How I Became An
Ilkeston Mine Rescue Man
I started work at Ripley Pit
I was an apprentice bricklayer, earning fourteen shilling, seven and a half pence per week. After my apprenticeship was over I was told I had to spend two years in the army. I had not earned any money so I said I would go into the mines.
I started work at Ripley Pit and it was not long before I was on the coal face earning very good money compared to what I was getting before.
After working at Ripley for some time I was asked to go on a Mines Rescue course, I did and became one of Ripley's Rescue Men.
This was how I became involved in Mines Rescue. A few years later, while training at Ilkeston, I was asked if I had considered becoming a full time Rescue Man, a member of the Permanent Rescue Brigade. I applied for the job and was soon working at Ilkeston.
How The Station Was Run
Liquid Oxygen Plant
In the East Midlands there where four stations Mansfield, Chesterfield, Ilkeston, and Ashby. These stations worked together, when one station got a call out there was another station to cover them.
Mansfield or Chesterfield would cover Ilkeston and Ilkeston would cover Ashby, so that if Ashby got a call out we would also go.
All the men on the station were on duty twenty four hours a day, seven days a week except for one and a half days leave a week.
The day off started at eight a.m. until ten p.m. you would have to sign back in at ten or before.
Each house had a call out bell, when that went you rushed down to the station.
The station’s everyday work consisted of drills, cleaning and training the pit rescue men.
We had a plant that made liquid oxygen which was kept in large vacuum flasks and then poured into the apparatus when we wanted to wear them.
At the back of the plant was a large water tank and in the summer, when it was hot, we would swim in it.
Eric Minard, Terry Astle, Gordon Weston, Harry Meakin
Children Raymond Davis, Sandra Minard, Sharon Newton, Nigel Minard.
We had an annual billiards match involving all the players from all the four stations. It was a knock out match until there was only one winner.
If any of the stations had a function they would give invites to the other three stations and the men off duty would go and take their wives with them and be made very welcome.
The photo below shows one of these functions. The back two rows are men from the other stations except Philip Healey third from the right on the back row.
Front Left to right Les Calladine, Alec Jackson, Tom Rainbird, Eric Minard, Arthur Syson, Philip Healey, Harry Newton, Albert Sheffield.
See Also Ilkeston Rescue Station Occurance Book, George Brock