Shunting Fatality at Denaby.

August 1901

Mexborough and Swinton Times, August 2.

Shunting Fatality at Denaby.

A sad fatality occurred in the Denaby Colliery yard last Wednesday week evening, whilst shunting operations were in progress, a Mexborough young man, named Joseph Cuppit, a shunter in the employ of the Colliery Company, being the victim.

Death must have been instantaneous, the wheels on one side of three wagons passing over him. The deceased was highly respected in the neighbourhood. He formerly had been a porter at the Mexborough, G.C.R. Station where he was very much respected

The inquest was held at the Hospital, before Mr Dossey Wightman (district coroner) on Monday. Mr J.R.R.Wilson, one of his Majesty’s Inspectors of Mines; Mr H.S. Witty, under manager at the colliery, were also present.

The deceasedĀ“s father gave evidence of identification.

William Parker Wells, a colliery weighman, stated that he knew the deceased, who was a shunter.

In answer to the Coroner, the father said that the deceased had been a shunter before.

Witness, continuing, said about 5:15pm on 24 July, Wednesday, he was going to his work alongthesidings – which was the nearest way for him to get to his work. Witness would be about 50 yards away from the deceased. There was an engine attached to 6 wagons stationary nearby. The wagons were in front of the engine, which was towards Mexborough. He saw the deceased man climb in the first truck from him. He saw him give the signal to the engine man to “come on.” That would be towards Cadeby. He was stood in the middle of the tip on the top of the slack, with which the truck was loaded. As soon as the train had gone about eight wagon lengths, he saw the deceased get down hurriedly, as if something was wrong. He got over the side, and then let his hands go. He (himself) thought he had slipped.

In answer to the Inspector asked what kind of buffers they were, the witness replied that they were spring buffers. He dropped across the line, and one side of three waggons ran over him. He could not account for him getting down in such a hurry.

The Coroner: Was there any jerk?

Witness: No, Sir; there was no jerk at all.

The Coroner: if there was any jerking of the waggons that might, to some extent account for his falling off .

The witness replied that the driver did not jerk the wagons at all. He could not account for him falling off. He did go to him at once. He did not know whether he spoke or not, but whilst he was with him he did not say anything at all; he did not even moan. The deceased was perfectly sober.

Mr Wilson: Was it raining?

Witness: Yes, Sir.

Mr Wilson: Would the buffers be slippery?

Witness: Yes, I dare say they would be.

Mr Biggs: Do you know what they get on the waggons for?

The Coroner said that he could not tell them that, although he had not had much to do with it. On the wagons they could see all over the yard, and also could get about quicker.

The witness said that seemed like it.

Samuel White, a locomotive driver, and driver, of that particular engine, said the diseased gave witness orders as to what they were going to do this. On the day in question he had got six waggons attached to his engine, and the deceased got into the first 2. He then gave him the signal to proceed, and after going about eight waggons lengths he perceived the deceased trying to get down, and then he lost sight of him.

He then saw Wells running towards the wagons, calling on him to stop. He pulled up at once. He knew why the deceased tried so get off the truck; he tried to get off to set some points which was set the wrong way, to which they wanted to go by. They wanted to go on to the main line, and the points were placed from the sidings. H

e was perfectly right in doing that. It was deceasedĀ“s duty to see that the points were right; he ought to see to them before they got to the points. He (deceased) was in charge of the train. Diseased was a very good shunter, was a total abstainer, and he had never heard him use any bad language.

The jury returned a verdict of “accidentally killed.”

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