Two Fled Rock Fall – One Killed – Miner’s Neck Broken by Huge Stone

November 1946

South Yorkshire Times, November 2, 1946

Two Fled Rock Fall – One Killed
Split-Second Scramble
Mexborough Miner’s Neck Broken by Huge Stone.

Two men, hearing the roof “working” as they sat eating their “snap” in the coalface at Denaby Main colliery, dashed for safety. One escaped with a slight leg wound, the other, Thomas William Tayles (59), Collier, of 85, Stenton’s yard, market Street, Mexborough was fatally injured by a stone, measuring 7 yards by 7, which crashed down and trapped him. He died later from shock due to a broken neck.

Roof Difficulties.

Difficulties in inducing the roof to break in the orthodox manner after the face had been turned over were revealed at the Conisbrough inquest on Tuesday, when Mr W. H. Carlile (Doncaster district Coroner) recorded a verdict of “accidental death.” Although supported according to the timbering rules, it was stated, and despite a safety row of props being erected, the nature of the roof had led to weight being “ridden” from the waste towards the face, causing the stone to fall.

Harold Pickersgill, a filler, a 55, Barnborough Street, Denaby, working with Tayles in 201’s conpeyor facing the Parkgate scene, said about 9.45 last Wednesday morning he was sitting on the waste side of the conveyor, and Tayles on the face side, eating their snap. The first thing they knew of a danger was when they heard the roof “working.” “We got out of the way as quickly as we could.” said the witness. “I made down the face. I did not see what happened to Tayles. I had all my work cut out to get out of the way.” Struck on the leg, witness managed to get clear, he then saw that Tayles had been trapped.

Bread in His Mouth.

Deputy of the shift, Edward Brown, 74, Clifton Street, Denaby tested the face between 6.45 and 7.30 6 or 8 men were employed there. The face was being turned over and witness was satisfied the work was up to standard.

In the old belt track, on the left-hand side, was a pack with a skeleton chock inside it. Another pack was 5 yards away on the other side. Timber in the old belt track was still standing. When he tested again at 9 am there was no alteration in condition except that the men had broken into the face.

Witness learned of the accident when he was at the gear end of the conveyor 90 yards away, had the belt stopped and sent for ambulance equipment on his way to the scene of the mishap. He saw Pickersgill and the other man who was slightly hurt (Goodwin) on their way out, Tayles had been released from under the stone, and had been placed, face downward on it, bread from his “snap” was still in his mouth. Witness, while examining him, removed it and it improved his breathing slightly. Tayles was taken out of the pit on a stretcher.

The stone, witness said, when he examine the face afterwards had fallen in the goaf, bringing down all the timber in the old belt track with the exception of four props at the scouring edge. The skeleton chock had been wheeled out, and the stone, which was then lying in the new belt track where the men were working, had evidently been ridden out by the chock.

From witnesses observations it appeared that the roof had broken away and had been ridden 7 yards into the goaf. This would account for the chock having been levered out.

Coroner: Does that mean in effect that the waste had been broken down and caused this leverage which cause the stone to fall? – Yes

Questioned by H. M. Inspector of mines, Mr M. G. Davis, the deputy said the seam was 7 foot, 6 inches and was worked bord and pillar. The face had advanced from 7 to 9 yards on the solid side. From the last row of props on the solid side to the wastage was about 7 yards. Behind the conveyor were two rows of props, which meant that they were carrying a safety row. Where the roof was not supported it had not broken, as was expected to happen, to provide material for packing.

Witness agreed with the inspector’s suggestion that the supports at the waste end should be reinforced and the rows of timber strengthened so as to induce the waste to break instead of running forward into the face.

Shock for Sick Wife.

Mrs Tayles was convalescing at Scarborough following an operation when she heard of the accident, she received a phone call at the convalescent home from the colliery and the company sent over a taxi to bring her home. Not until she reached Mexborough did she learn that her husband was dead.

Mr Tayles was a Mexborough man. He had worked underground at Denaby Main for 27 years, and previously, before the last war when he served four years in the machine-gun corps in France and Salonika, tenance work. In his youth Mr Tayles was a member of the Mexborough Free Christian Church football team. He leaves three sons and one daughter.