Man Killed at Cadeby – Shunting Accident

January 1940

Mexborough & Swinton Times, January 27

Shunting Accident
Man Killed at Cadeby
“Could have been Avoided”
CoronerĀ“s Comment

A fatal accident which the Doncaster District Deputy Coroner (Mr. C. R. Marshall) said he felt bound to say was one which could very easily have been avoided, was the subject of an inquest at Conisborough Council Offices on Tuesday, on Albert Denham (47), colliery surface labourer, of Firbeck Street, Denaby, who was killed instantly on the surface at Cadeby Main Colliery, Conisborough on Saturday.

“Not Quite Satisfied”

In recording a verdict of “Accidental Death”, the Coroner said that it was easy to be critical afterwards and to say what people should have done or what they should not have don, but he was bound to say that he could not be quite satisfied by the explanation given by Peter Holland, a witness, as to why he did not take action which should have been usual in the course of his employment.

He could not understand why he did not let Mills (another witness) know that he had reached the wagons, and still less could he understand why he did not look at the end of the wagons before they were backed into.

It was only fair to Holland, however, to say that he had said that he thought no one was working there because the place was chock-a-block with wagons; that had happened before.

Fit and Well

The widow, Evelyn Annie Denham, stated that her husband left home on Saturday perfectly fit and well, His sight and hearing were good.

William Marsden, washer-man, 1, St PeterĀ“s Road, Conisborough, stated that he had been employed at Cadeby Main Colliery for 30 years and for the last seven years as a washer-man on the screens. He was working with Denham when he was killed. About 8.30 a.m. on Saturday he received instructions to empty a wagon of slack and he and Denham were doing their work together. The high end of the wagon was hoisted up and the door at the lower end of the wagon was opened to allow the slack to slide out. The slack went through a grating in the bottom and was taken into the washery to be washed. The grating was between two fracks.

Witness and Denham got between the rails on which the wagon was standing and commenced raking out the slack that had been left in the wagon. They took a side each, and when witness had finished his side he stepped out to stand up his rake. He then heard a shout, “Look out up there” and saw a shunter named Holland coming towards them. Witness stepped out on the side where the shunter was and saw some wagons coming towards them.. he had previously seen the wagons stationary about six or seven yards from the wagon by which they were standing. They were empty. Eight or ten minutes elapsed between the time the wagon was jacked up and the shout was given.

Marsden stated that when he heard the shout the wagons had got within three or four yards of them. The end wagon was moving very slowly. At that time Denham was still underneath the door of their wagon finishing his work.. “I tried to get him clear by reaching at his coat”, went on Marsden “and I got hold of him, but by that time the moving end wagon struck the door of our wagon, The door touched my arm and I had a narrow escape. The impact tended to close the door and Denham was trapped between the door and the side of the wagon.

Witness told the shunter that Dehham had been trapped, and asked him to get the wagon eased off, and the wagons were drawn away within two or three minutes. He realised then that Denham was dead.

Ruptured Heart

Dr. T. D. Clark, of Denaby, who examined Denham first in an ambulance at the colliery, said that the cause of death was a rupture of the heart and the large blood vessels due to the penetration of the fibs on the left side. Denham had been crushed.

Charles Mills, foreman shunter, Tickhill Square, Denaby, stated that on Saturday morning he relieved the loco. driver while the driver had his breakfast, and he had done his particular job for may years. On Saturday he was working in company with Holland. He drew a number of wagons out of the washery full road and was given a signal to back up for the empty wagons on another road. Holland was about ten full wagons and perhaps two further wagon lengths away from him. He commenced to back up his engine for the empties, but the engine started slipping and he could not get any further and he sent his engine lad to listen for signals.

He expected to receive a stop signal, but he received no signals so he made another attempt to “Back” but he was stopped again by ice and had to ease away. He made a third attempt and was again stopped by the weather and Holland came running up, asking him to ease away because a man had been trapped. He had heard no signals after the first calling on signal from Holland, nor did he hear his wagon bump into anything. The full wagons were coupled to the engine, but the empties, which must have bumped into the tipped-up wagon, were not coupled. He never felt the slightest bump. He was travelling very slowly.

Mills stated that he would not know how close he was to the empty wagons unless someone told him, and he received a signal.. he assumed at the time that someone was watching the end of his train ready to give him a signal to be relayed to him by the engine lad. He could see the fire lad and the time at the end of the screens; he would be between witness and the shunted.

In answer to Mr. T. Gawthorpe (H.M. Inspector of Mines), Mills said he knew men were working near the slack grate, but he did not know that they were between the wagon door.

Philip Collindridge (15), fire lad, of Warmsworth Street, Denaby, said that in the first place he was riding on the engine with Mills and was still on the engine when they struck the first time. He was ordered to tap the sand box and then go up to the end of the screens; he would have to walk ten wagons length. He was to listen for a stop signal and was to indicate the signal to Mills. He did not see anything else on the road, because it was rather dark under the screens.




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