Pit Bump – Mexborough Man Killed – Huge Stone

May 1931

Mexborough & Swinton Times, May 29, 1931

Pit Bump

Mexborough Man Killed

Huge Stone

“It seems a very clear case,” said Mr. W. H. Carlile, the Doncaster District Coroner, addressing the jurors at an inquest at the Fullerton Hospital on Saturday on Robert Hepplewhite (36), miner, of 47, Sopps’ Terrace, West Road, Mexborough, who was crushed by a fall of stone in the Cadeby Colliery on Monday and died in the Fullerton Hospital the following Thursday.

“Apparently these men knew of the existence of breaks in the roof and took what in their opinion were precautions to prevent this accident. Unfortunately they did not prevent the fall, and you have heard that even if more bars had been set the accident might still not have been prevented. I do  not think you can say anyone been guilty of any negligence. The men were doing the work properly and with every care. Under those circumstances you can only arrive at a verdict of ‘ Accidental death’.”

The jury returned a verdict as directed.

The Coroner explained that Hepplewhite was working in 246 stall of the Parkgate North seam with a man called David Batty. He understood there were two breaks in the roof. The men had set a steel bar to support the roof and at about 10 a.m. they were taking out some tube when one of the tube caught the bar and knocked It out. They were setting the bar again when the fall oocurred and trapped Hepplewhite.

Annie Hepplewhite, wife, gave evidence of identification.

David Batty, miner, of 94, Schofield Street, Mexborough, said he was working in the same stall as Hepplewhite at the time of the accident. There was a break in the right side of the roof about three yards long. They set a bar there early in the morning. On the left side was another break in the roof about one yard long.

The Coroner: Did you think one bar was sufficient? —l did, but I put a staking prop up to the stone. That was about 2ft. from the bar.

Witness said between 9.30 and 10 they took four tubs out. The first three went clear but a piece of coal on top of the fourth displaced the bar, so they shoved the tub back, liberated the bar and then sent the tub down into the pass by while they replaced the bar. They were resetting the bar and about to pin it when there was a bump. Witness heard Hepplewhite shouting and found he was caught by the end of a large piece of stone about 5 yards long . He was caught by the back and side. Witness drew him clear and ran for assistance. Hepplewhite did not lose consciousness.

The Coroner: If there had been more bars set it might have prevented this fall?—l don’t think so now I have seen the length of this stone. I think it would have moved them out.

The Coroner: You don’t think anything could have been done to prevent it?—l don’t think so, because of the length of the stone.

The Coroner: Why do you think it could not have been helped?—Well, the bump of the stone and the length of it would have moved the bar out.

Alan Madden, deputy, of 47, Denahy Avenue, Conisborough, said he reached the scene of the accident 15 minutes after it happened. There was a large stone about 5 yards long down, but the face timber was alright. One bar had been dislodged. He thought if more bars had been set the fall might perhaps have been prevented.

Dr. James Gemmell, who attended Hepplewhite at the Hospital, said he was suffering from, bruises involving almost the entire body, with abrasions to the forehead, chest, back and right knee. There was evidence of fracture of the ribs on the right side and of internal haemorrhage. There was a compound fractured dislocation of the right ankle and the left ankle was bruised and swollen. Col. Connell had seen the man twice and decided from the first that the case was hopeless. The patient was too ill to be given an anaesthetic. The cause of death was shock and internal haemorrhage.

Mr. R. Young, manager of the Cadeby colliery, expressed sympathy with Hepplewhite’s relatives on behalf of the Colliery Company.