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Minnie Pit Explosion 1918 - Memorial Recalls Victims

Researched by John Lumsdon Those Who Died

Richard Ault
23 Jan 2016
Mining in North Staffordshire, Minnie Pit Disaster, 'Way We Were' edition of The Sentinel, Staffordshire

I’m pulling together a supplement on mining in North Staffordshire, which will be a stand alone 'Way We Were' edition of The Sentinel.

As part of that, I have written a few separate articles about the Minnie Pit disaster.
What I would like to do is to use the list of the fallen miners from your website as part of the tribute to the men (and children) who died on that day.

I’ve previously spoken to John and he gave me permission to use work he has posted on the internet. I understand from the website that it was John who pulled together the list?

Anyway, what I propose to write in the supplement, regarding the list is below. As you can see I’ve credited your website. Is that okay with you?


FORMER miner John Lumsden has carried out research to find out the names of the miners who were killed in the Minnie Pit disaster.

John, now aged 87, of Longton, joined the Mines Rescue Brigade in 1953, a role he continued when he moved to Florence Colliery.

He was gone through archives and data to painstakingly find the names of the 155 souls who lost their lives in the disaster.

What is immediately apparent from looking at the data, is how many of the miners who died in the disaster were just children, many aged as young as 14. More than 40 of the victims were aged 16 or younger. The eldest person to die was 65-year-old Thomas Sherratt

The names John has found – which can be viewed on the website,  which was set up in memory of Philip Healey, who served Ilkeston Mines Rescue between 1954 and 1971 – are below:


Minnie Pit Disaster January 1918 - Lives of the First World War

In Memory

See Michael Glover - Lives of the First World War - 1918 Mini Pit Disaster Page - IWM

This is a breakthrough, miners who died or worked in the mines and survived during WW1 will now be renamed as Other Empire Force and the Regiment is the Coal Industry and rank of the miner is Coal Mine Worker! 

Whow! Do what you can from your end and if you understand the process from IWM get other miners added not just those from the Minnie. Who knows may get a campaign medal for them all.

But of course this is only with the IWM.

Podmore Hall, Minnie Disaster - 1918

Wilfred Owen "Miners"
A poem he wrote in direct response to the Minnie Pit Disaster in which 156 miners died.

Minnie Disaster Memorial

Memorial Recalls Victims

Fathers and sons who died in North Staffordshire's worst ever pit disaster were remembered with the unveiling of a new memorial in the 86th anniversary year. Almost 200 people gathered at the Minnie Pit site, Halmerend, to remember the 155 men and boys who perished in the explosion on
12th January 1918.

The pit wheel monument was unveiled on Monday 12th January 2004, the anniversary of the disaster. Community leaders attended the event to commemorate those who lost their lives in the massive underground explosion, which ripped the colliery apart, burying fathers and sons alive. I believe it was the longest rescue and recovery job ever done, using continuously, self-contained breathing apparatus. The last body being recovered 19 months after the explosion.

Newcastle deputy mayor Freda Myatt unveiled the memorial, which was paid for from a Lottery grant of £1.400. Archdeacon Godfrey Stone conducted the service.

Youngsters from Heathcote Primary School composed and read poems for the occasion, while pupils from Thomas Boughey High School read out the names and ages of all the men and boys who died. On the day of the disaster fewer than 100 of the 247 miners working on that day came up alive.

An exhibiting on mining was displayed by Apedale Mining Museum at an event organised by the Halmerend Wildlife Trust. Trust chairman, Ike Williams, aged 79 said; it was a brilliant day, and so pleased so many people had turned up to pay tribute to the miners who lost their lives. It is important to remember our heritage and where we come from.

Forty-eight boys died under the age of 17 and 67 women were left widowed. It is important that we remember them.

From: Steve Austin
Sent: 14 November 2008
Original Email

Hi Fionn
I have been trying to trace a person from the Minnie Pitt Disaster. My father is named Harvey and says that he was always told that he was named after his dads best friend who died in the Minnie Pitt. I found an Earnest Harvey Corke on the memorial plaque at Alsager's Bank church.
I thought that you might like the photo of the names from the church for your records.

Best regards
Steve Austin

Click Image to Enlarge
Click to Reduce

Names of Men and Boys Killed

F. Aldersea - age 14
Joshua Amson aged 14 years, haluage
H. Ashley - age 40
John Austin aged 41 years, loader
G. Baddeley - age 14
T. Bailey - age 42
G. Bailey - age 51
John Barlow aged 18 years, loader
J. Barnett - age 34
Joe Bateman aged 32 years, collier
Alfred Beckett aged 35 years, shifter
Francis Beech aged 15 years, haulage
Peter Benson aged 14 years, haulage
Arthur Birkin aged 14 years, haulage
Daniel Brayford aged 16 years, haulage
C. Brindley - age 49
Charles Broad aged 32 years, collier
A. Broadbent - age 14
J. Broadbent - age 15
Bert Brockley aged 14 years, haulage
S. Brockley aged 19 years, haulage
George Browning aged 59 years, ropeman
George Burgess aged 42 years, collier Mini-J
Jabez Burgess aged 20 years, loder Mini-J
David Burgess aged 44 years, collier
Arnold Byatt aged 17 years, haulage
F. Cartledge aged 32 years, collier
J. Cartwright - age 35
Thomas Challinor aged 15 years, haulage
Thomas Cope aged 16 years, haulage
Earnest Harvey Corke - age 46
F. Cornes - age 16
Henry Dale - age 54 In Memory
Enoc Daniels aged 38 years, pumpman
John R. Davies aged 18 years, haulage
William Davies aged 20 years, haulage
Jesse Dean aged 26 years, collier
John Dean aged 27 years, collier
Henry Dean aged 32 years, collier
Hugh Doorboy, Birchenwood Rescue Team
Ralph Dowling aged 26 years, loader
Edward Downing aged 44 years, fireman
H. Eden - age 23
Fred Edgeley aged 16 years, haulage
E. Farrall - age 24
William Genders aged 28 years collier
W. Gilbert - age 39
O. Green - age 14
A. Green - age 16
William H. Green aged 45 years, fireman
J. Hampson - age 14
A. Harrison - age 14
F. Harrison - age 15
Reg Harrison aged 15 years, haulage
Ernest Harrison aged 20 years, loader
H. Harrison - age 21
Job Harrison age 38 years, collier
John Harrison aged 28 years, collier
A. Harrison - age 27
B. Harrison - age 33
A. Henshall - age 21
R. Holland - age 15
R. Holland - age 18
Bernard Holland aged 23 years, loader
Elijah Holland jnr. aged 30 years, collier
William Hollier aged 42 years, collier
F. Howell - age 39
Charles Hulse aged 15 years, haulage
Percy Hulse aged 23 years, loader
John Hulse aged 31 years, collier
W. Ing - age 34
Ernest Jebb aged 20 years, loader
P. Jebb - age 23
G. Jebb - age 30
J. Johnson - age 14
E. Johnson - age 15
F. Johnson - age 17
G. Johnson - age 28
C. Johnson - age 32
B. Johnson - age 37
James Jones aged 16 years, haluage
Ben Jones aged 19 years, haulage
F. Jones - age 24
D. Jones - age 26
C. Jones - age 26
Henry Jones aged 36 years, collier
E. Jones - age 43
T. Jones - age 45
William Kestervan age 15 years, haulage
A. Kirkham - age 14
Joseph Lear aged 26 years, loader
John Lee aged 16 years, haulage
Eli Lee aged 17 years, haulage
P. Leek - age 23
Dan Leighton aged 39 years, collier
Charles Leighton aged 45 years, fireman
G. Lightfoot - age 38
G. Lockett - age 14
A. Lockett - age 14
R. Lockett - age 51 In Memory
John Madew aged 42 years, collier
Joseph Mayer aged 16 years, haulage
Thomas Morgan - aged 44 years, collier In Memory
Charles Platt aged 35 years, ropeman
J. Platt - age 24
Ralph Pointon aged 16 years, haulage
William Pointon aged 15 years, haulage
R. Pointon - age 16
G. W. Pointon - age 23
Arthur Pointon aged 24 years, roadman
Len Pointon aged 30 years, collier

On the right Archdeacon Godfrey Stone
Middle Newcastle Deputy Mayor Freda Myatt
next to her Ike Williams




Pupils From Sir Thomas Boughey High School
Read Out The Victims Names



Pupils From Heathcote Primary School
Composed And Read Poems.


T. Poole Jnr - age 25
T. Poole Snr - age 49
Arthur Ratcliffe aged 20 years, loader
William Ratcliffe aged 32 years, collier
Fred Rhodes aged 15 years, haulage
S. Rhodes Jnr - age 17
John Richardson aged 50 years, shifter
W. Richardson aged 47 years, collier
S. Richardson aged 56 years, hooker
E. Riley - age 26
Albert Roberts aged 21 years, loader
George Rowley aged 18 years, haulage
Lionel Rowley aged 19 years, haulage
Vincent Rowley aged 20 years, engineman
Fred Rowley aged 25 years, collier In Memory
John Rowley aged 31 years, collier In Memory
A. Rowley - age 37 (Arthur?) In Memory
J. Rowley - age 42, Collier In Memory
Samuel Rowley aged 62 years, shifter
P. Salmon - age 14
Wilmot Scrivens aged 19 years, haulage
Thomas Sherratt aged 65 years, ostler
J. H. Smith - age 16
W. H. Smith - age 21
Bernard Spode aged 14 years, haulage
G. Steele - age 26
R. Steele - age 31
W. Stubbs - age 14
H. Sumnall - age 16
W. Swann - age 19
Leonard Taylor aged 31 years, collier
Thomas Timmiss aged 50 years, shifter
F. Tipper - age 47
F. Tomkinson - age 15
A. Wainwright - age 41
Harry Wareham aged 14 years, haulage
Edward Charles Webb - age 15 In Memory
George Webb - aged 35 years, loader In Memory
Thomas West aged 30 years, collier
James Wilcox aged 21 years, loader
Henry Wilshaw aged 21 years, loader
Fred Woodvine aged 14 years, haulage
Jno Harrison - age 28
Job Harrison - age 38
D Whitehurst - age 38


Photographs by John Lumsdon

See Michael Glover - Lives of the First World War -
1918 Mini Pit Disaster Page - IWM