Last year, I wrote about my gt x 3 uncle Henry Womersley, father of 13 and a miner who died in Featherstone Colliery in 1902. At the time, I didn't know how he had died, but thought maybe he had just collapsed given that I couldn't find a record of any pit accidents there that year.
It turns out that I was wrong, and so the record needs to be put straight. In fact, the poor man was crushed to death under 15 tons of stone and rubble while helping with blasting operations.
Here is a report from the Pontefract & Castleford Express, January 18 1902:
Yesterday Major Arundel, coroner, conducted an inquiry at the Featherstone Hotel touching the death of Henry Womersley, bye-workman at Featherstone Main Collieries but living in Kinsley. Deceased met his death after assisting in blasting operations in the Haigh Moor seam of the colliery on Wednesday. The body was identified by Thos. Womersley, son of the deceased who said his father was 54 years old, and left a widow and three other members of the family. Evidence as to the cause of death was given by Jos. Green (Pontefract) a colliery workman, and Albert Roberts, a deputy. Their statements showed that on Wednesday deceased was employed with other men blasting stone in the seam, that Roberts fired a shot in the side of the road which worked well and that two minutes later Roberts examined the roof and sides in the vicinity of the shot and found all safe except some loose stone in the side which he instructed deceased to remove. Deceased was unable to remove the loose stone with his pick, and was about to fetch an iron bar when suddenly the side of the road fell in, bringing with it the props and crushing him terribly. There would be some fifteen tons of stone and muck fall. Before the accident--evidence also showed the place was properly timbered, the fall being due to a slip in the roof which gave way. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidently injured”. There were present at the inquiry Mr W H Pickering, Chief Inspector of Mines, and Mr P Darlington, manager of the colliery.
On a happier note, I also discovered that one of his children, Henry jr, was even more prolific than his father. Henry jr had 19 children - yes, 19! - including two lots of twins born just 16 months apart!
Many thanks to Hilda, my second cousin 3x removed, who got in touch with me after seeing my family interests in the Huddersfield and District Family History Society's regular newsletter. Just goes to show it is always worth putting your name and interests out there, you never know who is going to see them!