Auchterderran Parish Accidents to 1914

This section contains newspaper reports on selected accidents in this area. Please check the indexes in the Accidents Section for details of Inspector of Mines reports and other accidents covered on the site.

25 December 1841

Melancholy Accident.- On Saturday last, a man named David Burlas or Barlas was assisting in sinking a pit at Lochend, parish of Auchterderran, in search of ironstone, and, while working in the bottom, a quantity of the surface fell in and crushed him to death. He has left a wife and four children. [Fife Herald 30 December 1841]

14 December 1848

Lochgelly - On Saturday morning we had a painful example of the many incidents which occur, showing how very brittle is the cord by which life is held. A stout young man left his home in the best of health to follow his regular calling as a collier. He continued his work until breakfast time. He had just been done with it, and was sitting with his head resting on his hand, when the roof gave way and came down upon him. He was got out in a short space of time, but it was found that life had fled. He was a sober, industrious, and careful young man. [Caledonian Mercury 18 December 1848]

20 December 1848

Fatal Accident at Lochgelly. - An old man of the name of John Young was working in one of the mines near this place, with a boy, and met his death in the following distressing manner:- While lying on his side and busy at work, a large stone came down upon his legs; finding himself thus caught, and not being able to extricate himself, he cried for help. About forty men were quickly on the spot, but he was quite dead before he could be extricated.- Fifeshire Journal. [Stirling Observer 4 January 1849]

4 November 1851

Fatal Accident – On Tuesday the 4th instant, James Goodall, collier, residing at Cluny Bridge, accidentally met with his death while employed in the Cluny Bridge coal-pit. The cause of his death was by means of a seam of coal having given way, which fell upon him, and bruised him so severely that he died in the course of a few hours afterwards. [Fife Herald 13 November 1851]

12 March 1852

Suttie & Others v. Henderson & Co. - Lord Anderson and a jury have for the last two days been engaged with an action of damages at the instance of Mrs Janet Suttie, widow of the deceased Robert Suttie, collier, and her children, against Mr John Henderson and Company, of the Lochgelly Coal and Iron Works, Fifeshire. The case was decided on Thursday, on the following issues:- It being admitted that the defenders are proprietors or lessees of the Lochgelly Coal Works, including a pit known by the name of the Coal-pit No. 12, and that the pursuer, Mrs Janet Henderson or Suttie, is the widow of the said Robert Suttie and that the other pursuers are the children of the said Robert Suttie ; Whether, on, or about the 12th day of March 1852, the said Robert Suttie was killed, while employed in the service of the defenders, in the coal-pit ; and whether the death of the said Robert Suttie was occasioned by injuries arising from the unsafe and insufficient state of the roof of the said pit, or part thereof, and by the fault, negligence , or unskilfulness of the defenders , or of another or others for whom they are responsible, to the loss, injury, and damage of the pursuers? Damages were laid at L.1000. The questions mainly at issue between the parties were - 1st , The dangerous situation of the pit and the passages leading to the coal mains, arising partly from the nature of the pit itself, and partly from the alteration in the mode of working it , the long wall having been substituted for the stoop and room system; 2d, The want of men and materials for executing the necessary repairs upon the passages, &c.; and 3d, The want of a properly qualified superintendent or overseer of the night workers to provide for the safety of the men. Evidence was led by the pursuers to establish the affirmative of these propositions; while the defenders ' evidence, on the other hand, went to show that the pit was not in a dangerous condition; that there was no want of wood and other materials , and men for repairing the passages and making safe the roofs of the pit, that the night workers or redsmen were qualified to execute the necessary repairs without superintendence, and that it was not the practice, in Fifeshire at least, to have overseers over the night workers. Owing to the important questions involved in this case , as affecting the safety of the colliers and miners generally throughout the country, much interest was felt in the result. After counsel had been heard, and the evidence summed up with great care by Lord Anderson, the jury returned a verdict finding for the pursuer —with L400 damages, to be equally divided between the widow and children. [Scotsman 5 March 1853]

8 April 1854

Lochgelly - A very melancholy accident happened here on Saturday night, about five o'clock, while one of the miners was coming up the pit, the person in charge of the gig took him up to the pillow wheels, when he fell, or was driven off, and fell to the bottom of the pit, about 50 fathoms, and killed on the spot. His name is John Syme, he was a very quiet respectable man, and he has left a wife but no family. He belongs to Kelty, but came here a few years ago. [Fife Herald 13 April 1854]

28 November 1867

Alarming Pit accident in Fifeshire - Yesterday afternoon an alarming accident occurred at Cardenden Colliery, near Auchterderran, Fife, belonging to Mr James Goodall, coalmaster, whereby four men lost their lives and many others escaped in an almost miraculous manner. It appears that at about four o'clock, while the workmen in one of the pits, commonly called the ''Little Pit," were pursuing their avocations, they came upon an unknown waste or old working, which had contained water, and which burst through in great volumes upon them. Eight men were in the pit at the time, and four of them were employed at the facing at the side of the pit next to the old waste. The other four were engaged at a higher facing. The pit filled rapidly with water to a point where a communication led of to an adjacent pit about 20 fathoms deeper, into which the surplus water poured in large quantity. There were a large number of miners in this pit, and they were, happily, all fortunate in making their escape – although a very narrow one – by another shaft. It was soon ascertained however that the miners in the “little pit” had been shut up there, and so long as the water continued to pour in there was no means by which they could be reached. When this fact became better known intense excitement prevailed in the neighbourhood, and the miners in the district, as well as the wives and families of the missing men, repaired to the scene, so that in a very short period of time several hundreds of people had congregated at the pitmouth. The screams of the poor men in the pit could be audibly enough heard, but as the water continued to flow into the pit for nearly two hours no effort could be made to rescue them. When the pit was entered the dead bodies of three of the men who were employed t the facing next to the waste were got at the bottom of the shaft, having been washed there by the force of the water. The other four men were got perched on a ledge in one of the upper excavations, near where they had been working at the time of the disaster. They were all alive but apparently paralysed and much exhausted by the foul air from the old waste. When the bodies of the dead were got up the grief expressed by their relatives, who had assembled at the pitmouth, was very great. Their names are:- James Paddon, 34 years, married, leaves three of a family; Wm Hunter, 30 years, married leaves three of a family; Patrick Kennedy, 30 years, unmarried. The other body, that of a young man named McCruskie, who was the sole support of a widowed mother, had not been recovered up to an early hour this morning. No doubt remains that McCruskie also perished. Great destruction has been done to the property in the two pits, and in consequence of the accident the miners in connection with both of them will be thrown idle for at least the next two months.  [Herald November 30 1867]

The Melancholy Colliery Accident at Cardenden – Recovery of the 4th Body - Great excitement still prevails at Cardenden in consequence of the melancholy accident which took place at the coal-workings there on Thursday afternoon, by means of which four miners lost their lives. As stated in the Scotsman of Saturday, the bodies of three of the missing men had been recovered. After another search of the pit, which was attended by considerable risk to the exploring party, the body of the remaining missing man, John M'Klusker, was discovered among the debris. M'Klusker was a young man, and was the sole support of his mother, a widow. On Saturday, Her Majesty's Inspector of Mines for Scotland examined the pit in which the occurrence had taken place and Mr Morrison, one of the Procurators-Fiscal for Fifeshire, made a precognition of witnesses yesterday, with a view to arriving at the cause of the accident. Every exertion is now being made to clear the pits by pumping out the water, and it is expected that the "little pit," in which the accident occurred, will be cleared out in the course of a few days. As this pit, however, discharged the greater-part of its contents into the larger one adjoining—from which, it will be remembered, the workmen made a somewhat narrow escape—and which still remains quite flooded, as the water is now fifteen fathoms up the shaft, there is no likelihood that it will be emptied for some time to come. A subscription is meantime about to be set on foot in behalf of the relatives of the four unfortunate men. [Scotsman 3 December 1867]

12 March 1868

Lochgelly – Fatal Accident - A miner named William Munro, when prosecuting his labours in Capledrae Pit, in this district, on Thursday, was very seriously injured by a portion of the working falling in about him, and from the effects of which he died a few hours afterwards leaving a widow and young family to lament his sudden death. [The Dundee Courier & Argus 14 March 1868]

29 May 1873

Fatal Pit Accident - A sad accident occurred at the Mary Pit, about midday on Thursday, by which a young lad named Angus Low, was instantaneously deprived of life. He had been employed coupling on hutches at the foot of a wheel brae, when the rope to which the full hutch was attached broke, and before he had time to get out of the road, he was struck by the descending waggon, and killed on the spot. The remains of the poor lad, who was about thirteen years of age, were conveyed to the Muir, where his parents reside. [Dunfermline Journal 31 May 1873]

18 September 1876

Fatal Pit Accident –Boy Killed and One Fatally Injured - A sad accident occurred at Lochgelly yesterday morning at one of the pits belonging to the Lochgelly Iron Company, by which a lad named Thomas Gair about sixteen years of age, was killed on the spot, and another youth named John Miller, about the same age, was so seriously injured that no hopes are entertained of his recovery. At the time the accident occurred the unfortunate lads had been in the act of descending a stair to kindle a furnace at the bottom of the pit kept for the purpose of purifying the air in the adjoining workings, when through some cause several of the steps gave way, and they fell to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of about nine fathoms, with the sad result as above mentioned. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern Warder 19 September 1876]

20 November 1877

Lochgelly - Fatal Accident - A young woman named Jaap lost her life on Tuesday morning at Dundonald Colliery belonging to Mr Alexander Naysmith. She was employed on the pithead and was endeavouring to put a tub on the cage, not observing that the cage was resting four or five feet high above the pithead, when she fell with the tub to the bottom of the shaft, and was instantaneously killed [Dunfermline Journal 24 November 1877]

26 October 1881

Lochgelly – Serious Pit Accident - a man named John Wildridge was engaged at his usual occupation in the Eliza Pit on Wednesday, a quantity of coal fell upon him, by which the unfortunate man’s back was broken and other serious injuries sustained. He remains in a precarious condition. [The Dundee Courier & Argus and Northern 28 October 1881]

19 June 1884

Lochgelly – Fatal Colliery Accident – A sad accident occurred at the Westfield Colliery on Thursday afternoon. By a fall from the roof in the underground workings, William Young, aged 46, and Alexander Young, age 18 – father and son -were instantaneously killed. Another son, who was also working along with his father and brother, is so seriously injured that only faint hopes are entertained of his recovery. [Scotsman 21 June 1884]

14 July 1888

Fatal Pit Accident - A miner named Robert Kirk was killed at Denend colliery on Saturday. He had been engaged repairing the roof of one of the roads in the pit when a large quantity of rubbish fell upon him. It took two hours to recover the body. He leaves a widow and family. [Scotsman 16 July 1888]

22 April 1892

A man named Adam Peden was on Friday caught between the buffers of two waggons while in the act of crossing the rails at Jenny Gray Pit, belonging to the Lochgelly Iron and Coal Company, and sustained such serious injuries that he died about two hours after the accident. [Scotsman 25 April 1892]

18 May 1893

Fatal Accident In Fife - Yesterday afternoon James Skinner, pit-sinker, Cardenden, met with his death while engaged in resinking an old pit at Cardenden Colliery. The kettle had fallen down the pit, and fractured his skull, killing him on the spot. [Dundee Courier 20 May 1893]

13 June 1894

Two Men Killed In A Fife Pit - Early yesterday morning the dead bodies of William Beveridge and John Thomson, brushers, were extricated from a mass of stones which had fallen from the roof of one of the roadways in the Melgund pit Lochgelly Colliery. The men had began work at two o'clock the previous afternoon, and on the men who were on the night shift descending at ten o'clock it was discovered that a heavy fall had taken place, and that the two men were missing. Beveridge had died from suffocation, and Thomson, who was much cut about the head and face, had been killed by the falling stones. [Scotsman 15 June 1894]

30 July 1898

Pit Fatality in Fife – An accident occurred in the Lochgelly Iron and Coal Company's Arthur Pit on Saturday, by which John Wilson (22), brusher, Lochgelly, was fatally injured. Wilson was repairing a road in the five feet seam when a large stone fell from the roof and crushed him to death. [Scotsman 1 August 1898]

12 January 1901

Fatal Accident to a Colliery Engineman - John Chalmers, an engineman residing at Balgonie Buildings, Auchterderran, has died from the effects of injuries sustained in the Josephine Pit, Bowhill Colliery on Saturday. While putting on a belt on a wheel he fell from the scaffolding, a distance of 16 feet, and sustained a fracture of the right arm and serious internal injuries. Deceased was 33 years of age and was married. [Herald January 15 1901]

17 November 1901

WENT TO SLEEP BURNING BING - FATALITY AT BOWHILL - Yesterday morning the body of a man named Benjamin Ireland, a tramp labourer, was found lying a burning ash bing Bowhill Colliery, near Dunfermline. Ireland had his coat wrapped round his head, and is evident he had intended that should his bed for the night. His body and one of his hands were badly burned. Death was due the burns and the fumes of ashes. Deceased was 36 years of age. [Evening Telegraph 18 November 1901]

31 March 1902

Walker Hodgson (33), a foreman pit sinker, residing in Russel St Lochgelly, was killed on Monday night by being struck by a water barrel whilst engaged in the Bridgehills Pit, in process of sinking near Lochgelly.[Herald April 2 1902]

21 December 1902

Peculiar Pit Fatalities In Fife - Some interesting evidence was adduced in the Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday in public inquiries which were held regarding two fatal pit accidents: In connection with the death of James Wilson, jun., pit sinker, Lochgelly, it was shown that on Sunday 21st December, he was working along with an elder brother on a scaffold in No. 2 sinking pit, Minto colliery. The scaffold was suspended by four chains, and after the brother had climbed up to transfer the chains from the rope of a hand crane to the rope of a steam winch he saw that James had disappeared , and had fallen to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of about ninety fathoms. Part of the examination of the witnesses was directed to ascertaining if a safer method could not be adopted man that usually followed. It was suggested that the scaffold might be fenced, and it was admitted that this would be practicable, although inconvenience might occasionally be caused to the workmen , and additional labour might from time to time be involved. In reply to Mr H. Johnstone Inspector of Mines, the deceased' s brother said that a little advantage would be gained in the way of safety by having the scaffold fenced, but he had never seen it done. The witness thought that he would give the scaffold a jerk when he was climbing up, but if James had been jamming the scaffold, as he was supposed to be doing, he would not have been affected by the jerk. [Scotsman 20 January 1903]

17 August 1903

FIFE PIT ACCIDENTS - While in the act of repairing a roof yesterday morning at the foot of a wheelbrae in No 2 Pit, Bowhill Colliery, David Nairn (40), underground fireman, residing at Bowhill, was struck by a race of hutches and internally injured. He died about three o'clock in the afternoon, after he had been taken home. [Edinburgh Evening News 18 August 1903]

14 November 1904

James Penman, junior, pit sinker, Milton of Balgonie, was instantaneously killed yesterday morning in the Lochgelly Iron and Coal Company's Minto pit. While in the act of crossing a scaffold through which a rope passes he had slipped through, and fallen a distance of about seventeen fathoms.[Scotsman 15 Nov 1904]

24 August 1908

Serious Accident At Bowhill – On Monday a serious accident occurred at the Pannie Pit, belonging to the Bowhill Coal Company. James Baird, miner, was engaged in the underground workings when a heavy fall took place from the roof, and he was seriously injured. The unfortunate man was taken to Kirkcaldy Hospital, where it was found that he had sustained a fracture to his collar bone and was also suffering from shock. Baird, who belongs to Motherwell, had just started work in the pit. [Dunfermline Journal 29 August 1908]

7 October 1908

Another fatality in the Fife coal pits falls to reported, Adam Blair (24), Bowhill, who was employed the Dundonald Colliery, Cardenden, brusher, being crushed to death by a huge stone weighing almost a ton. [Dundee Courier 8 October 1908]

22 March 1909

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Case In Fife - At a public inquiry yesterday into the circumstances attending the death of William Lamb, jun., miner, Lochgelly, the evidence was to the effect that on 6th March last the deceased was employed, along with another man, in driving a connection in the Lochgelly Iron and Coal Company's Minto Pit, and had fired two shots, each consisting of twelve cartridges of gelignite. The men retired for about an hour after the fuse had been lit, but on their return to the place, although they did not discern by their lamps any trace of carbon monoxide, both became giddy, and felt other effects resembling those caused by the inhalation of the treacherous gas. Lamb fell on the way to the pit bottom, and required several rests before he reached the surface, from which, after some delay, he was conveyed home in an open vehicle. For a week he continued at work, and then he became ill from pneumonia, and he died on 29th March. Medical testimony was to the effect that the pneumonia was directly attributable to the inhalation of carbon monoxide. To the formal verdict the jury added a rider to the effect that the pneumonia might have been averted if a blanket and a stimulant had been available when Lamb was brought to the pithead. [Scotsman 28 May 1909]

1 June 1910

An engineman named David Buist, who, lived at Minto Street, Lochgelly, was killed yesterday forenoon at Minto colliery, belonging to Lochgelly Iron and Coal Company. He was engaged at a haulage engine below ground. It is assumed that he had lost his balance and fallen among the wheels. The body when found was severely crushed. Buist, who was middle-aged man, leaves a widow and children. [Scotsman 2 June 1910]

12 December 1912

Fatal accident in a Lochgelly Pit - David Clark, miner; residing at South Street, Lochgelly, died last night as the result of injuries he received in the Jenny Gray .Pit, belonging to the Lochgelly Iron and Coal Company. [Scotsman 13 December 1912]

22 February 1913

Two Men Killed In Fife Pit - On Saturday afternoon an accident occurred in the Duddy Davie section of the jubilee seam of Bowhill Colliery, by which two men lost their lives. A fall took place from the roof, and was of such extent that William Simpson, miner (24), 5 Tenth Street, Bowhill and James Duncan (28) miner, Harris Buildings , Cardenden were buried. A rescue party were speedily formed, but between three and four hours elapsed before the men were reached. They were then dead. Simpson was unmarried, and Duncan married. [Scotsman 24 February 1913]

6 January 1914

At No 2 Pit, Bowhill Colliery, belonging,to the Fife Coal Company, a young man named John M'Dowall, from Edinburgh was fatally injured. While he was working at the coal face, a large stone fell on his foot, followed by a larger one, which knocked him down insensible. The neck was broken. He was married only a week ago. [Scotsman 8 January 1914]