In Search Of Spring Water – Labourers Fatal Experience – Crushed by Train

December 1906

Mexborough and Swinton Times December 15, 1906

In Search Of Spring Water.
Cadeby Labourers Fatal Experience.
Crushed by a Coal Train.

The distinctly painful circumstances attending the death of a Cadeby Main labourer named Wm. Henry Stanley (48), of 25, Blyth Street, Denaby Main, formed the subject of an enquiry held by Mr Dossey Whiteman, at the Reresby Arms hotel, Denaby Main, on Monday afternoon.

Deceased had been recovered from under the wheels of a coal train on the previous Wednesday, having apparently attempted a short cut by creeping between the wagons while they were in motion. As a result he was frightfully mangled, being pinned to the rail by the leg, and was subsequently taken to the Fullerton hospital, only to die there in great agony shortly after.

At the inquest the proceedings were watched on behalf of the relatives by Mr Smyth (from the offices of Messrs J. W. And A. E. Hattersley, Solicitors, Mexborough); Mr W Walker, H. M. Chief Inspector of mines, was also in attendance; and the colliery company was represented by Mr A. H. Barnard and Mr H. S. Witty. Mr R. Snow was foreman of the jury.

Evidence of identification having been given, a locomotive driver named Benjamin Davies, employed by the colliery company, said he had been engaged at the pit since March. On Wednesday, at 12-15 p.m. he was driving a train of 13 wagons from the Cadeby sidings to the boilers. The gradient was of one in 9.5, and the train was nearly stopped during the journey, he had not seen the man prior to the accident, but had heard his screams. During the whole of the journey the speed had never exceeded the rate of 3 mph.

Having heard the screams the shunter, who was riding on the engine, looked back, and remarked: “We’ve knocked a man down.” Witness had then stopped the engine, and had gone back to deceased, who had one leg on the “onside” rail, the body being in their “six-foot.” Deceased had said nothing, and he was immediately removed to the saw shed, from thence to the Fullerton hospital. On the scene of the accident and near to the body lay a tin can, which was crushed.

Replying to a query from the coroner. He said he had been driving in the neighbourhood for 12 years, and was of opinion that in the present case the man must have been returning from a spring near the Hull and Barnsley railway, where he had been to get water, and was creeping through the wagons. At times the train was practically stationary owing to the adverse wind and weather.

Replying to a query from the inspector of mines, witness said the line in question was straight, and for me hundred yards or so he had whistled. Had he been on a scrap heap near the line where was the spring, witness would have seen him.

The coroner enquired of the direction in which the body was found tended to the opinion that the man would be likely to be returning from the spring, and the reply was in the affirmative.

Mr Smith asked if it were not possible for deceased to have slipped from the scrap heap by the side of the line, and witness said he did not know.

George Hy. Hudson, a Cadeby labourer, said he knew deceased with whom he worked. On the morning in question they had both commenced work together, and at noon they were taking dinner together in a little cabin in the pit yard. Stanley had said “I’ll go for the can of water, George,” at the same time picking up the can and going alone. The spring to where he had gone was of very good-quality, but they were able to get water nearer than at 180 yards in the distance. 10 minutes later he heard of the accident, and went to the sawmill, where he saw the deceased on a stretche, being conveyed to the hospital. Both witness and deceased had gone for the water scores of times, and he could not account for the present occurrence. He (witness) had never crept under the trains in order to get the water. “Deceased had been working there for eight years and had the reputation of being a most careful man,” said witness in reply to a query from the inspector.

Witness admitted, on being questioned by Mr Barnard, that there was a pipe in the powerhouse erected for the express purpose of providing the men with water. Mr Smith asked if a journey was made for the purpose of getting iron?” “Not there,” replied the witness.