clock

You meet him and talk to him? – Yes.

And then you go along and see his report? – Yes, afterwards.

So you do not know what has happened, whether he writes his report before he sees you are afterwards? – I do not now.

Have you ever seen him writing his report? – Not that I’m aware of.

What time do you see the nightshift deputy? – 6 o’clock.

Before you admit the men? – Yes, he will say, “all is right; you can let the men go.”

Don’t you think it would be a good idea to see report before you admit the men? –

Perhaps it one – to see the written report besides being verbally told.

The Inspector: I think it would be a wise thing to see the report.

Witness was questioned at length in regard to the district where the explosion occurred.

The Inspector: When Mr Berry were directing stoppings to be put in portion, did you test the gas? – Witness: Yes, sir.

Did you find anything? – No, sir.

Witness Breaks Down

Mr Smith commenced putting questions to the witness, but the latter appeared distressed, and the Inspector told him to drink a glass of water, and not to allow himself to be agitated. Later, the Inspector thought it would be wise to give Springthorpe a rest. Immediately afterwards when he left his seat he completely broke down and was assisted out of the hall by a fellow workmen.

The Inspector expressed sympathy with Springthorpe, who had suffered personal loss in the disaster.

Farmer’s Story

Joseph farmer, a greaser, was then called as a witness. He said he was about a mile away from the South District when explosion occurred. Relating his experiences on July 9, witness said that at about 20 yards from the pit bottom he met two men, George Cookson and Benjamin Wright, and asked the latter if he was ready for a bit of snap. He replied, “Yes.” Witness went further on the road and saw a man name Wildman, and asked him where Humphries was. Humphries asked if he had heard or seen anything, and he replied, “Certainly not.” I’ve just come off the pit bottom, and I have neither seen nor heard anything.”

The Inspector: What time was this? – 10 minutes or a quarter past two.

Where was the exact spot? – Between the pit bottom and South plane top.

Proceeding, witness stated that Wright did not say anything in regard to going down the plane, merely said, “You would have thought that there would have been someone up before now if there had been anything the matter.”

Witness answered, “Good God! Have you ever known a district to be cut off from the other district, and they not know about it, because I have.” Witness then went further down the road, investigating everything carefully as he went along. He saw various obstacles lying in all directions all over the rails.

The Inspector: How far down the road was that? – About 200 yards down before I noticed any obstacles on the rails.

Continue, Farmer said he also examined the doors, and they were intact.

The Inspector: Are these doors bolted or locked? And do you carry key? – They are unlocked, and to my knowledge they are always unlocked.

Witness said he went further on, still finding those coverings et cetera strewn all over the rails, Tilly got to 166’s and that door was not locked.

Replying to Mr Redmayne, witness said he thought the force of the explosion had blown the tubs back.

Silent as the Grave

Further on he trod on something soft, and what he found was dust. He shouted two or three times, “but it was as silent as the grave.”

He saw the dust was as black as ink. He thought it would be wise to summon assistance, so returned to the top of the plane, when he met a man named Senior, watering the levels, and remarked to him, “Good God, there’s not a man alive down there.” Witness met Humphries, and both went back again together, down the plane.

The Inspector: Were there signs of considerable violence along 14’s? – Yes, sir; terrible.

The tubs were blown about? – All blown to atoms.

How far did you get along 14’s? – We stayed and consulted a little at 14’s landing end.

Was there a fault there? – Not much, a couple of tubs or so.

When you met Cusworth and Springthorpe, what time would it be? – 5:30.

And you would be at the 14’s landing? – Yes

Did you say anything to Cusworth when you met? – Springthorpe spoke to me and asked if I’d examined a certain door and I said, “No, we have not, because there was no one at work down there.”

Do you know that door quite well? – Yes, sir.

Is it locked? – Not to my knowledge.

Cusworth’s Forethought

Witness went to look at the door and Cusworth said to Springthorpe, “How is ventilation as regards a second explosion?” Springthorpe replied, “The current is going all right.”

Anything to Oblige

Proceeding, witness said he and Springthorpe went to 33’s together, and the latter asked him to go on, but he replied: “No, Jim; I have had sufficient. I will do anything to oblige you, but I would rather not go there.”

Later, Springthorpe told him to stand at the doors, and let no one go through. At 6 o’clock Mr Bury came down. Members of the rescue party also came, carrying portions of their apparatus, and they were followed by another batch.

Whilst witness stood conversing they heard a door “go.” That was at 7 o’clock. He pulled the door open, and deputy Fisher came through with no apparatus on, followed by deputy Humphries, “with his lot.”

The Inspector: Had you any talk to them? – They said they had recovered 22 bodies and five horses.

How many persons did you meet all the time you were there? – 40 or 50.

When did you come to the surface? – Just after eight.

When were you down the pit again? – I was not down again.

A Bit Rough For ‘Em

Mr Smith: did you hear any complaints that night about difficulties of ventilation? – No.

Did you hear any complaints on Sunday night? – No, sir.

Did you hear any complaints on Monday night from men have been working on the afternoon shift? – They said it had been a little bit rough for ‘em.

What do they mean by rough? – I cannot say.

You seem to have a fair knowledge of mining. Don’t hesitate to say if anybody said anything to you? – I tell you that they said they’d had a rough time.

In reply to Mr Redmayne, witness mentioned the names of two men – Slater and Ackroyd – who spoke to him. One of them was a bricklayer, and the other a dattaler. They had been working at number 33. Witness added that had been working in the district where the explosion occurred for three years. He remembered a former explosion, but only regarded it as trifling.

Mr Gichard: When Springthorpe came down to where you were, did he test the air at 14’s landing end? – Yes, sir.

Did Mr Bury test it then? – I didn’t go down with Mr Bury.

Did any other test it in your presence? – Mr Bury, Mr Springthorpe, and Mr Cusworth tested for gas.

Replying to the Inspector, witness said he could not say what kind of lamps they used.

The Working Book Missing

William Humphries, a road layer, said that he was one of the first to detect that something had gone wrong in the South district. Between 1 and 2 a.m. he noticed a sudden stoppage of air, followed by warm current. He immediately went to the pit bottom, knowing that two men were working there. He asked them whether they had seen or heard anything, and they replied that the top door had opened and shut, but no one had passed through. Witness went back to his work, but still had the impression that there was something wrong. After a while he went to South plane top, and the air started booing. He told them what had occurred and their impressions then were that an explosion occurred somewhere in the pit, but they did not know where. One of them went away and came back shortly


Afterwards, and said there was dust all over the rails. He dispatched a man named Senior, who was at the plane top, to fetch Bullock. Bullock came and he and witness walked down the plane, until they came to a sudden stop. At 14’s landing they saw between 50 and 60 tubs broken to pieces.

A deputy named Fisher eventually came down they found the dead body of Martin Maloney. They summon the rescue party at 5:45. Half an hour later a message came along the level: “Cusworth and Humphries in the Crossgate bottom immediately.”

Witness, along with others, was endeavouring to find out by the working book where the men were.

Reply to Mr Redmayne, Mr Chambers said he was afraid that book was inside. Customers would have it.

The Inspector: When you saw customers and Mr Bury did you hear any conversation between them as to the possible cause of the explosion? – Not in my presence.

There was no mention of gob fire? – No.

A Gob Stink

In answer to Mr Smith, witness said that on Sunday the Geoffrey told him that there was gob stink in the pit. He heard no complaints on the Monday night. The day shift commenced to go into the pit about 5.30 on the morning of the explosion.

Mr Smith: although you knew something had happened, the men were going down? – Yes.

You knew there were 22 men dead? – Yes.

Did you not strike you to get on the telephone to some responsible official between four and 6 o’clock?

Well, if I had gone to the telephone I could not have got an answer.

Mr Redmayne: Why? – Well, there are different kinds of rings, and I don’t know the signals.

Is there not a copy of the signals posted? Well I have not seen them.

Continuing he said when he did get the pit bottom he found a number of men there, but no one had told him what happened, to his knowledge.

He did not know how long Mr Bury had known. Mr Bury had an electric lamp.

Replying to Mr Smillie, the witness said there was no person higher than a deputy in charge of the pit at night.

No Idea as to the Cause

George Fisher, senior deputy on the night, gave his experience when called from the South district to the West Street, after the explosion. As soon as he realised the size of the affair, he called for assistance.

Inspector: Have you any idea as to the cause of the explosion? – No, sir.

Continue, witness said that Ian Bullock precedes an unfortunate level till they got to 64. Witnesses light went out while testing gas.

Inspector: When you are in 64’s had you actually got to the coal face? – No sir.

What did you do when you got to 19 Crossgate? – I reported it to Mr Cusworth.

Did you see any signs of burning? – No.

Did you see any signs of dust on the props, called us? – Yes, sir.

Mr Smillie: I suppose that is some account of the number of men who went – Yes, sir.

Mrs Smith asked a question relative to the unrecovered bodies of the south district.

Mr Redmayne said he understood pre-requisition was, when it was the intention of the management to enter district and recovered the bodies.

Mr Richard was understood to reply that it was intention of the management to go into the district and recovered the bodies.

Mr Redmayne: That process, I will take it, will be a lengthy one. Whenever it is done it will give an intimation when recovery takes place. Proceeding, he said he also wanted the report working book and the position of the bodies found noted. A member of the staff would be present to take notes. Mr Smith: we are rather anxious to be there when the inspection takes place.

Mr Redmayne: I don’t think the management will raise any objection.

Mr Chambers: No, sir, if you allow them to accompany any of your staff.

Mr Redmayne: I think it would be a gracious act on your part to allow the representatives to go down.

Plucky Conduct

Mrs Mather said it would no doubt take some time to penetrate into the district, and Mr Redmayne agreed, saying it would be very foolish, of course, to remove the stopping straight away. It would have to be done gradually. Proceeding, said he hoped to able to rise on Wednesday and adjourn the enquiry until such time as they had been round the workings, and he did not suppose anyone could forecast the exact date of that.