Never forgotten: Memorial for Cadeby pit disaster’s 91 victims

Memorial: South Yorkshire pit disaster victims remembered 10-years on.
Memorial: South Yorkshire pit disaster victims remembered 10-years on.
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IT may have happened 100 years ago. But South Yorkshire showed it has not forgotten those who died a century ago, with a service and memorials to those killed in the Cadeby pit disaster of July 9, 1912.

Memorials have been unveiled at Conisbrough Cemetery, where 29 victims of the disaster are buried, and at Denaby.

The unveilings followed on from a service in Denaby remembering those who died, attending by dignitaries from the borough, including Don Valley MP Caroline Flint and descendants of those who lost their lives.

The unveiling happened at 11.30am, the time of the second of two explosions which claimed the lives of the miners.

In the first explosion, 35 men and boys out of 37 miners lost their lives. In the second explosion, 53 rescuers were killed as they attempted to rescue the bodies of their fellow workmen.

After the explosions, three more men were to lose their lives to bring the final total to 91.

For memorial day, a parade travelled from the site of the former colliery to Denaby Cemetery where one of the two memorials was unveiled.

Several descendants of the victims were present and laid wreaths, before the Denaby memorial was unveiled by 94-year-old Irene Newton, the oldest surviving relative of one of the victims. Some had come from Australia, others from Switzerland.

In total more than 1,000 people attended the unveilings and churches at Conisbrough and Denaby rang their bells 91 times in memory of the victims.

Included in the parade were Dodworth Brass Band and Thurnscoe Male Voice Choir. The parade was headed by a banner designed and created by pupils at De Warrene Academy in Conisbrough. Several other schools were also represented in the parade.

The memorials were put in place after the Cadeby Main Colliery Memorial Group was formed last year to raise funds for memorials in Denaby and Conisbrough cemeteries.

Jim Beachill, secretary of the group, said more could have died in the disaster but for a visit by King George V.

He said: “The day before the disaster, the King and Queen of England had visited nearby Conisbrough Castle with many miners attending and celebrating.

“The next day only a quarter of the normal workforce turned up for their shift. If it had not been for the Royal visit many more miners may have lost their lives.” Jim said it was important not to forget the disasters.

He said: “There were two collieries close to one another, Denaby and Cadeby. In all, more than 400 people died at the two between them. I think it’s important we remember were we came from, and Denaby didn’t exist before the mines were created.”