Fife Accidents post-1926

This section contains newspaper reports on selected accidents in miscellaneous areas of Fife from 1915 onwards. Please check the indexes in the Accidents Section for reports by the Inspector of Mines and accidents in other areas.

9 February 1926

Dysart Pit Fatality - A fatal accident occurred at the Frances Pit, Dysart , early yesterday morning, the victim being James Forsyth, 40 years of age, an oncost -worker, who resided at 97 Sutherland Street, Kirkcaldy. It appears that while Forsyth was at work the lower Dysart section of the pit at the coal face there was a fall of coal from the roof, and he was buried. Before he could be extricated he had succumbed, death being due to asphyxiation. The deceased is survived by a widow and one child. [Scotsman 10 February 1926]

14 February 1926

Blairhall – Colliery Accident – Mr William Coulter, Culross, on Sunday met with an injury to his head while following his usual employment in the Lady Veronica Pit three feet seam. He was conveyed home in the ambulance. [Dunfermline Journal 20 February 1926]

16 February 1926

Valleyfield Colliery Fatality – Unavailing Rescue Efforts – Valleyfield Colliery was the scene of a pit fatality by gas poisoning on Tuesday morning. A fellow workman made heroic but futile efforts at rescue. The victim of the tragedy was a young miner, William Fitzsimmons (24), son of Baillie Fitzsimmons, who resides at West Green, Culross. Fitzsimmons had been traversing a road in the pit which was impregnated with deadly coal gas, and had failed to get through. Some time later his body was found by a fellow workman. Artificial respiration was tried, but a local doctor, who was soon on the scene, pronounced life to be extinct. Associated with the tragedy is a story of disregard for personal safety – often demonstrated in the ranks of miners gallant attempt at rescue by Richard Smith, a colliery fireman residing at Newmills. When he heard that Fitzsimmons had been overcome by coal gas, Smith made great efforts to rescue him, but in a short time he had to be taken out. On recovering he made another attempt at rescue, but failed to reach the locus where Fitzsimmons was. He was again overcome, but on recovering made still another effort. On this occasion he was successful in bringing Fitzsimmons out to the fresh air. The unfortunate man, however, was beyond human aid. Smith himself bore traces of his three efforts in the deadly atmosphere. [Dunfermline Journal 20 February 1926]

Victim of Firedamp – Heroism In a Fife Mine - In presence of Sheriff Umpherston and a mixed jury at Dunfermline yesterday an inquiry was held in connection with the death of William Fitzsimons, jun, pit worker, who died on 16th February in No. 1 Pit, Valleyfield Colliery, Fife Coal Company (Ltd.), from asphyxiation by fire-damp. It was elicited that deceased had entered a road which had been fenced off in consequence of an accumulation of firedamp, and at each end of which there had been displayed "no road" notices in chalk. Part of the road was only about 18 inches square. It was at this point that deceased had been jammed, possibly by a hammer which he carried in his pocket. Among the witnesses were Richard Smith, pit fireman, Main Street, Low Torrie; Alexander Terris, miner, Main Street, Newmills; Duncan Paterson, miner, Culross; and Laurence McArthur, miner, Newmills. These men described their attempts to rescue deceased from his perilous position. Twice Smith penetrated the gas-laden road, and having been overcome, was dragged back to safety by his comrades. On a third attempt, he managed to attach a piece of brattice cloth to Fitzsimons' feet, by means of which he was dragged to the end of the road. By this time death had taken place. Mr E. H. Frazer, H. M. Inspector of Mines, called the attention of the jury to the heroism displayed by the four men, and more particularly by Smith, whose action, he said, was worthy of special mention. The jury found that Fitzsimons' death due to a breach of the regulations made for his own safety. They added an expression of their admiration of the work of Richard Smith and the other three men who tried to rescue Fitzsimons and to recover the body. [Scotsman 12 March 1926]

19 March 1926

Fife Miner Injured - David Aitken (50), Kinnear Street, Buckhaven, lies in Wemyss Hospital in a critical condition as the result of an accident in the Wellesley Colliery. A stone from the roof struck him on the back, and although it was at first thought that his injuries were of a minor nature serious symptoms developed. Mr Aitken is R. W. M. of Lodge Randolph, and secretary of Wemyss Castle Lodge of Shepherds, and also holds other leading positions in the local mining community. [Scotsman 15 March 1926]

NB David Aitken died in Wemyss Memorial Hospital 19 March 1926

10 April 1926

Donibristle – Pit Accident – Francis Hughes, a miner's drawer had two of his fingers amputated as the result of a wheelbrae accident while working in the Earl's Row Surface Mine, Donibristle. He had been attempting to replace the haulage rope on a wheel when the race went away, dragging his hand into the wheel. [Dunfermline Journal 10 April 1926]

14 October 1926

Fife Pit Fatality - The first pit fatality in Fife since the beginning of the strike occurred yesterday in Leadside pit, near Dunfermline. belonging to Thomas Spowart &Company {Ltd), where nearly a score of men have returned to work. The victim was James Burnett, Lochhead Cottages, Wellwood, who was killed by a fall of stone from the roof. Deceased was sixteen-years of age, and had only been employed underground for about a fortnight. [Scotsman 15 October 1926]

30 November 1926

Fife Miner Killed - An accident resulting in the death of a Kirkcaldy miner occurred at Loch head Pit, Coaltown of Wemyss, yesterday. The victim was Robert Pryde (46), who resided at Union Street, Kirkcaldy, and he met his death through an explosion during blasting operations. He leaves a widow and family of three. [Scotsman 1 December 1926]

17 December 1926

A machineman, William Gordon Smith (36), who resided at 8 Station Terrace, Steelend, Fife, was killed in the Lethans Pit, Saline, belonging to Wilsons & Clyde Coal Company (Ltd.) yesterday, as the result of a fall of material from the roof. He sustained a skull fracture, and a compound fracture of the right leg. [Scotsman 18 December 1926]

26 December 1926

Blairhall Fatality – James Sneddon, 38 years of age, a miner who resided at 30 Valleyfield Avenue, Culross parish, died in the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital last Sunday from severe injuries sustained while at work in Blairhall Colliery. [Dunfermline Journal 1 January 1927]

1 January 1927

Donibristle – Pit Accident - Peter Forrester, a young pithead worker, broke his arm while working at the James Colliery. He slipped on a wooden gangway and sustained the injury named. [Dunfermline Journal 1 January 1927]

25 July 1927

Fife Pit Tragedy - Two Lives Lost - Men Overcome By Gas - Two underground employees at Valleyfield Colliery, near Dunfermline, lost their lives yesterday through coal gas poisoning. They were:- William Cousin, colliery fireman, and Neil M'Neil, colliery oversman. Being the responsible officials for dealing with accumulations of gas, the deceased, along with a miner, Robert Clark , went to investigate a report as to the presence of gas in a particular part of the mine. M'Neil collapsed on entering the working-place and Cousin , who went to his assistance, was also overcome. Clark, who was following, before being rendered helpless, was able to raise the alarm. Heroic efforts were made by the colliery officials and workmen to reach the men, and several of the rescuers themselves were overcome before the bodies were reached. Artificial respiration proved unavailing. The deceased were both married, Cousin leaving a widow and a family of two, while M'Neil is survived by a widow. [Scotsman 26 July 1927]

Fire-Damp Danger – Fife Miner’s Heroism – HM Inspector’s Tribute - At an inquiry in Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday into the death of Neil M’Neil, colliery oversman, lately residing at 69 Woodhead Street, and William Hunter Cousin, fireman, lately residing at 48 Preston Crescent, High Valleyfield, who were asphyxiated by fire-damp on July 25 in No. 2 Pit, Valleyfield Colliery, tribute was paid to the heroism of a number of miners and officials who endeavoured to rescue their comrades. H.M. Inspector of Mines (Mr E. H. Frazer), addressing the jury, pointed out that David Jarvie, miner, Forthview Cottages, Low Valleyfield, crawled up the gas-filled heading, and managed to reach the first of the bodies, that of Cousin, and dragged it down a few feet. In doing so he was overcome by gas himself, and would have shared the same fate as the other two men if his comrades had not at once rescued him. A few minutes later they managed to get out the body of Cousin. It required courage to go into the gas, knowing that one was likely to be overcome, the only chance of being brought out depending on a length of shot-firing cable. Nevertheless, James Paterson, Abbey Crescent, High Valleyfield, the under-manager, crawled up on two occasions, and was overcome, and Frank Mackay, another worker, also went up, and was rendered unconscious by gas. An agent, on behalf of the Fife Coal Co. (Ltd.), expressed their regret at the loss of two trustworthy and valued employees, and associated himself with H.M. Inspector's remarks regarding the heroism of the other workers. Sheriff Umpherston, addressing the jury, said that one of the objects of these inquiries was to suggest means which would prevent similar accidents happening in the future. But when they found men of long experience and great practical knowledge going into such a danger as this of fire-damp in the mine and being overcome by it, it was obvious that nothing a jury could add to their verdict would have any effect in preventing accidents of a similar kind in future. The jury concurred with his Lordship's suggestion, and added to their formal verdict an expression of their admiration for the efforts of the men who tried to save the lives of their comrades. [Scotsman 23 September 1927]

Carnegie Hero Fund – Awards to Fife Miners - The following awards were made by the Carnegie Hero Fund Trustees at a meeting at Dunfermline yesterday:-
David Jarvie, miner, Forth View Cottages, Low Valleyfield; James Paterson, under-manager Abbey Crescent, High Valleyfield; Frank Mackay, 16 Preston Street, High Valleyfield; and Henry Stewart Calder. agent, Low Valleyfield House. Newmills, on 25th July 3927, attempted to rescue two men who had been overcome by firedamp at Valleyfield Colliery, Fife. After repeated efforts the men were got to a place of safety, but, unfortunately, they were found to be dead. Each of the four rescuers were awarded an honorary certificate and, in addition, Jarvie was granted a sum of £20. [Scotsman 27 January 1928]

19 August 1927

Fife Miner Dies From Injuries - Hugh M'Millan, an oncost worker employed at the Fife Coal Company's No. 2 Valleyfield Pit, died in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital on Saturday from injuries which he received in the pit on the previous day. He was caught by a runaway hutch on a haulage road, down which he was carried a distance of fifteen yards. He was injured about the head, breast, and arms. [Scotsman 22 August 1927]

19 October 1927

Cults Mining Fatality.—A fall of lime at Cults Lime Works yesterday resulted in one miner being killed and another severely injured. John Petrie (28), miner, who was killed, was married, and leaves a widow and two children, William Lindsay , the second man involved in the accident, was convoyed to Dundee Royal Infirmary, suffering from a broken left thigh, head injuries, and shock. It is estimated that over five tons of stone and metal fell. Over 80 men are employed at Cults Lime Works, which are on the estate of Lord Cochrane of Cults, and are about five miles from Cupar. About 20 of the men are employed underground . Lindsay's occupation was that of filling the waggons, while the actual cutting operations were carried out by Petrie., It is impossible to foretell a fall of this kind. In coal mines there are generally loud cracks, which frequently give the men tim to make their escape. In this case, however, the roof would fall without the .slightest warning. When the fall took place, Petrie was jammed by a hugs stone against the side of the level. [Scotsman 20 October 1927]

2 February 1928

Accident At Valleyfield – Miner Buried Under Fall – John Dodds, miner, residing at Low Valleyfield, met with an accident while at work in Valleyfield No 1 Pit on Thursday morning. He was at work in the five-foot section, Lessel's Dook, when he was buried under a fall. He sustained injuries to his leg and face. After being attended by the ambulance attendant at the pit, he was conveyed home in the ambulance. [Dunfermline Journal 4 February 1928]

14 February & 2 March 1928

Fatal Accident Inquiries At Kirkcaldy - Formal Verdicts Returned. - Two fatal pit accidents were the subject of an inquiry at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to-day before Sheriff Dudley Stuart and a jury. In connection with the death of David Evans Mitchell, miner, 9 First Street, Kinglassie, who was injured by the fall of a roof at Kinglassie Colliery on 14th June, 1927, and died in Kirkcaldy Hospital on 2nd March, 1928, William Frame, drawer, 4 First Street, Kinglassie, said he was working with deceased at the time of the accident. He had left him for a moment, when he heard a noise and turned to find that part of the roof had fallen on Mitchell. Evidence was also led in connection with the death of David Thomson, pit repairer, 195 Denbeath, Methil, who was crushed between two hutches in Muiredge Colliery, Buckhaven, on 14th February. Henry Reid, manager of the colliery, explained that deceased was warned not to go across the brae as the hutches were running. There was also a notice posted forbidding the men to cross the brae while the hutches were running. A full hutch coming down was pulling an empty hutch going up. The empty hutch at a bend caught on to the wall and this obstruction put greater strain on to the chain than usual. The chain broke. The empty hutch going up. The empty hutch standing hutch at the foot. Donald Fraser, hanger-on at the colliery, said he cried out to Thomson that the hutches were running and not to cross the brae. Thomson was the act of crossing the brae, however, when he (witness) heard the chain break and gave him a shout. Thomson made a rush but it was too late. In both cases a formal verdict was returned. [Evening Telegraph 23 March 1928]

24 February 1928

Culross - Pit Accident - As a result of a pit accident at Blairhall Colliery, James Gunn, The Studio, Culross, lies in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital in a serious condition. He is suffering from a fractured pelvis sustained through a fall on him from the roof. Dunfermline Journal 25 February 1928]

NB James Gunn died 24 February 1928

2 March 1928

David Thomson - see entry under 14 February 1928

16 April 1928

Fife Pit Fatality - Early yesterday morning, a large roof fall took place in the Fife Coal Company' s Kinneddar pit, near Saline. While several miners had a narrow escape, Campbell Fyfe, a contractor brusher, who resided at Townhill, Dunfermline was caught by the fall, which weighed about 20 tons of debris. It was several hours before the body was extricated. Death seemed to have been instantaneous. Deceased was about fifty years of age, and married. [Scotsman 17 April 1928]

21 April 1928

Pit Accident At Valleyfield – While at work in the north-west Splint Section of No 1 Pit, Valleyfield Colliery, Sam Hume was struck by a fall of the roof and rendered unconscious. The unfortunate man was brought to the ambulance room at the surface, and on examination there by a doctor, was thought to be suffering from concussion. The doctor ordered his removal to the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital, but while being conveyed there in the ambulance he regained consciousness. He was then conveyed to his home and is now progressing favourably. [Dunfermline Journal 21 April 1928]

21 April 1928

Seizure While At Work – Mr James Armour, residing at Forth View Cottages, Low Valleyfield, was at work in the Five-foot section of No 2 Pit, Valleyfield colliery, when he suddenly became giddy and fell to the floor. He was conveyed to the surface, and at the ambulance room was examined and found to be suffering from haemorrhage on the brain. He was conveyed to the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital. [Dunfermline Journal 21 April 1928]

18 August 1928

Fife Pit Fatality - Thomas Hutton (41), a brusher who resided at Woodhead Street, High Valleyfield, met with a fatal accident in No. 1 Pit of Valleyfield colliery on Saturday. Hutton was struck on the back of the head by falling material and his skull was fractured. Death was practically instantaneous. [Scotsman 20 August 1928]

Valleyfield – Miner Killed At Work – Thomas Hutton, 41 years of age, a brusher, residing at Woodhead Street, High Valleyfield, was fatally injured in No 1 Pit of Valleyfield Colliery early last Saturday morning. He was struck on the head by a fall from the roof, and killed instantaneously. [Dunfermline Journal 25 August 1928]

24 August 1928

Fatal Mining Accident in Fife - While endeavouring to right a hutch which had become derailed in the Wellesley colliery, Methil, on Friday, Alex. Gillies (48), Wellesley Road, Denbeath , was caught and dragged some distance. By the time he was released Gillies had sustained internal injuries, and late the same night these proved fatal. He died in Wemyss Hospital. He leaves a widow and young family. [Scotsman 27 August 1928]

25 August 1928

Miner Injured at Culross – While at work in the Lochgelly splint section, Blairhall Colliery, Mr Bruce McArthur, who resides at Main Street, Culross, was struck by a fall of coal from the face of the workings and received a severe scalp wound. After being attended to at the Colliery ambulance station, he was able to proceed to his home. [Dunfermline Journal 25 August 1928]

17 October 1928

Pit Accident At Valleyfield - While working at the Dunfermline Splint Seam, No 2 Pit Valleyfield Colliery, on Wednesday evening, John Redington, who resides at Abbey Crescent, High Valleyfield, was the victim of an accident. He was at work at the coal face when a portion of the top coal came away unexpectedly causing a severe injury to one of his [illegible]. After being attended to by Dr Shanks he was able to proceed to his home. [Dunfermline Journal 20 October 1928]

12 November 1928

Dysart Pit Fatality - William Melville (36), a brusher, who resided at 2 South Row, Gallatown, Kirkcaldy, sustained fatal injuries yesterday while at work in the underground workings of the Randolph Pit, Dysart, belonging to the Fife Coal Company. He was struck by a fall of stone from the roof, and death was practically instantaneous. [Scotsman 13 November 1928]

13 & 25 February 1929

Denbeath Colliery Fatality - The operations at the sinking of a new shaft to the Wellesley Colliery, Denbeath, for the Wemyss Coal Company, were attended by a fatal accident on Wednesday morning. One of the pit sinkers, Thomas Hinnigan, lost his balance on the scaffold and fell a distance of 150ft. Deceased, who belonged to Ireland, was in lodgings in Methil, and it is understood he was almost at the end of his engagement, the shaft being nearly finished. [Dunfermline Journal 16 February 1929]

Fife Colliery Fatalities - An inquiry into the death of Michael Hannigan, pit sinker, 233 Wellesley Road, Methil, who fell a distance of 255 feet through the breaking of a plank in the Wellesley Colliery, was held by Sheriff Dudley Stuart and a jury at Kirkcaldy on Friday. John Brown, manager of the colliery, said that a shaft had just been sunk, and the men were engaged in taking out compressed air pipes. The men were standing on a platform, and while one of the other men was engaged in loosening the pipes, the pipe jerked down to the platform on which Hannigan was standing, and broke the plank. Hannigan fell 265 feet. A formal verdict was returned. Inquiry was also held into the circumstances attending the death of Thomas Melville Dowie, waggon shunter, 4 Eleventh Street, Cardenden, who was killed while shunting waggons at Kinglassie Colliery. John Millar, manager of the colliery, suggested that after running some waggons down a hill, Dowie was passing between the first seven and the last one, and got caught. The rails were in a slippery condition. It might have been deceased slipped in front of the waggons. A formal verdict was returned. [Dunfermline Journal 30 March 1929]

NB Death certificate spells name as Michael Henigan

15 February 1929

Death Follows Amputation - Crossgates Youth's Fatal Accident - As the result of an accident on 8th February, John Potter, jun, apprentice engineer, Main Street, Crossgates, died in the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh. At the time he received his accident, deceased was working at the pithead handling steel props, when one of the props fell, crushing the fingers of his left hand. His hand was dressed at the Ambulance station at the pithead, and again by Dr Rifkind, who a few days later ordered his removal to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, to have the fingers amputated. Following upon this amputation, tetanus set in, resulting in death the following day. The funeral took place to Dunfermline Cemetery on Monday. Wreaths were placed on his grave by his associates in the Miners' Welfare Institution, and members of Mossgreen Parish Church Bible Class. Great sympathy is extended in the district to Mr and Mrs Potter, in the loss of their only son. [Dunfermline Journal 23 February 1929]
(RCE states accident occurred in Dalbeath Colliery)

16 February 1929

Pit Accidents At Valleyfield - Run of Bad Luck - Valleyfield Colliery has had a rather bad run of luck during the past week, no less than three men being injured. Mr Adam Ferguson, who resides at Abbey Crescent, High Valleyfield, while at work in the Diamond seam, No 2 Pit, at the coal face, was caught by a fall of coal, and had one of his legs fractured. After receiving attention at the surface, he was conveyed to Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital, where he is making satisfactory progress. Mr Richard Smith, a fireman at No 1 Pit and who resides in Main Street, Newmills, in the course of his duties received a severe injury to his foot and ankle. On being brought to the surface he received attention at the dressing station and then was removed to his home. Mr T Clark, also employed in No 1 Pit, received a severe injury to his hand, and after having it dressed he was able to proceed to his home at Woodhead Street, High Valleyfield. [Dunfermline Journal 16 February 1929]

3 March 1929

Crossgates Miner's Death - The death took place in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital last Sunday morning of Mr Samuel Donaldson (50), miner, Dunfermline Road, Crossgates. Mr Donaldson, who was well known in the district, had been off his work for some time following an accident in the pit, and had only resumed work two days when he took a haemorrhage. He was conveyed to the Hospital, where he died. He is survived by a widow and daughter. [Dunfermline Journal 9 March 1929]

23 April 1929

Dysart Pit Fatality - David Glen (46), pithead worker, 12 Quality Street, Dysart, has died in Kirkcaldy Hospital as the result of injuries sustained in the Randolph Pit last week. The unfortunate man was run down by a hutch, and sustained severe injuries to his legs and body. He leaves a widow and family. [Scotsman 24 April 1929]

15 August 1929

Fife Pit Fatality - Hope Cairns (43), miner, Preston Street, High Valleyfield , has died in the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital from injuries received as a result of a roof fall in the Fife Coal Company's Valleyfield pit Deceased had just returned to work on recovery from the effects of an accident which he received in the pit two years ago. [Scotsman 16 August 1929]

16 September 1929

Sequel To Fife Pit Accident - At Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday, Edwin Armour, colliery underground fireman, Torryburn, was fined £3 on pleading guilty to a contravention of the Coal Mines Act. Accused had omitted to take certain precautions when a shot was being fired electrically in the Lord Bruce pit of Blairhall Colliery, belonging to the Coltness Iron Co. (Ltd.), and as a result two miners were injured. An agent stated that accused had been with the company for over 40 years, and they spoke highly of his character and workmanship. The Procurator-Fiscal pointed out that in fiery mines, such as Blairhall, a duty was put on the fireman to see the shot stemmed, to see that the cables were coupled up in a certain way, and to see that the men were out of the way before the shot was fired. Accused did not do any of these things, and he banged off a shot when a man was close beside it. It was a dispensation of Providence that the men were only slightly injured, and not killed. [Scotsman 17 September 1929]

1 October 1929

Fatality At Crossgates - Man Buried By Roof Fall - A fatal accident occurred at the Fordell Collieries, Crossgates on Tuesday, David Smith McEwan (38), a miner residing at Manse Road, Crossgates, being the victim. McEwan was working in the William Pit, when he was struck by a fall of coal from the roof and completely buried. When extricated it was found that he had been killed instantaneously. [Dunfermline Journal 5 October 1929]

Tragedy in Darkness - The next case to be enquired into was that of David Smith McEwan, miner, Manse Road, Crossgates, who died on 1 October in the Smithy Section of the William Pit of the Fordell Colliery, belonging to the Countess of Buckinghamnshire, having been killed by a fall of stone from the roof of his working place there. A formal verdict was returned. [Dunfermline Journal 21 December 1929]

3 November 1929

Thornton Pit Fatality - Victim of an accident at the Balgonie Colliery, near Thornton, on October 25, Mr William Morrison, who resided at West End, Balgonie, has succumbed to injuries at the Kirkcaldy Hospital. Mr Morrison, who was unmarried, was buried under a fall of 3000 cwts of loose material while engaged at work in the Bellfield Mine. [Dunfermline Journal 9 November 1929]

9 November 1929

Accident At Donibristle Colliery - Fall From Roof - William Aitken, miner, 45 years of age, who resides at Paul Place, High Street, Cowdenbeath, lies in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital seriously injured as the result of an accident that took place in the Marion Pit, Donibristle Colliery, belonging to the Fife Coal Company. Aitken was at work in the Diamond Three Section of the pit when he was struck by a fall from the roof and received serious injuries to his head and chest. [Dunfermline Journal 9 November 1929]

9 January 1930

Fife Pit Fatality – A fatal accident occurred yesterday morning in the Derby mine of Messrs Thomas Spowart & Co., Lassodie, Elgin, and Wellwood Collieries. The victim was Thomas Wallace (20) drawer, residing c/o Gibb, 1 Store Row,Wellwood, Dunfermline. He was overtaken and knocked over by a runaway hutch, death being instantaneous. Deceased belonged to a colliery district in Northumberland. [Scotsman 10 January 1930]

18 February 1930

Fife Pit Fatalities - Jury's Comment in Two Inquiries. - Unusual circumstances were disclosed in two inquiries in Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday with regard to fatal accidents which had occurred recently in West Fife pits. Comment was made on the method of erecting haulage props in course of an inquiry regarding the death of James Martin, coal miner, 9 Beaumont Street, Low Valleyfield, who received fatal injuries by being struck by a runaway hutch in No 1 Pit of Valleyfield Colliery. It was stated that immediately after the haulage prop was erected, a loaded hutch was sent down an incline. It had only travelled about four yards when the haulage tree became displaced, with the result that the hutch ran down the incline arid injured Martin. The jury added to their formal verdict a rider to the effect that Martin ought not to have been on the haulage road at the time the haulage was running;.and that, if a safety tree had been used in front of the haulage tree, the accident would not have happened. [Scotsman 21 March 1930]

25 February 1930

David Finlayson (41), a brusher, who resided at 3 Woodside Terrace, Lower Steelend, was killed yesterday at Lethans Colliery, Steelend, belonging to the Wilsons & Clyde Coal Company (Ltd.) He was struck by a fall from the roof of stone weighing about half a ton. Finlayson was removed to the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries two hours later. [Scotsman 26 February 1930]

18 April 1930

Blairhall Pithead Worker's Death - The jury [at a FAI at Dunfermline Sheriff Court] then inquired into the death of Henry Hogg, pithead worker, Comrie Villages, Oakley, who died 18th April in the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital from injuries received by him on 5th April at Blairhall Colliery, belonging to the Coltness Iron and Coal Company, in the course of his industrial occupation as a pithead worker there, and caused by a fall into a “duff” container at the pithead. David Gillespie, manager of the colliery, said that no one saw the accident. The only suggestion that he could offer was that deceased may have been standing on the summit of the duff. There were men working at the bottom, and they may have loosened the duff and as a consequence deceased may have fallen from the top and struck his head on the brickwork. He did not think there was any possibility of deceased coming in contact with the belts of the belting. Alex McGrory, an Irishman, who was working near the scene, said he never saw the accident. At 6pm he heard groans, and on going over towards the duff container he found deceased lying on his back. His body was submerged in duff. Deceased was only able to say “Get me out.” It was possible that deceased had fallen into the container, although the fencing was quite safe. There was a small wound on the back of his head. Dr Alan S Tuke said he attended deceased in hospital where he died suffering from a depressed fracture of the skull. There was a small wound in the rear of the head. The hole in the cap, produced in Court, was at the same part of the head as the wound. Witness agreed that a likely cause of the accident was that deceased's feet went from him, and as he was falling his head struck some projecting point such as a bolt. The jury returned a formal verdict. [Dunfermline Journal 31 May 1930]

29 April 1930

Dunfermline Pit Fatality - At the Coltness Iron Company's Blairhall Colliery near Dunfermline, yesterday David Muir, a night-shift overman, residing at Comrie Castle, Blairhall, was engaged with others replacing a hutch which had become derailed, when another hutch, came down the incline knocked him down, death being almost instantaneous. Deceased was between 50 and 60 years of age, and leaves a widow and grown up family. [Scotsman 30 April 1930]

Blairhall Oversman Killed - The next accident considered [at a FAI at Dunfermline Sheriff Court] was that sustained by David Muir, colliery oversman, Comrie Castle Grounds, Blairhall, who died on 29th April in the underground workings of the Lady Veronica Pit, Blairhall, belonging to the Coltness Iron Company, Ltd, from injuries received in the course of his employment as a colliery oversman there by being crushed by runaway hutches. A graphic account of the accident was given by John Grattan, 23, 32 Rintoul Avenue, Blairhall. He said he was with Muir when two hutches became derailed up the dook. They went up and met others coming down to fix the hutches. They were working with the front hutch, which was a full one, when they heard the noise of approaching hutches. Muir called to “Look out, boys” and they all made for the manholes except Muir. Muir did not cross the road but went to the back of the derailed hutches. The hutches came down the dook and struck the derailed ones. Muir who was behind them was struck and killed. The jury returned a formal verdict. [Dunfermline Journal 31 May 1930]

29 August 1930

Dysart Pit Fatality - Early yesterday morning the Francis pit, Dysart, was the scene of a distressing accident, as the result of which William Beall (27), chief electrician, Eddington Place, Dysart, lost his life. At the time of the mishap Beall was repairing some machinery underground, when a huge stone became dislodged and fell on top of him. Although his colleagues worked with the utmost speed, a considerable time elapsed before he could be extricated, and on examination he was found to be dead. [Scotsman 30 August 1930]

9 September 1930

Fatal Result Of Fife Colliery Accident - Alex. Thomson (31), 106 Mylerose Terrace, Aberhill, Methil, died yesterday in Wemyss Hospital as the result of an accident on Friday night. He was on the night shift in Wellesley Colliery, owned by the Wemyss Coal Co., when he was struck by two runaway hutches and sustained internal injuries. [Scotsman 10 September 1930]

28 September 1930

Fife Mining Fatality - William Rodger, 55 College Street, Buckhaven, died in Wemyss Hospital as the result of injuries sustained in a blasting accident in the Michael colliery. He had set two charges. There was an explosion, and thinking the shots had fired simultaneously he went forward to the seam, just as the second shot went off. He was terribly injured about the head and chest, and his condition was serious from the first. [Scotsman 30 September 1930]

17 November 1930

Sequel To Pit Death - Widow's and Father's Claims - Proof was fixed to be heard in the Sheriff Court on 18th June in an action raised in the Sheriff Court on Tuesday by the father and widow of John Scott, who was killed in the James Pit, Donibristle, on 17th November last, by a fall of coal from the roof of his working place. Mrs Margaret Burnett or Scott, 3 Urquhart Street, Dundee, the widow, sued the Fife Coal Company for £300 as compensation in respect of the death of her husband. The respondents refuse to admit liability in respect of the death, and state that the claimant was not dependent on the earnings of the deceased at the time of his death and therefore was not entitled to an award of compensation. William Scott, miner, North End, Crossgates, father of the deceased, sued the Company for £50 and £15 funeral expenses as compensation for his son's death. In his condescendence, pursuer avers that his son's wife left him at frequent periods, and during these periods the son resided with him and contributed 10s per week towards the household expenses. His son's wife left him on 11th October last and was away at the time of his son's death. Defenders in their answers state that pursuer was not dependent on the earnings of the deceased at the time of his death. They had offered pursuer without prejudice £25 and funeral expenses in settlement of his claim but this had been refused. That offer was still open. [Dunfermline 6 June 1931]

9 December 1930

Accident At Fordell - Andrew Gibson, miner, Old Terrace, Fordell, had his right arm amputated on Tuesday at Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital as the result of an accident on Monday in the Alice Pit, Fordell. [Dunfermline Journal 13 December 1930]

NB Andrew Gibson died 9 December 1930

18 March 1931

Methil Pit Fatality - Thomas Gilbert, miner, residing at Methilhill, died on Wednesday in the Wemyss Memorial Hospital, Buckhaven, from injuries received while at work in Wellsgreen Pit, Windygates. Along with another miner, Alexander M'Lean, also of Methilhill, he was caught and buried by a head fall. M'Lean escaped with slight injury, but Gilbert, who was imprisoned for several hours, sustained a fractured spine. He was 24 years of age and unmarried. [Dunfermline Journal 21 March 1931]

23 March 1931

Valleyfield Colliery Accident - Man Caught Between Hutches - George Bedborough, a drawer, employed at Fife Coal Company's Valleyfield Colliery, met with an accident at No 2 Pit on Monday, as a result of which he was conveyed to Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital. Bedborough, who resides at Main Street, Newmills, was caught between two hutches, and suffered from injuries to his chest and back. After treatment at the ambulance station at the pit he was removed to hospital. [Dunfermline Journal 28 March 1931]

30 May 1931

Accident At Valleyfield - Miner Badly Injured - David Stewart, face worker, who resides at Forth View Cottages, Low Valleyfield, was the victim of an accident at Valleyfield Colliery early last Saturday morning. Stewart was engaged in his usual work as a hewer in the five foot section of No 2 Pit when suddenly the side of the roadway gave way, and the coal thus released struck him, inflicting severe injuries to his back and side. After receiving medical aid at the pit dressing station by Dr Burton Cook he was conveyed home by ambulance. He is progressing favourably. [Dunfermline Journal 6 June 1931]

20 June 1931

Valleyfield Pit Accident - While engaged as a wheeler in Valleyfield Colliery, Robert Martin, Woodhead Street, High Valleyfield was the victim of an accident. Martin was in the act of wheeling a brae when his left hand and arm became entangled in the wheel, which inflicted severe injury to the hand and forearm. After attention at the colliery dressing station, he was conveyed to Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital by ambulance. [Dunfermline Journal 20 June 1931]

11 July 1931

Valleyfield Man's Death - Sequel To Colliery Accident - David Strathie (42) Abbey Crescent, High Valleyfield, one of the victims of the burning accident in Valleyfield Colliery last week, has died in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital. Four men were injured as the result of an explosion of gas in No 2 pit. Strathie received extensive burns from the waist upwards, and also suffered severely from shock. The other two men admitted to hospital, James Harrison, jun, 44 Woodhead Street, High Valleyfield and Thomas Shimmons, fireman, Low Valleyfield are progressing favourably. [Dunfermline Journal 18 July 1931]

1 September 1931

Dysart Pit Fatality – A well-known and highly-respected Dysart man, Mr Alexander Adamson, 9 Forth Street, died in Kirkcaldy Hospital yesterday from injuries sustained in an accident at the Randolph Colliery, Dysart on Monday. Deceased, in the course of his duties as yardsman, was following a waggon into the washery siding, and failed to notice that there was another waggon gravitating towards him from behind, with the result that, just as he was stepping clear of the line, he was caught between the waggons. He was conveyed home in a motor car, but early next morning his condition became such that it was deemed advisable to have him removed to Kirkcaldy Hospital, where he passed away a few hours after admission. Mr Adamson, who was 53 years of age, had been engaged at the Randolph Colliery for over 20 years, and the whole of his working life had been spent at the Dysart Collieries. [Scotsman 2 September 1931]

12 September 1931

Fife Pit Accident - Two Men Killed By Fall Of Roof - Two men were instantly killed and three others were entombed for six hours last Saturday by a roof collapse at Wellesley Colliery, Denbeath. The dead men are - Blyth Davidson (50), colliery oversman, 4 Omar Crescent, Buckhaven, and James Mann (33), brusher, 74 Clyde Street, Denbeath. Their three companions were wedged in a pocket between two falls of roof while pieces of rock continued dropping from above at intervals. The men, who are suffering badly from shock are:- James Coxon [query] (55), colliery fireman, 32 Kenmore Terrace, Buckhaven; John Methven (38) brusher, 39 Bow Street, Denbeath; and Henry Morris (40), brusher, 12 Scoonie Terrace, Leven. The men were erecting a girder in a part of the circle dook known as the pan run. About five in the morning, just before the men finished their shift, the roof came away without warning. [Dunfermline Journal 19 September 1931]

30 October 1931

Fife Pit Fatality - John Cook (59), a miner, who resided at 1 Rintoul Avenue, Blairhall, was killed yesterday afternoon as a result of a roof fall in the underground workings of Blairhall Colliery. Deceased, who was well-known in West Fife, was a member of the Executive Board of the Fife, Clackmannan, and Kinross miners' Union. He was a Justice of the Peace for the county. [Scotsman 31 October 1931]

18 November 1931

Wemyss Miners' Peril - One Man Killed in Roof Surge - A squad of men, cleaning up the road in the surface dip of the Lochhead Pit of the Wemyss coal Company, yesterday afternoon, were in sudden peril of their lives through the unexpected swing of a long section of roof. One of the men, Thomas Anderson, was overwhelmed in the fall, but the others managed to escape with nothing to spare. The alarm was given, and rescue operations were started immediately, but four hours elapsed before the workers came upon the body of Thomas Anderson . He had evidently made a dive for the side of the road, where there is generally some measure of protection, but at this particular point the whole roof had come way clean by the wall. The deceased was 51 years of age and resided in Main Street, East Wemyss. He leaves a widow and two children. Mr Anderson was well known, being church officer in St Mary's Church, East Wemyss. [Scotsman 19 November 1931]

23 January 1932

Fife Colliery Fatality - Inquiry into Leven Man's Death - Formal Verdict at Kirkcaldy - Sheriff Dudley Stuart and a jury conducted inquiries into two fatalities at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to-day. The first inquiry was into the death of David Ness, underground fireman, 12 Haughgate Avenue, Leven, who was killed in Wellsgreen Colliery, by being run over by several hutches. Joseph Bell, manager of Wellsgreen, explained that deceased's duties were that of "tail runner" who had to signal hutches on to different roads by means of an electric bell. At the time of the accident six hutches were being taken up the main haulage road, but no one had seen the accident occur. It was difficult to say how the accident really happened, and he could only state that the body was found lying below the second hutch of the three which were derailed. It might have been that deceased slipped, because the road was bit uneven at that part. After further evidence a formal verdict was returned. A similar verdict was also given in the case of Alexander Rodger, general labourer, 25 Pratt Street, Kirkcaldy, who died of septic pneumonia in Kirkcaldy Hospital as a result of an injury to his thumb while employed in the Central Flour Mill, Kirkcaldy. [Evening Telegraph 18 March 1932]

16 March 1932, 14 April 1932, 19 April 1932

Kirkcaldy Man Who Took Risk - Fatally Injured at Thornton - Jury's Rider at Inquiry - At Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to-day, Sheriff Dudley Stuart and a jury conducted an inquiry into the death of a Kirkcaldy miner, Robert Adams, 265 Rosslyn Street, Kirkcaldy, who was fatally injured in the Julian Pit, Thornton, on 16th March. David Spiers, manager of the Julian Pit, stated that the deceased had been employed at the pit as a miner's drawer for seven or eight years. He did not actually see the accident, but on making inquiry he learned that Adams had been going home from his work across a line of rails, and that he had been knocked down by a waggon.
Sheriff—The point at which he crossed the rails was actually a point for lorries approaching the workshop?— Yes.
At that point concrete blocks were laid between the rails for the convenience of such vehicles. Witness continued that was his own opinion that Adams had made a miscalculation when the train of waggons had stopped, and he must have thought he would able to cross before they came up to him.
Engine-Driver's Story- Michael Collins, engine-driver, Ritchie's Buildings. Station Road, Thornton, said he was driving an engine at the time of the accident, and taking nine waggons of coal up that line. When approaching the workshop he sounded the engine whistle for fully a minute and had kept a lookout until the waggons were in full view of the crossing. His attention was then taken up by a valve, and when he looked out again he saw the deceased lying at the side of the rails. The fiscal—Have you seen anybody crossing there before? —Yes. Were they miners?— No. You did not actually see the deceased being knocked down?— No. Witness added that Adams' bicycle was below the waggon and that indicated that he had been crossing the line at the time. Mr H. Roberts. His Majesty's Inspector of Mines, asked if it was not possible for witness to have pulled the waggons instead of pushing it on. He received the answer that that could not have been done, as the engine was behind the waggons.
Took Risk Upon Himself. - Mr A. M'Gregor, appearing for the Balgonie Colliery, raised the question of persons regulating the traffic at the bridge and he received an affirmative answer. John White, store keeper, stated he had looked out the door of his office as the engine sounded its whistle and he saw the deceased with his hand against the side of the waggon, while his cycle was pushed away from him. A formal verdict was returned with a rider added to the effect that deceased had taken risk upon himself and the company were wholly free from blame.

Inquiries were also made into the deaths of John Cyril Wilson, coal miner, 20 Main Street, Milton of Balgonie, who died in Kirkcaldy Hospital from blood poisoning as a result of an injury at his work in the Julian Pit; and Roger Black, colliery fireman, 17 Laurence Park, Kinglassie, who was killed by a fall of stones in Kinglassie Colliery on 19th April. Similar verdicts were returned. [Evening Telegraph 13 May 1932]

11 May 1932

Fife Miner's Death - William Glover (53), a stone miner, was yesterday found lying unconscious in the Barncrag extension section of the Rosie Colliery of the Wemyss Coal Company. First-aid and medical attention were persevered with for several hours, but eventually life was pronounced extinct. Deceased was engaged in opening out the mines, and about ten o'clock another fireman had discharged a shot for him , and left Glover evidently in the best of health. Traces were found that Glover must have been overcome some time after the shot was fired. Mr Glover, in addition to his trade, also conducted a licensed grocery business in Wellsgreen. He leaves a widow and a family of six. [Scotsman 12 May 1932]

17 June 1932

Fatal Pit Accident - Fife Man Killed and Another Seriously Injured - One man was killed and another seriously injured in a shot-firing accident yesterday in No. 3 Pit, Dean Colliery, Kingseat, near Dunfermline. The men, William Pearson (29), stone miner, Henderson Street, Kingseat; and Sinclair Sutherland (20), drawer, 25 Mayflower Street, Townhill, were engaged in driving a stone mine through a "hitch" in order to get to the coal. Eight shots had been set, and it is presumed that the men had been caught by the explosion. Pearson was killed instantaneously, having received a fracture of the base of the skull. Sutherland was removed to the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital suffering from a wound on the right thigh, severe bruises, and haemorrhage. His condition is regarded as critical. [Scotsman 18 June 1932]

11 August 1932

Pit Fatalities In Fife - Dunfermline Court Inquiry - Four Mining Accidents - Four pit fatalities in West Fife were the subject of inquiries before Sheriff Umpherston at Dunfermline to-day. ……..
Fatal Fall. - In the inquiry into the death of David Wilson, 13 Elgin Street, Dunfermline, as a result of injuries sustained in No. 1 Mine, Lochside, Townhill, a witness related that deceased had told him he had fallen back and hit his head on drill. Wilson sustained injuries on 30th July and died in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital on 11th August. David Johnstone, colliery fireman, 35 Lauder Street, Dunfermline, said he came on deceased in his working place and found him lying on his back apparently unconscious. Later deceased said he had fallen and hit his head on a drill. What witness saw bore out deceased's statement. Arthur Wilson, miner, 2a Dundas Street, Townhill, said he was working near the deceased Wilson, who told him he was going to bore holes for shots. A formal verdict was returned. [Evening Telegraph 20 October 1932]

21 September 1932

Andrew Smart, the outside left of Kinglassie Institute, who was fatally injured while at work at Kinglassie Colliery, is the former Dunnikier and Anstruther Rangers player. He returned to his juvenile club, and was a popular player in the successful Institute team. [Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 04 October 1932]

13 October 1932

FIFE MINING FATALITIES - COURT INQUIRIES AT DUNFERMLINE - Father Killed While Working With Son - A Dunfermline miner told at Dunfermline Sheriff Court to-day how his father was killed by a roof fall while they were working together. Sheriff Umpherston and a jury conducted inquiries into six recent fatal accidents in West Fife. The man who was killed before his son's eyes was Robert Duff, miner, 24 Rumblingwell, Dunfermline. He was killed on 13th October by a roof fall in No. 2 Pit of Valleyfield Colliery. Donald Duff, miner, 24 Rumblingwell, Dunfermline, the son of the deceased man, said he was working along with his father. They went down the pit about half-past one. His father was making needle holes in the coal sides when a big fall came away from the roof and he was dead when the fall was cleared away. The fall took place before four o'clock, and it was after seven before his father was got out. A formal verdict was returned. [Evening Telegraph 15 December 1932]

26 November 1932

Dunfermline Man's Fatal Injuries - Hugh Laing, coal-cutting machineman, 66 Campbell Street, Dunfermline, who was injured in an accident in the underground workings of Blairhall Colliery on Wednesday of last week, succumbed to his injuries in the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital on Saturday. Laing had been struck by a fall of stone from the roof, and received a fracture of the skull. [Scotsman 28 November 1932]

DUNFERMLINE MAN BADLY INJURED - Pit Accident - A Dunfermline miner was seriously injured in an accident at Blairhall Colliery late last night. The injured man is Hugh Laing, machineman, 66 Campbell Street, Dunfermline. The accident occurred in the underground workings of the colliery and Laing sustained severe head injuries. He was conveyed to Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital, where it was found he had sustained a fractured skull. On inquiry at the hospital to-day it was learned that his condition is serious. [Evening Telegraph 24 November 1932]

29 November 1932

Buckhaven Miner Killed - Daniel K. Malcolm, East Wemyss, a native of Buckhaven, employed as a brusher in the Rosie Colliery of the East Wemyss Coal Company, was killed yesterday morning by the fall of a girder. The night shift work was nearly completed when the girder suddenly came away, striking Malcolm on the head and killing him instantly. Malcolm, who was about 50, was well known throughout the district as a layman preacher and a poet. Last week, he gave a recital of his poetical pieces at a large gathering in Buckhaven. [Scotsman 29 November 1932]

7 December 1932

Fireman Killed. - The next inquiry was into the death of John Duffin, fireman, 6 Midfield Terrace, Steelend, who died in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital on 7th December from injuries received on 2nd November in Lethans Colliery. Thomas Sutherland, brusher, 31 Midfield Terrace, Steelend, said he was working with Duffin. After a hole had been bored in the face they travelled out along the cable. Duffin travelled the whole length of his cable and turned round the corner so that he was not in line with his shot. Witness heard the shot go off and Duffin came to him and said that after the shot had been fired a stone from the face had struck him on the back. The stone had come forward and turned the corner and struck him. Robert Clemenson, underground fireman, West Road, Saline, said Duffin's job was to fire shots with an electric exploder. Witness considered that it was quite sufficient compliance with the regulations to go round the corner. Sheriff Umpherston said it was rather a curious accident but thought there was no room for anything but a formal verdict. There was a suggestion that Duffin might have gone further away from the place where the shot was fired but that was a matter of discretion for the fireman. The jury agreed on a formal verdict. [Evening Telegraph 15 December 1932]

2 February 1933

Fife Pit Fatality - William Young (64), shot-borer, residing at Newmills, died in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital yesterday as a result of injuries received while at work in the Coltness Iron Company's Blairhall Colliery. A fall from the roof took place.[Scotsman 3 February 1933]

22 October 1933

Fatal Accident At Dysart Colliery - William Smith, a 37-year-old miner, residing at The Cross, Dysart, was the victim of an accident at the Frances Colliery, Dysart, It is understood that Smith was operating a coal-cutting machine when a portion of the roof fell, and he was pinned to the ground by a large block of stone. It was only after half an hour's work that his mates succeeded in extricating him, and life was found to be extinct. Smith is survived by his widow and four children. [Scotsman 23 October 1933]

30 October 1933

Fife Pit Fatality - John Cook (59), a miner, who resided at 1 Rintoul Avenue, Blairhall, was killed yesterday afternoon as a result of a roof fall in the underground workings of Blairhall Colliery. Deceased, who was well-known in West Fife, was a member of the Executive Board of the Fife, Clackmannan, and Kinross Miners' Union. He was a Justice of the Peace for the county. [Scotsman 31 October 1933]

14 November 1933

Fatal Accident At Fife Colliery - John Penman (35), Brown Street, Methilhill, employed in the Michael colliery of the Wemyss Coal Company, was killed instantly yesterday. He was in the act of coupling hutches when he was struck on the head by another laden hutch. He leaves a widow and five children. [Scotsman 15 November 1933]

28 November 1933

At a fatal accidents inquiry at Kirkcaldy, yesterday , before Sheriff Dudley Stuart and a jury....A formal verdict was returned in an inquiry into the death of Walker Thomson, coal stripper, 3 West Shore Street, Buckhaven, who was killed by a fall of coal in No. 3 Pit, Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, on November 28. [Scotsman 13 January 1934]

13 December 1933

Miner Electrocuted In Fife Pit - Francis Kane (19), residing at 170 Pittencrieff Street, Dunfermline, met with his death by electrocution while employed in the Lochgelly splint seam of the Lady Veronica pit, Blairhall Colliery, Fife, yesterday forenoon. His body was found lying near some electrical machinery, and efforts to restore respiration by the colliery ambulance staff, using the oxygen apparatus were unavailing. Kane was a prominent member of the Blairhall Junior Football Club. His services recently had been inquired after by several senior clubs. His father, Edward Kane, is an old Cowdenbeath and Falkirk player. [Scotsman 14 December 1933]

21 December 1933

Fatal Pit Accident - Rescue Party' s Long Rescue Efforts in Fife - Distressing circumstances were associated with a fatal accident which occurred yesterday morning in the Fife coal Company's Valleyfield Colliery, near Dunfermline. The victim was William Ross (36), a colliery fireman, who resided at Main Street, Newmills. At about three o'clock in the morning Ross was making an inspection, when there was an extensive fall of coal, completely burying him. A rescue party immediately set to work in an endeavour to extricate him but it was not until one o'clock in the afternoon that Ross was located. When the body was partially cleared, he was found to be dead. The rescue party had to continue their operations for some time before the body could be extricated. [Scotsman 22 December 1933]

30 January 1934

Boy Killed In Fife Pit - A 15-year-old boy was killed yesterday while employed underground in the Victoria Pit, West Wemyss, owned by the Wemyss Coal Company Ltd. William M'Laren; residing at 9 Lancer Terrace, Coaltown of Wemyss; was employed on a bogie which is attached to a rope for pulling hutches. He must have fallen off the bogie and been run over by the hutches. No one witnessed the accident. Some of the workmen were surprised to observe the bogie travelling along the haulage way without the driver. On investigating they came upon the body of the boy lying on the haulage road, badly mauled. His brother David M'Laren, is a well-known Scottish professional mile and Marathon runner. [Scotsman 31 January 1934]

11 August 1934

Fatal Pit Accident – 14 Year Old Boy's Death At Dunfermline - A man and a boy, victims of accidents at their work, were on Saturday admitted to Dunfermline Hospital, where the boy, succumbed to his injuries. The dead boy was John Dunsmore, a 14-year-old worker at Blairhall Colliery. Dunsmore was caught in the machinery at the coal-picking tables and his right leg was so severely injured that it had to be amputated immediately on his arrival at the infirmary. He died shortly afterwards. [Scotsman 13 August 1934]

Boy Mine Worker's Death - Sheriff Refuses Claim for Compensation - In Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Saturday, Sheriff-Substitute F. A. Umpherston issued an interlocutor, deciding an action under the Workmen's Compensation Act, which was the sequel to a fatal accident at a picking table at Blairhall Colliery on August 10, 1934. The victim of the accident; John Dunsmore, aged 14 years and eight-months, died from injuries received as a result of being crushed between a moveable platform and a post, and the claimants were his father and mother, Robert Dunsmore, mine worker, and Mrs Helen Dunsmore, 49 South Avenue, Blairhall, and three brothers and a sister of the deceased. They sued the Coltness Iron Company, Ltd, for £233 15s of compensation in respect of the boy's death. The Sheriff-Substitute finds,.that the respondents are not liable to pay compensation to the claimants, and finds the claimants, liable to the respondents in expenses. In a note to his interlocutor, his Lordship deals with the claimants' averment that the boy Dunsmore had occasion to mount the picking table for the purpose of removing his cap which was lying there; and states that it has not been proved that the cap fell on the table at all. John Dunsmore mounted the moving table. If the cap was not on the table, his only reason for doing what he did must have been to cross the table in that way instead of by the bridge which was provided for that purpose. It had not been proved that John Dunsmore went on the moving table in order, to take from it a foreign article which would otherwise go into the hopper. He went on the table in order to cross it for a purpose of his own. The claimants, therefore, were, in his Lordship's judgement, not entitled to an award of compensation. [Scotsman 5 December 1938]

19 September 1934

Claimant To Fortune Killed In Fife Pit - A claimant to a fortune was the victim of a Fife pit fatality yesterday. Robert Cowan Mercer (52), who resided at Swan Buildings, Causeway, Kennoway, was employed at No. 2 level of the Wemyss Coal Company's Rosie Colliery, near East Wemyss, when a stone weighing about two tons fell from the roof and crushed him. Death was instantaneous. Mercer, who leaves a widow and family, was one of the claimants to the Mercer millions, and a firm of solicitors in Edinburgh are investigating his claim. [Scotsman 20 September 1934]

30 October 1934

Fatal Accident In Fife Mine - Arthur Brunton (41), stone miner, Preston Street, High Valleyfield, received fatal injuries in a shot-firing accident at Valleyfield Colliery yesterday. He was found in the Milton Mine after a shot had been fired, and he succumbed to his injuries while being conveyed to the pithead. Brunton is survived by his widow and two children. [Scotsman 31 October 1934]

22 October 1934, 21 & 23 November 1934

Three Fatal Pit Accidents - Similar verdicts [Formal verdicts] were returned in inquiries into the deaths of Balfour Westwater Hutchison, miner,West End, Coaltown of Balgonie; Archibald Hugh, miner, 2 Watt Street, Dysart; and James Collins, miner, 285 High Street, Kirkcaldy, who were killed by falls of stone in the Milton, Francis [sic], and Randolph Pits respectively. [Scotsman 11 December 1934]

23 November 1934

Dysart Pit Accident Ends Fatally - An accident in the Randolph Colliery, Dysart, which occurred on Monday evening, has had a fatal termination by the death of James Collins, miner, 285 High Street Kirkcaldy. Collins succumbed to his injuries in Kirkcaldy Hospital yesterday. While working, underground, he had been caught and pinned by a fall of coal and stone, and although assistance was immediately forthcoming he sustained severe injuries to his back from which little hope of recovery was entertained. [Scotsman 24 November 1934]

15 January 1935

Fife Miner Killed By Heavy Stone - A Wemyss (Fife) miner was killed yesterday afternoon at the Victoria Pit,West Wemyss. He was William Parker (31) residing at Main Street, West Wemyss. He had just descended the mine on the forenoon shift, and had walked only about 70 yards along the road leading to the coalface, when a stone weighing about one ton fell from the roof on top of him. Death was instantaneous. He leaves a widow and four children. [Scotsman 16 January 1935]

28 June 1935

Robert Dewar Forrester (20), miner, North Square, Wellwood, was fatally injured yesterday afternoon as a result of a stone falling on him from the roof while he was at work in Muircockhall Colliery, Townhill, Dunfermline. [Scotsman 29 June 1935]

12 July 1936

DUNFERMLINE MINER KILLED - CAUGHT BY FALL FROM ROOF OF PIT - A Dunfermline miner was killed while at work at Blairhall. He was Matthew Smart, about 40 years of age, residing at 216 Townhill Road, Dunfermline. Smart was about to begin work in the Lady Veronica Pit when there was a sudden fall from the roof, which crushed him to the ground. When workmates rushed to him he was found to be beyond aid. He had sustained a fractured skull. [Evening Telegraph 13 July 1936]

24 August 1935

Injured Fife Miner - Unsafe System of Running Hutches - Judgment was pronounced by Lord Keith in the Court of Session in an action by William M'Nair, 14 Preston Crescent, High Valleyfield, Fife, against the Fife Coal Company, Ltd., Leven, for payment of £400 as damages for personal injuries. The pursuer, who was a miner, sustained injuries in an accident at Valleyfield Colliery on August 24, 1935. The action was based on breach of both common law and statutory duty towards him, but at the proof his counsel relied solely on the former, namely, the defenders' failure to provide a safe system in the mine. At the end of his shift the pursuer was approaching the pit bottom when he was struck by an empty hutch which, through becoming derailed, pinned his arm against a stationary full hutch on an opposite set of rails. While his arm was so held, a second empty hutch struck the derailed hutch and the pursuer's arm was broken. Lord Keith, who explained that pending litigation had held up the decision of the present action, found the pursuer entitled to £50 in respect of loss of wages and £100 for pain and suffering - £150 in all, with expenses. His Lordship said he had no difficulty in holding that the system of running hutches down the gravity incline when men were coming up to the pit bottom was an unsafe system The accident that happened to the pursuer was just the sort of accident that might have been anticipated. The system of warning the men was proved to be quite ineffective and was not, his Lordship thought, an adequate means of rendering safe what was demonstrably unsafe. His Lordship repelled most of the defenders' pleas and sustained the pursuer's in so far as based on common law fault. [Scotsman 11 June 1938]

29 September 1936

Buckhaven Miner's Death. - A similar verdict [formal verdict] was given in the inquiry into the death of Thomas Taylor, miner, 8 Lady Wynd, Buckhaven, who was employed as a miner by the Wemyss Coal Company at the Wellesley Colliery, Methil. On Tuesday, 29th September, Taylor was engaged in the Dysart Main Seam Dip Mine, when he was fatally injured by a race of moving hutches. David Webster, oversman, 24 Kenmore Terrace, Buckhaven, stated that on that day he had told Taylor to proceed to manhole near which there had been a fall on the earlier shift. He was merely stationed there to see that the haulage track was kept clear. He (Webster) had gone down to the foot of the road, and later in the afternoon learned that an accident had taken place. When he went to investigate he found there was no sign of Taylor at the manhole. Fifty yards further up a race of hutches had been stopped. Two of them were derailed and Taylor was beneath one of the hutches.
Carried 50 Yards. - Further up there was another race of six hutches, four of which were derailed. Taylor had evidently been injured by the first race as well as the second. John Brown, 626 Wellesley Road, Methil manager of the colliery, remarked that Taylor must have been struck by the hutches at the manhole, and carried up by them 50 yards. It was evident that the first race of hutches had passed over his body. [Evening Telegraph 23 November 1936]

9 October 1935

Fatal Accident In Fife Pit - John Feechan, aged 34, who resided at 30 East Shore Street, Buckhaven, was killed last night at Rosie Colliery, near East Wemyss. He was working in the Barncraig section as a packer when he was buried by a fall of stone from the roof. Death was instantaneous. [Scotsman 10 October 1935]

22 October 1936

DIED SIX YEARS AFTER ACCIDENT - FIFE MINER WHO WAS STRUCK BY STONE -An Auchterderran miner's death six years after he had met with a pit accident was the subject of an inquiry by Sheriff Dudley Stuart and a jury at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to-day. The dead man was Matthew Donaldson, Bliair's Buildings, Auchterderran. When at work in Kinglassie Colliery in February, 1930, he was struck on the back by a falling stone. Paralysis later developed, and he died from this on September last. In answer to questions by Mr R. S. Henderson, procurator-fiscal, David Herd, machine man, Clunie, stated that he had been working beside Donaldson shortly before the fall took place. Everything seemed clear. The working place had been examined by the fireman about an hour before. Donaldson, while shovelling small coal, did not touch the roof or sides of the working place at all. Evidence of a similar nature was given by James Johnstone, machine man, 12 Dundonald Crescent, Cardenden. Johnstone had also been working alongside Donaldson at the same spot, and he stated that there was nothing indicative of a fall. A large stone, about cwts. in weight, fell from the roof, and struck Donaldson between the shoulders.
Hidden Fault. - James Drysdale, fireman, 48 Lawrence Street, Kinglassie, gave evidence on his examination of the working place, and stated that there must have been a hidden fault in the roof. Dr William Brackenridge, Broom Park, Cardenden, said Donaldson had received a fracture of the spine - on February 1930 - and had been removed to Kirkcaldy Hospital. He received treatment there until October of the same year, and he was afterwards removed home. The doctor stated that paralysis had later supervened, and he died on 22nd October, 1936. Death was due to paralysis arising out of the accident. A formal verdict was returned. [Evening Telegraph 23 November 1936]

23 October 1935

Fife Miner Fatally Injured - Yesterday afternoon John Hynds (28), 41 Kirkland Road, Methil, was fatally injured while at work in the Wellesley Colliery, owned by the Wemyss Coal Co. During cutting operations a large piece of coal slipped and struck him down. Hynds was so severely injured that he died before he could be removed to hospital. He leaves a widow and two children. [Scotsman 24 October 1935]

27 October 1936

Died on Way Down Pit - East Wemyss Man's Last Words - A Fife underground worker collapsed and died at the new Michael Colliery, East Wemyss. He was Richard Hume (54), 1 Approach Row, East Wemyss. He was employed as pump attendant, and previous to stepping on the cage remarked that he would not like to be in the position of some of the miners who had just returned to the surface after having completed their shift, they would have to cycle against the wind to Kirkcaldy. Hume stepped on the cage, which contained 40 miners, and during its progress downwards he caught hold of the arm of John Christensen, miner, residing at 18 Jordan Terrace, Methil. When the party arrived at the pit bottom it was discovered that Hume was dead. [Evening Telegraph 27 October 1936]

26 November 1935

Fife Pit Accidents - Firemen Fined for Negligence - Detonators Offence - Charges arising out of two Fife mining accidents were made against two mine workers at Cupar Sheriff Court yesterday. John Weepers, underground fireman, 165 Beatty Crescent, Kirkcaldy, admitted having, between September 15 and 16, failed to inspect the parts of the Frances pit, Dysart, in which men were to work, and ascertain the general conditions of safety, and with, being a person to whom detonators had been issued, failed to keep the detonators in a suitable case or box. An agent stated that owing to the fact that Weepers was engaged in repairing a fall which had occurred from the roof he had not had time to inspect the part mentioned in the charge. The second charge arose out of the fact that accused was busy and gave out detonators before the shot-hole had been prepared. The result of the accused's negligence, said the Depute-Fiscal, had been rather serious. He issued five detonators to a miner, and some dubiety existed as to whether all of the five shots had exploded. No inspection was made by accused, although he signed a report that he had done so. When the following shift commenced a miner was working on the coal face when his pick struck a detonator. In consequence, he lost an eye and was otherwise seriously injured. Sheriff-Substitute Dudley Stuart imposed fines totalling £3.

Miner Loses A Hand - A colliery fireman, John Logie, 14 Den Street, Denbeath, admitted having, in Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, being a person to whom detonators were issued, failed to keep them in a suitable case or box. The Depute-Fiscal said that accused ought not to have issued the detonators until the shot-hole had been prepared. On this occasion two charges were used to break up steel girders, an action which was strictly forbidden in mines. Explosives were laid on the steel and covered over with clay. An accident occurred, and a man lost his hand as a result of being struck by a fragment of steel. Sheriff-Substitute Dudley Stuart imposed a fine of 40s. [Scotsman 27 November 1935]

15 December 1935

Fatal Accident In Fife Pit - Adam Arnott (28) , miner, 88 South Avenue, Blairhall, Fife, was fatally injured in the Coltness Iron Company's Blairhall Colliery yesterday morning. He was at work in the north mine, Mynheer section. A new cable was being fitted to the roof when part of it fell upon him, fracturing his skull and causing other injuries, from which he succumbed shortly afterwards. Arnott leaves a widow and one daughter. [Scotsman 16 December 1935]

17 December 1936

A ONE IN TEN THOUSAND DEATH- MAN'S HEART FAILS UNDER CHLOROFORM - Dysart Miner's Accident Two Years Ago Recalled - The efforts of doctors to save the life of a Dysart miner who died while under an anaesthetic in Kirkcaldy Hospital were told at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to-day during evidence a fatal accident inquiry. John Spiers (41), miner, residing at 97 High Street, Dysart, died as a result of an accident nearly two years before at the Frances Colliery, Dysart. The inquiry was conducted by Sheriff Dudley Stuart and a jury. James Cunningham, miner, 2 Carlow Place, Leven, said he was employed in No. 2 Bowhouse Section, Frances Colliery. About 4 p.m., on 7th January, 1935, witness said he saw Spiers in a kneeling position working at a hole when without warning a large piece of coal burst from the coal face and fell on him. The piece of coal was about four yards long and two-and-a-half feet thick. At this place there were supports three or four feet on either side of where the part came away. The coal lay across Spiers' chest and leg. Witness continued that he had to get assistance to remove the coal. First aid was given and Spiers was removed to the surface. Asked by Mr R. S. Henderson, procurator fiscal, if that place had been examined by the fireman witness said he expected it would be. He did not see the fireman make his examination.
Two Tons Weight. - Archibald M'Tavish, underground fireman, 39 Cook Street, Dysart, said he was informed shortly after4 p.m. that a man had been injured. The weight of the coal was about two tons and tapered from the foot to the top. It had made a clean parting from the face. Steel supports to keep the coal from coming down were unplaced after the accident. Witness said he had examined that part about an hour before the accident and had found everything in order. In answer to Mr Currie, of Messrs Currie, M'Beth & Co., solicitors, Dunfermline, witness said there had been one support knocked out by the fall of coal. Evidence was also given by Robert Spiers, pit oversman, St Clair Street, Boreland, brother of the deceased. He stated that his brother was suffering from a fracture of the left femur and smaller injuries. He was operated upon twice prior to June, 1935, when he was discharged from Kirkcaldy Hospital. He continued to visit the hospital for massage treatment, and on September, 1936, he was admitted to the hospital for further operation to his left leg, after which the leg was placed in plaster of paris. On 17th December, 1936 he underwent another operation, and after about 15 minutes under the anaesthetic he collapsed and died. Questioned Mr Henderson, Dr Wishart, Kirkcaldy, stated that the cause of death was stoppage of the heart. He added that the percentage of persons who died under the influence of chloroform was one in 10,000.
Rare Occurrence. - Dr James Langwill, Kirkcaldy, replying to questions dealing with the operation, said that Spiers had made a sort of gasping noise. There was no sign of breathing. “We gave him injections," he said, "and Dr Stirling made heart manipulation, but after working for half an hour we stopped. This is a very rare occurrence, and is only the second time in 23 years that I have seen this happen." Dr John Hilferty, assistant to Dr Brown, Kirkcaldy, was given a formal warning by the Sheriff that he did not require to give evidence unless he desired. Dr Hilferty said that he was willing to give evidence. He stated that on December 19 he was on duty in Kirkcaldy Hospital on the occasion on which the operation was performed on Spiers' knee. You had him under your charge previously?—Yes. Did you administer the anaesthetic? —Yes. Dr Stirling, surgeon, was present to do the manipulative part of the operation ?— Yes.
Needle Through Heart. - Dr Hilferty added that after the anaesthetic had proceeded for 15 minutes the patient's respiration ceased and it was found his heart had failed. Artificial respiration was applied and injections were given. A needle was also passed through the heart so that he could receive direct electrical stimulation. His heart never pulsed any more. In answer to Mr R W. Currie. Dunfermline, for the relatives, Dr Hilferty said that the anaesthetic was identical with that used on a previous occasion. You examined his heart on both occasions ? —Yes. A few minutes before the operation was the heart perfectly normal? —Yes. Was the man excited at the thought of going through the operation? —His heart was quite normal. The Sheriff—Everything was given of the best, skill of the profession? —Yes. The jury returned a formal verdict, adding that they were satisfied that all skill had been given before and during the operation. [Evening Telegraph 1 February 1937]

11 February 1937

SWEPT INTO THE SEA BY HOT ASHES – METHIL MAN DIES FROM BURNING INJURIES – An accident at the redd bing at the Wellesley Colliery sidings Denbeath on Tuesday has resulted in the death of John Cumming, residing at 64 High Street, Innerleven, Methil, who succumbed to his injuries in the Wemyss Memorial Hospital to-day. Cumming, who was an unemployed colliery labourer, was in the act of gathering coal at the bing. The bing is burning fiercely under the crust at parts, and portions of it frequently avalanche into the sea. Cumming was engulfed by a sudden slide of the red-hot material and swept into the sea. Other coal gatherers immediately rushed to his aid. On being rescued he was found to have sustained severe burning injuries to his body and legs. Deceased, who was 44 years of age, is survived by a widow and ten children. He was well known in Buckhaven and districts, being secretary of the Wemyss Parish Horticultural Society and Wemyss Hospital Appeal Fund. [Evening Telegraph 11 February 1937]

17 February 1937

WARNING SHOUT IN COLLIERY ACCIDENT - Runaway Hutch Which Killed Miner - Companion's Story of Dash for Shelter - The death of a 21-year-old miner following an accident in the Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, was the subject of inquiry at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to-day by Sheriff Dudley Stuart and a jury. Levi Westwood, miner, Clyde Street, Denbeath, died in the Wemyss Memorial Hospital on February 17, two days after he had been injured in the Michael Colliery by a runaway hutch which collided with several other hutches on which he had been working. Mr R. S. Henderson, procurator fiscal, conducted the examination. Robert Drummond (42), brusher, 1 Wemyss Terrace, East Wemyss, said that Westwood and he had been working together in the Bowhouse east side dook of the Michael Colliery. They had both been brushing at the time and there were two hutches of redd standing opposite a man hole which was under repair. When they heard a shout "all clear” coming from further up the dook Westwood clipped on one of the hutches to the main haulage rope. Drummond described that after receiving that signal he heard a noise on the rope and from that he knew that there was something coming down. The noise was unusual. He also heard a shout to "look out" and he knew that a hutch had run away.
Half Way In. - He made for the shelter of a nearby manhole, and Westwood was half-way into the same manhole when the hutch came down. The runaway hutch came down at a high speed and collided with the other hutches. Westwood was jammed between a steel girder and the mouth of the manhole. The distance between the manhole and the rail was 19 inches. Westwood received severe head and leg injuries. Tho weight of the hutch was between 30 cwts. and two tons. James Boyd (28), brusher, 81 Barrie Street, Methil, stated that he was working along with John M'Nally 50 yards above where Drummond and Westwood had been working. They had been filling hutches at the time, and five hutches had been sent away. The last hutch was sent away itself and M'Nally clipped it on to the haulage rope. After it had left something unforeseen happened, and the hutch became detached and ran back. There was no means of them stopping it, and they could only shout a warning to those who were working further down the dook. Mr Henderson—Can you account for the clip becoming detached?—l think the clip may have gripped something. What could it have gripped?— lt may have gripped the re-roaders which are used for putting derailed hutches back on the rail. If it had not been properly clipped on would it have run back?— lt is possible. In answer to question by Mr A. Ferguson, for the coal company, Boyd stated that the hutch had travelled about 150 yards up the dook before it ran back.
"Fixed Properly." - John M'Nally (23), brusher, 33 Omar Crescent, Buckhaven, gave evidence to fixing the clip on to the rope. He had fixed and screwed the clip properly. Questioned by Mr W. Philp, Kirkcaldy, for relatives —Can you suggest any reason for the jaws becoming detached? —No. The Sheriff—How did it become slack? It must have got a jolt. David Gardner (29), haulage worker, 18 Wemyss Terrace, East Wemyss, said that the clip was in good condition. Mr P. G. Dominy, His Majesty's Inspector of Mines —Have you any experience of clips becoming detached from ropes? —Yes, once a week probably. Have you found out why it did so? —It could have caught girders on its way up. After further evidence a formal verdict was returned. [Evening Telegraph 29 March 1937]

25 February 1937

BURIED IN ROOF FALL - FIFE MINER KILLED - James Kinnear, 22 Forth Street, Denbeath, Methil, lost his life while at work in the Wellesley Colliery of the Wemyss Coal Company shortly before midday to-day. Kinnear was employed as a stripper, his duty being to fix iron stripping as a support in the workings. He was working in the Chemiss section, and went to obtain additional stripping for a portion of the roof. Just as he returned a fall took place, and he was completely buried. It is believed that he was killed instantaneously. Nearly an hour elapsed before the body was recovered. Kinnear was a little over 50 years of age, and is survived by his wife and a grown-up family. The majority of the backshift men, in accordance with the usual custom, did not resume work this afternoon. [Evening Telegraph 25 February 1937]

6 April 1937

Findings At Other Inquiries - Formal verdicts were also returned in inquiries into the deaths of the following persons: - Robert Blackhall Dorward, miner, 60 Links Street, Kirkcaldy, who died on April 6, 1937, from stomach trouble following an accident in Francis Colliery, Dysart, on December 17, 1935; William Rothwell, coal miner 142 Beatty Crescent, Kirkcaldy, killed by a fall from the roof in Francis Colliery on May 1 1937, Andrew Brown Sinclair, underground fireman . 70 Cairns Street, Kirkcaldy, found dead in the haulageway of the Lochhead Pit East Wemyss, on May 29, 1937. In the last-mentioned case, the jury stated in their verdict that the accident was believed to be caused by the derailment of an empty hutch, although the evidence did not disclose the cause of the derailment. [Scotsman 29 June 1937]

26 April 1937

A 14 year old boy, George Rushford, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Robert Rushford, residing at 39 Wemyss Terrace, East Wemyss, was killed on Monday night when employed as a hutch attendant at the pithead of the New Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, belonging to the Wemyss Coal Co. (Ltd). The boy, who was on the back shift, accidentally stumbled between two hutches of coal and was so severely crushed that he died before medical aid could be summoned. [Scotsman 28 April 1937] [Many thanks to Janet Keefe for supplying this article]

BOY KILLED AT PITHEAD - CRUSHED BETWEEN HUTCHES - Recently Returned to Work After Burning Accident - A 14-year-old boy, George Rushford, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Robert Rushford, residing at 39 Wemyss Terrace, East Wemyss, was killed last night when employed as a hutch attendant at the pithead of the New Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, belonging to the Wemyss Coal Co., Ltd. The boy who was on the back shift accidentally stumbled between two hutches of coal and was so severely crushed that he died before medical aid could be summoned. The body was removed to the mortuary at Wemyss Memorial Hospital.
Recently Restarted Work. - Deceased, who left school only last September, was involved in burning accident several months ago when he fell into a bing of red-hot ashes at the Michael Colliery's redd bing, and on that occasion his legs were badly burned. He had only been back at work a short period when he was fatally injured. The colliery, which employs about 2600 miners, was idle on the night shift and also to-day as a mark of respect. [Evening Telegraph 27 April 1937]

1 May 1937

Fatal Roof Fall In A Dysart Colliery - A miner was fatally injured in an accident at the Francis Colliery, Dysart, on Saturday morning. He was William Rothwell, who resided at Beatty Crescent. Kirkcaldy, and he was engaged in the early shift, working near the coal face, when there was a fall which almost completely buried him. His mates immediately went to his rescue, but by the time they had got him clear he had succumbed to his injuries. [Scotsman 3 May 1937] (see also entry under 6 April 1937)

5 May 1937

Died After Burn To Arm - Evidence at Kirkcaldy Inquiry – Coaltown of Wemyss Man - A statement that a colliery banksman's death was the sequel to burning injuries to the arm which he had sustained was made at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court yesterday by Dr J. C. Khambatta, East Wemyss, when giving evidence at an inquiry before Sheriff-Substitute Dudley Stuart and a jury, into the death of James Laing (69), 26 South Row, Coaltown of Wemyss. Evidence was given by Laing's widow to the effect that part of her husband's duties in his employment at Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, belonging to the Fife Coal Company, was to remove silt and sediment from the boilers. In February of this year her husband had a small burn on his left arm, and he told her this had happened through his coming into contact with a hot boiler.. On Wednesday, April 21 when he returned home from the night shift, he had a deep burn on his left elbow, and said he had burned it while attending the boilers. He was unable to return to his work, and was attended by Dr Khambatta. On April 30 the colliery officials were notified of a possible claim for compensation, and replied that they knew nothing of the accident. Her husband had told her there was no one there when it happened, and he had not reported it. Later, her husband became seriously ill and died on May 5. Evidence was given by John Scott, boiler fireman, 84 Beatty Crescent, Kirkcaldy, and William Galloway, colliery, manager, Haugh House, East Wemyss, to the effect that Laing had not been observed while at the boilers, but they had been attended to, and this must have been carried out by him. Both witnesses agreed that Laing might have slipped and burned his elbow through coming into contact with some part of the boiler. Dr Khambatta stated that the injuries were very serious for a person of Laing's years, and his death was the sequel to the injuries he sustained. The jury returned a formal verdict. [Scotsman 29 June 1937]

29 May 1937

Killed In Colliery Accident - A Kirkcaldy man was killed on Saturday while employed underground at Lochhead Colliery, Coaltown of Wemyss, belonging to the Wemyss Coal Co. (Ltd.) He was Andrew Sinclair, aged 42, who resided at 70 Cairns Street, Kirkcaldy. Sinclair was engaged as underground examiner and fireman, He had just made his rounds of inspection at the commencement of his shift, and was travelling down the new "dook" on the main haulage road, when he wag struck by a runaway hutch. Death was instantaneous. Sinclair served in France with the Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery on the field. He is survived by a wife and family. [Scotsman 31 May 1937] (see also entry under 6 April 1937)

31 May 1937

James Rollo, miner, aged 59, residing at 21 Herd Crescent, Methilhill was seriously injured early yesterday morning in the Rosie Colliery, near Buckhaven. Rollo was working on the main haulage road when one of the steel haulage ropes suddenly broke away from the guiding pulley on a bend of the road and crushed him against the side of the haulage way. He received a fracture of both legs and one of his arms was fractured in two places. He was conveyed to Wemyss Memorial Hospital. [Scotsman 1 June 1937]

2 June 1937

Dunfermline Pit Worker's Fatal Injuries - William Hugh Drysdale (53); pithead worker, 39 Main Street, Kingseat, Dunfermline, has died in the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital from the effects of injuries received on Thursday of last week in an accident at Lochside Mine Townhill, belonging to the Lochside Coal and Fireclay Company (Ltd.). He was in the act of emptying a hutch containing blae when the hutch tipped over and went down a chute, carrying him with it, a distance of about twelve feet. [Scotsman 3 June 1937]

29 July 1937

Fife Miner Injured In Explosion - Angus Cook, 43 Overton Road, Kirkcaldy, while employed at New Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, yesterday, received serious facial and eye injuries when a charge of explosive suddenly went off at the coal face. Cook was conveyed to hospital, and later sent to the Royal Infirmary. Edinburgh. [Scotsman 30 July 1937]

6 September 1937

Fife Miner's Death - William Hynd, miner, 40 Rintoul Avenue, Blairhall, died in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital yesterday from the effects of injuries which he received early in the morning in the Coltness Iron Company's Blairhall Colliery. He was engaged at the face in the five foot seam when there was a fall of coal, which caught him before he had time to make his escape. He was 25 years of age and unmarried. [Scotsman 7 September 1937]

11 December 1937

Dunfermline Mine Fatality - Robert Wilkie, mine inspector, Chamberfield Road, Dunfermline, was fatally injured as the result of a shot-firing accident early on Saturday morning in the underground workings of Lochside Mine, Townhill, Dunfermline. Wilkie, who was about 50 years of age, is survived by his wife and one son. [Scotsman 13 December 1937]

18 January 1938

Fife Pit Accident - A Fife miner, Edward Thomson, residing at Douglas Street, Windygates, was seriously injured while at work at the Randolph Colliery, Wemyss yesterday morning. While Thomson was at work near the coal face, the roof suddenly collapsed, and he was pinned to the ground by the falling debris. Some of his colleagues who were working nearby heard his shouts for help and ran to his assistance, but it was only with great difficulty that they extricated him. He was removed to the pithead , where he received temporary treatment, and was later removed to Kirkcaldy Hospital suffering from severe injuries to his body and right leg. [Scotsman 19 January 1938]

29 January 1938

Tragedy of Toil At Coal Face - Thomas Waddell (35), coal stripper, Kennoway Road, Windygates, was killed, by a fall of coal in Rosie Colliery, East Wemyss, on Saturday night. Waddell was working at a coal face when there was a sudden burst, and about six tons of coal collapsed on top of him. Two workmates, after digging frantically to extricate him, found that their efforts were in vain. Waddell was dead when uncovered, and his injuries were so severe that death must have been almost instantaneous. He is survived by his wife and a family of two. [Scotsman 31 January 1938]

12 March 1938

John Downie, employed as a waggon attendant at Leadside Pit, Wellwood Colliery, near Dunfermline, died in the Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital on Saturday from the effects of injuries which he received in the course of his employment on Thursday. He had been making adjustments on the drum of a haulage machine at the pithead, when, it is believed, his hand having become caught he was dragged into the moving machinery. When extricated by workmates he was unconscious, and suffering from injuries, including a fracture of the spine. He was 34 years of age, and resided at 60 Robertson Road, Dunfermline. [Scotsman 14 March 1938]

5 April 1938

Man Fatally Injured At Colliery - David Morgan (52), labourer, residing at Mansionhouse Buildings, Cairneyhill, was fatally injured yesterday morning in the course of his work at the pithead of the Fife Coal Co.'s Valleyfield Colliery. He was oiling points at the colliery railway siding when he was struck and knocked down by a mineral train which was being shunted. Death was almost instantaneous. [Scotsman 6 April 1938]

12 April 1938

A Buckhaven widow who, on behalf of herself and her two children, raised an action against the Wemyss Coal Company, East Wemyss for the sum of £482 8s in respect of compensation following the death of her husband, has had her claim dismissed at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court. The claimant was Mrs Eliza Jane Lynch or M'Lean, 19 Wilhelmina Street, Buckhaven, whose husband, James M'Lean, was killed on April 12. 1938. In the course of an interlocutor issued yesterday, Sheriff-Substitute J. W. More states that the deceased was employed as a surface worker in the woodyard at the railway sidings of the Michael Colliery, East Wemyss. On April 12. 1938, deceased, along, with a man named John Tulloch and two others, was engaged in filling waggons with corrugated iron sheets. About midday deceased said to Tulloch that he was going away, and left his working place. Shortly thereafter he was found lying dead between the rails at the west side of the northmost siding. The Sheriff says it is admitted that deceased was fatally injured by being squeezed between two trucks which formed part of a train operating on that siding, and he adds that deceased had no work to do in the course of his employment at or near the place he was killed. Finding that the accident did not arise out of and in the course of deceased's employment with the respondents. Sheriff More dismisses the claim and finds respondents entitled to expenses. [Scotsman 23 May 1939]

14 June 1938

Colliery Mishap - Fife Man Killed : Mate Injured - An elderly pit-worker was killed, and his mate was injured, when they were buried under a heavy fall of material, in Valleyfield Colliery, near Dunfermline, yesterday. The men, James Gillespie (68), pit repairer, West Green. Culross, and William Morris (29), stripper, 153 Rumblingwell, Dunfermline, were at work in the Preston splint section when they were caught by the fall. They were trapped for several hours, further falls occurring while rescue workers attempted to release them. When they were extricated, Gillespie was found to be dead, but Morris escaped with injuries to his legs. [Scotsman 15 June 1938]

20 June 1938

Men Ablaze on Pole - Electric Cable Becomes 'Alive' - In Grave Condition - Two colliery electricians employed at Lochhead Colliery, Coaltown of Wemyss, are in a grave condition as the result of extensive electrical burns inflicted when a 6600 volt high tension cable at which they were working yesterday afternoon became "live." The men are David Hunter, aged 22, 19 Viewforth, Leven, and Robert Keddie, aged 23, 26 Henderson Park, Windygates. Both are in Wemyss Memorial Hospital. They were engaged in disconnecting a high tension cable from the 20-feet high junction pole, it is stated, when flashes of flame suddenly shot from Hunter's body. Keddie, it appears, was working immediately below him. Trying to release Hunter from the " live" cable, he also became a mass of flames. The men, their clothes ablaze, and their bodies electrified, were held at the head of the pole for several seconds. The current was quickly switched off, and the men dropped to the ground. First-aid men were on the spot in a short time, and extinguished the flames and rendered first-aid. Hunter and Keddie were removed to Wemyss Memorial Hospital by an ambulance which was summoned from the Rescue Station at East Wemyss. Both had sustained extensive burns, and may also be injured by their fall. [Scotsman 17 June 1938]

"Live" Cable Tragedy - Injured Colliery Electrician Dies in Fife Hospital - The death occurred yesterday in Wemyss Memorial Hospital of David Hunter (22), 19 Viewforth, Leven, one of two colliery electricians severely burned when contact was accidentally made with a 6600 volt High tension cable at Lochhead Colliery, Coaltown of Wemyss, last Thursday. The other man injured, Robert Keddie (23), 26 Henderson Park, Windygates, was stated yesterday to be holding his own. The accident happened after Hunter and Keddie had climbed a 20-feet high pole to carry out some work on the cables. They were under the impression that the current had been completely switched off. Hunter appears to have come in contact with a "live" cable just as he caught hold of Keddie, who was above him, There was an immediate burst of flame, and the plight of the hapless men, unable to release themselves, was seen by many miners on their way to work. A phone message had to be put through to Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, about a mile and a half away, before the current could be switched off. When the current was cut off both men fell to the ground. Hunter was found to have sustained exceptionally severe burning injuries affecting the spine. [Scotsman 21 June 1938]

Fife Man's Death - Shock from Electric Cable - Jury's Rider To Verdict - The death of a young Leven electrician, David Rodger Hunter, 16 Viewforth, Leven, at the Wemyss Memorial Hospital, after receiving a shock from an electric cable containing 6600 volts, was the subject of an inquiry at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court, yesterday, before Sheriff-Substitute Dudley Stuart and a jury. Thomas Hunter, the dead lad's father, in reply to Mr Tom Cassells, M.P., solicitor, Falkirk , for the relatives, stated that he had visited his son on several occasions in hospital. He asked the lad how it had happened, and his son, in describing the accident, said, "I have made a mess of things this time." Questioned further by Mr Cassells, witness said that his son had told him he had been instructed to go to this place by the foreman. Mr Cassells - Did he make it quite clear he had been informed the current was off?-Yes. Mr Cassells added that another man named Keddie, who had been injured, was still in hospital, and could not be present in Court. John Turner, 643 Wellesley Road, Methil, an electrician with the Wemyss Coal Co., stated that on June 16 he was engaged in taking a disused electric cable from a pole. The operation was being supervised by John Sym. Witness said that it had been arranged that the current should go off at 1.30 p.m. and Keddie was to go up and release the shackle. That had been arranged by Sym. Turner then told him he had looked about 1.45, and saw Keddie come down for a key, presumably to remove a bolt.

"The Juice Is On" - "I saw him go up the ladder again," said witness, "and then John Sym asked me what was hindering the work. I told him about Keddie coming down for a second key, and then I saw Keddie lying across an iron strip at the top of the pole. I thought he had hurt himself, but I had no idea that the power was on." Hunter then went up the ladder, and was supporting Keddie by the armpits. He cried, "The juice is on. For God's sake get a rope." Witness told how he ran to get a message sent to get the current cut off. By the time he came back, Keddie was lying on the ground, and Hunter was lying on a bracket on the pole unconscious. Alex. Scott, Church Street, West Wemyss, spoke of seeing sparks coming from Keddie and Hunter, and both men's clothing bursting into flame. When John Sym, foreman electrician, 8 Anderson Crescent, Coaltown-of-Wemyss, entered the box, he was formally warned by the Sheriff. When asked if he wished to make a statement, he said, "In view of the warning, I prefer to say nothing," After an absence of half an hour the jury found that "the accident was due to the foreman electrician in charge instructing his workmen to execute work in dangerous proximity to live wires, when they had been informed the current was cut off." The jury added a rider that stringent measures should be taken in future to ensure the regulations governing this work being enforced, and if possible, improved upon. [Scotsman 2 August 1938]

Three Scottish cases were recognised the Carnegie Hero Fund Trustees at their monthly meeting at Dunfermline yesterday. - "Live" Cable Tragedy - David Hunter (22), electrician, 19 Viewforth , Leven, Fife, who sustained fatal injury on June 16 while rendering assistance to a fellow-workman who had come in contact with an electric cable at Lochhead Colliery, Coaltown of Wemyss. In order to take down a disused cable, both men were working at a height of 20 feet on a pole which carried three overhead cables. After unscrewing the bolts, and in mistaken belief that the current had been switched off, one man straightened himself, and his head came in contact with one of the other cables. The current passed through his body, and, after telling Hunter, the man lost consciousness. Despite warnings, Hunter seized hold of the man under the armpits to prevent him from falling, and maintained his hold, although by then his own clothing and boots were alight. When the current was switched off, both men fell to the ground, seriously injured, and Hunter died four days later. Hunter's parents were awarded a memorial certificate. [Scotsman 25 November 1938]

21 June 1938

One man was killed and two others were injured yesterday when a roof collapsed in the Michael Colliery, East Wemyss. The dead man was William Knox (63), sectional oversman, Brae House, Brewery Brae, East Wemyss, and the two injured men are Henry Wilkie, Stark Street, Buckhaven, and James Douglas, stripper, Coronation Place, Coaltown of Wemyss. The two injured men were taken to Wemyss Memorial Hospital and detained for treatment, but were later allowed home. The accident happened in the Barncraig section of No. 3 pit. If the fall had been ten minutes later the men would have been on their way to the surface. About eight men were working in the vicinity of the fall. Two others, besides those involved, were struck by debris, but were thrown clear. The rescue party had reached Wilkie when a second fall occurred and buried him again. One of the rescuers was struck by the fall, but he too was thrown clear. Knox was killed instantaneously. He is survived by a widow and a family of three. [Scotsman 22 June 1938]

25 July 1938

Pit Fireman Fined - Mines Regulations Neglected - Andrew Fotheringham, underground fireman, of 1 Arthur Street, Dunfermline pleaded guilty at Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday to three contraventions of the Coal Mines Act. The charges were to the effect that on July 25 in a section of the underground workings of No, 1 Pit, Valleyfield Colliery, (1) he fired a shot before the face had been thoroughly dusted with incombustible dust: (2) when firing a shot electrically fired, he failed to couple up the cable to the fuse or detonator wires, and allowed Thomas Hadden, miner, to couple up the cable; and (3) before firing the shot he failed to see that all persons in the vicinity, and particularly Thomas Hadden, had taken proper shelter, whereby Hadden was injured by material brought down by the shot. An agent said there was a certain amount of excuse for the respondent, as he tried to do more than one thing at the same time. It happened on the day the week was resumed after the holidays, and when operations were not yet proceeding smoothly. Respondent was preparing to fire a shot and had made his inspection with a locked safety lamp. When he had done so, the fans went out of order and he went to put them right. In his concentration upon this work, he omitted the stone dusting and allowed Hadden to couple up the cable. Then he fired the shot without allowing Hadden sufficient time to get out of the way. Respondent had been a fireman for only two months, and it was perhaps just as well that a comparatively trivial accident should have happened so soon after the commencement of his duties, because it would impress upon him the necessity for observing these regulations to the letter. Sheriff-Substitute F. A. Umpherston, imposing a penalty of £4, said that these regulations providing for safety in the mines were of the greatest importance, and neglect of them might have serious results. [Scotsman 9 August 1938]

1 August 1938

Hugh Martin 46, oncost worker, employed by the Fife Coal Co., was fatally injured while at work underground in the Randolph Colliery, Dysart, yesterday. He had been engaged on an incline when he was caught by a hutch, which moved forward as he was positioning it on the rails. Deceased was married, and resided at 88 East March Street. Kirkcaldy. [Scotsman 2 August 1938]

23 January 1939

Electrician's Fatal Injuries - A Dysart electrician who received an electric shock, which caused him to fall ten feet to a concrete floor, succumbed to his injuries in Kirkcaldy Hospital yesterday morning. Deceased was David Robertson (35) of Fraser Place Dysart. Employed at the Francis Colliery, Dysart, he was working at a transformer in a sub-station near the pithead on Sunday at the time of the mishap. He was removed to hospital in an unconscious condition suffering from a fractured skull. He had a short period of consciousness after admission, then a relapse. [Scotsman 24 January 1939]

16 March 1939

Fife Pit Tragedy -A Windygates miner was killed in Wellesley Colliery, Denbeath, yesterday. He was Peter Brown (35), who resided at Rollands Buildings, Windygates. Brown was killed when caught beneath a fall of coal from the roof. [Scotsman 17 March 1939]

27 May 1939

Youth's 40 Feet Fall Ends Fatally - The death occurred, in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital on Saturday of Charles Irvine (19), 19 Burns Street, High Valleyfield , as a result of injuries which he received at the pithead of Valleyfield Colliery on May 15; He fell from a platform leading to the screening plant on to a railway line, distance of 40 feet, and was removed to hospital suffering from head injuries. [Scotsman 29 May 1939]

19 October 1939

Fife Colliery Under-Manager Killed - Yesterday forenoon a fatal accident occurred at the Valleyfield Colliery of the Fife Coal Company, Ltd. The victim was John Sloan, the pit under-manager, who was caught and almost instantaneously killed by a large stone which fell upon him from the roof in the Diamond section. Sloan, who was married, and resided at Woodneuk, Low Valleyfield, was a well-known personality in the village, in most of the social and other organisations of which he took a great interest. [Scotsman 20 October 1939]

9 December 1939

Fall of Stone. - A formal verdict was also returned in the case of John Gibbons, (55), Gladstone Place, Dunfermline. Gibbons died on December 9 in hospital from injuries sustained on September 18, caused by a fall of stone from the roof of his working place in No. 4 Mine, Dean Colliery, Kingseat. [Evening Telegraph 1 February 1940]

22 December 1939

Quarter-Inch Puncture Cause of Miner's Death - Insulation of Electric Cable - How a 1/4-inch puncture in the rubber insulation of cable carrying 550 volts killed a 61-year-old miner was told in Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court today at an inquiry into the death of John Buchanan, miner, 130 Cook Street, Dysart. Buchanan was electrocuted in the Frances Colliery, Dysart, belonging to Fife Coal Company, on December 22. In evidence before Sheriff J. L. Innes, John Foster, 90 St Clair Street, Kirkcaldy, stated that Buchanan had been cleaning up the pan run in the Boreland section of the colliery. The trailing cable was attached to the coal cutting machine and Buchanan had wanted to remove it. Foster told him to leave it alone, but some time after he saw Buchanan on his knees, gripping the cable in his right hand. “When I tried to knock it out of his hand," said Foster, “I got a shock myself, and I fell against the coal base. Seconds later the current was switched off and Buchanan fell forward on his right side. We applied artificial respiration for about three-quarters of an hour, and although oxygen was administered he failed to come round." Daniel Monaghan, machine man, 5 Thistle Street, Kirkcaldy, stated that he had waited until the pan run was cleared before commencing cutting. The cables had only been in use for seven days. In answer to a question by Cowan, electrical inspector of mines, witness stated that the atmosphere in the whole working place was damp and sometimes cables became wet.
Cable Criticised.- Samuel M'Cousland, electrician, 41 Normand Road, Dysart, stated that 550 volts were carried in the cable for driving a 30 h.p. coal-cutting machine. Cross-examined by Mr Mitchell, Dunfermline, for the relatives, witness admitted that he had studied the report of the Department of Mines electrical engineer, who criticised the type of cable that had been used. He added that if a screen cable had been used the accident would have been avoided. Questioned by Mr James Hislop, for the company, M'Cousland said that they were gradually replacing the type of cable used by a newer type, although the screen type of cable was not suitable owing to the acid nature of the water. ''It is apt to give a feeling of false security," said M'Cousland. "It looks safe, but is not such a great precaution." Questioned by Mr Cowan, witness admitted that the life of a cable in the pit was about 12 months. The best method of ensuring safety was to ensure that punctures were attended to at once. After further evidence a formal verdict was returned. [Evening Telegraph 19 January 1940]

7 January 1940

Died 26 Months After. - A similar verdict [formal verdict] was returned by the Sheriff after inquiry into the death of Andrew Henderson, a 24-year-old miner, residing at The Cross, West Wemyss. Henderson died 26 months after being injured in a pit accident at the Frances Colliery, Dysart. When employed there as a miner in October 1937, he received a fractured spine through a stone falling from the roof. He lay paralysed in hospital until February, 1939 when he was taken home, where he died on January 7, 1940. [Evening Telegraph 15 March 1940]

24 March 1940 & 5 April 1940

Formal verdicts were also returned in the deaths of two young miners, Henry Robertson Follen (17), 18 Napier Street, Kirkcaldy, who was killed in Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, being crushed by hutches, and 23-year old David Wright, 185 High Street, Kirkcaldy, who had his left leg torn off by a coal-cutting machine at the Frances Colliery Dysart on March 24, and died in hospital. [Evening Telegraph 10 May 1940]

17 April 1940

Miner Dies After Accident – A miner died in Wemyss Memorial Hospital to-day following an accident. He was John Smith (68), Braefoot Cottage, East Wemyss, who was run over by a race of waggons while on his way to work at Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, yesterday. He was taken to hospital, where his leg was amputated, but he died this morning. Smith was the father-in-law of County Councillor William Riley, chairman the Fife, Kinross, and Clackmannan Miners Union Executive. [Evening Telegraph 18 April 1940]

25 April 1940

COLLAPSED AND DIED IN PIT - The fourth tragedy to occur at Wemyss Coal Company works at East Wemyss within the last few days took place at Michael Colliery yesterday. David M'Coll (68), colliery fireman, Randolph Street, East Wemyss, was completing his shift in the Branxton section of the colliery about two o'clock yesterday when he collapsed and died. He is survived by his wife and a grown up family. [Evening Telegraph 25 April 1940]

17 August 1940 & 23 August 1940

FATALITIES AT COLLIERY - One Miner Crushed: Another Killed by Fall - Two fatalities in the Wellesley Colliery, Denbeath, were the subject of inquiry at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to-day by Sheriff- Principal J. R. Wardlaw Burnet, K.C. Donald M’Donald, miner, 39 Ossian Crescent, Methil, died in Wemyss Memorial Hospital on August 17 from injuries received the previous day when he was crushed between hutch and a girder in the roof of his working-place. William Speed (77), 134 High Street, Innerleven, and employed as a blacksmith at the colliery, fell down the chute of the washing plant at the colliery and was killed. The inquiries were conducted by Mr R. S. Henderson, procurator-fiscal. Giving evidence in the M'Donald case, John Gillon, 48 Forth Street, Denbeath, explained that M 'Donald was employed as a clipper. His duties were to accompany a race of hutches and guide them along rails. He had been standing in one section when he saw M'Donald's light approach. The light suddenly disappeared, and when he went forward to see what had happened he found M'Donald sitting by the side of the haulage road. Gillon sent for assistance. M'Donald told him that he had been putting his weight on to where the foremost hutch was attached to the haulage rope. The rope had given a jerk, he had fallen over the clip, and the hutch had come up and thrown him against the girders, which were only two feet above the hutches. Evidence was also given by John Richmond, 411 Wellesley Road, Methil, and Alan Hunter, 535 Wellesley, Road, Methil. A formal verdict was returned.

Extraordinary Feat - In answer to questions by Mr Henderson in Speed's case, Charles Nicoll, 129 Taylor Street, Methil, stated that Speed and he had gone to the washer at the colliery to repair an elevator. As they required a block and tackle, Speed had ascended to the top of the sludge elevator and had stepped on to the end of the shaft in order to reach a chain block which was hanging there. Speed suddenly disappeared from view. His body was found about half an hour later about 80 yards from where he had fallen. He had been carried down the main water channel. Witness agreed with Mr R. W. Currie, who appeared for the Miners' Union, that it was an extraordinary feat for a man of Speed's years to try to take down a block and tackle from the position he had been in. Dr Wilson, Methil, said that Speed's death had been due to multiple fractures of the ribs and legs. In the shaft in which he had been carried down, water had been pouring at 2000 gallons a minute. It was possible that Speed might have been drowned as well. Archibald Shanks, Red Block, Windygates, spoke of having found Speed's body among the sludge. After further evidence, Sheriff Burnet returned a formal verdict. [Evening Telegraph 27 September 1940]

18 September 1940

As a result of an accident in Wellesley Colliery, Buckhaven, Robert Smith, 23 Rannoch Road, Methil, was admitted to Wemyss Memorial Hospital yesterday suffering from a fracture to the left leg. He was caught by a fall of coal. [Scotsman 17 September 1940]

5 June 1941

Fife Pithead Fatality - Andrew Cunningham (65), waggon runner, 4 Brucefield Avenue, Dunfermline, was killed instantaneously yesterday when he was crushed between two waggons at the washery at Blairhall Colliery. [Scotsman 6 June 1941]

CAUGHT BETWEEN WAGGON BUFFERS - Fatal Accident at Fife Colliery - A Dunfermline colliery worker, Andrew Cunningham (65), waggon runner, 4 Brucefield Avenue, was fatally injured in an accident on the surface at Blairhall Colliery to-day. Cunningham was caught between the buffers of railway waggons and received head injuries. [Evening Telegraph 5 June 1941]

12 August 1941

MINER CRUSHED AT FIFE COLLIERY - Died Four Months Later - An inquiry was held at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to-day before Sheriff Substitute J. W. More into the death of William Cunningham miner, 3 Shotburn Crescent, Leven, who died in Wemyss Memorial Hospital four months after he had been crushed between hutches at Wellesley Colliery. James Cunningham, miner, brother of deceased said that on April 10 his brother continued working after the accident, but was finally forced to give up work and on the doctor's orders entered the hospital, where died on August 12. Sheriff More returned a formal verdict. [Evening Telegraph 10 October 1941]

16 August 1941

Pit Fatality - James Rodger, Lochhead Crescent, Coaltown of Wemyss, was killed in an accident in Michael Colliery. [Scotsman 18 August 1941]

5 September 1941

Widow Awarded Compensation - Husband's Death at Colliery - A Buckhaven widow and her two daughters have been successful in a claim for compensation raised in Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court against the Wemyss Coal Company. The claimants Mrs Charlotte Forrester, 89 West High Street Buckhaven, and her daughters, Cecilia and Isabella, sought an award under the Workman's Compensation Act, 1925, for the sum of £300 and also for £91 10s, being the total of the children's allowances result of the death of Thomas Forrester, claimants' husband and father. Sheriff-Substitute J. W. More, in his findings states that the deceased Thomas Forrester who was 40 years of age, and who died on September 5, 1941, in the Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, was employed by respondents as a stripper. On the morning of September 5, he was engaged first in "gumming," or shovelling small coal produced by coal-cutting machine and then, with the assistance of another workman, in building wooden pillars between the pavement and the roof to support the roof. Following upon this operation which did not call for any great exertion, deceased assisted, along with another workman and a lad of 16, in boring four shot holes in the coal face. This operation of boring did not call for as much exertion as other jobs to which the deceased was accustomed a stripper.

Fell to the Ground. - Deceased having completed the operation came off the bench on which he was working, and about three minutes thereafter complained that "Something had burst about the left side of his chest." He walked about three yards, fell to the ground, and died shortly after, his death occurring ten to twelve minutes after he stopped the boring operations. Sheriff More goes on to state that a post-mortem examination revealed Forrester had suffered from atheroma of the coronary arteries of the heart for considerable time. Coronary atheroma is a heart condition whereby the coronary arteries which supply the blood to the heart muscles become thickened and their passage narrowed with the result that the blood supply is restricted. The heart, so affected, is limited in its capacity, and when called upon to act beyond its capacity, by reason of any extra strain, physical or even emotional, it unable to bear the strain and heart failure occurs. Coronary atheroma cannot be diagnosed unless the patient manifest symptoms such as angina pectoris or breathlessness after exertion. Forrester had never complained of heart trouble prior to the date of his death. Adding that the work in which deceased was engaged in on that occasion contributed to his death, Sheriff More finds that death resulted from injury by accident arising out his employment, and that the claimants, having been totally dependent on deceased are entitled to an award of compensation. His Lordship ordains the respondents to pay the sums claimed, and finds claimants entitled to expenses.

Unusually Early Age - In a note Sheriff More remarks that deceased was a man of 40 years of age, and it was agreed by the medical witnesses that this was an unusually early age at which find an atheromatous condition. It was also agreed that, sooner or later, this condition would produce a condition of heart failure followed by death, and it was stressed in evidence by medical witnesses for the respondents that it was just as probable that this heart failure would occur when deceased was at rest, or even in his bed as when he was engaged in his normal work which entailed considerable amount of physical exertion. "As I read the evidence of these witnesses however," comments Sheriff More, "they are not prepared to say that if the deceased had not gone to his work as usual on September 5, but had stayed at home doing nothing, that he would have died of sudden heart failure on that day. Looking at the medical evidence as a whole I think the inference is irresistible that the work which he was engaged in immediately before his death gave a sufficient impetus to his atheromatous condition to produce failure from which he died." For the claimants—Mr R. W. Currie, solicitor Dunfermline; for the respondents – Mr J. Hyslop for Mr A. Ferguson, solicitor, Dunfermline. [Evening Telegraph 3 April 1942]

23 October 1941

Court of Session – No One to Blame - An Unusual Pit Accident – “The whole affair seems to have been a most unfortunate accident for which no one is to blame,” said Lord Keith in the Court of Session yesterday, in disposing of an action which arose out of the death of Daniel Gardiner Alexander, coal miner, who resided at 7 Queens Avenue, Methilhill, and who died on October 23, 1941. Alexander was employed by the Wemyss Coal Co., Ltd., and on October 11, 1941, he was engaged in cutting coal in preparation for its excavation and removal by the men during the next shift. The seam at which he was working was on a steep slope. One of his duties was to keep the coal-cutting machine in position as it moved along the coal face. As a result of being pinned against one of the steel roof supports by the end of a “stell” or wooden prop. Alexander suffered serious internal injuries from which he died twelve days later. His widow, Mrs Elizabeth Davidson Logan or Alexander and their three children sued the Wemyss Coal Co. for a total of £3700 damages on the ground that the accident was due to their fault and negligence in respect of having had a signal wire in a position where it was liable to foul the “stells.” Lord Keith found for the defenders, holding that the pursuers had failed to prove the material facts on which they relied. The signal wire, he said, was fixed in quite a proper way and in quite a usual place. The accident was a most unusual, if not unprecedented, one. It depended on a combination of circumstances which could not, his Lordship thought, have been foreseen by the defenders. Counsel for the Pursuer—Mr Arthur P. Duffes, K.C., and Mr J. A. Crawford. Solicitors—W. Steele Nicoll & Co., S.S.C., Edinburgh, and W. Philp, Kirkcaldy. Counsel for the Defenders—The Dean of Faculty. K.C., and Mr T. B. Simpson. Solicitors—Wallace. Begg & Co., W.S., Edinburgh, and J. A. M’Ara, Glasgow. [Scotsman 28 May 1943]

5 January 1942

Fife Miner Fatally Injured - Robert Dow, miner, Jigburn Terrace, Dunfermline, died in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital early this morning from the effects of injuries which he received in the Jersey section of Blairhill Colliery during the night. He was crushed between a race of loaded hutches and a girder. He never regained consciousness. Deceased, who was between 25 and 30 years of age, was a native of Crossgates. He leaves a wife and one child. [Evening Telegraph 5 January 1942]

15 January 1942

FIFE PIT LAD DIES ON HIS FIRST PAY DAY - On the day that he would have drawn his first pay a 14-year-old Methil boy died in Wemyss Memorial Hospital from injuries sustained in an accident at his work. He was Alfred Cumming, son of Mr and Mrs George Cumming, Kirkland Drive, Methil. He began work at Wellesley Colliery, Denbeath, and had been only a few days at work when he was knocked down and run over by a race of waggons. One of his legs was so severely injured that it had to be amputated. [Dundee Courier 20 January 1942]

6 March 1942

KILLED IN FIFE PIT - Edward M'Murdo (19), clipper, Spey Street, Denbeath, was killed in Wellesley Colliery, Buckhaven, yesterday by a runaway race of hutches. It is only a fortnight since news was received that his brother, serving in H.M. Forces in the Middle East, had been killed in action. [Dundee Courier 7 March 1942]

Note – see also 8 August 1942

16 July 1942

PIT MISHAP PROVES FATAL - Alexander M’Intyre, miner, 236 Pittencrieff Street, Dunfermline, who was injured in an accident in Blairhall Colliery some weeks ago, has died in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital. Forty years of age, he leaves a wife and one child. [Dundee Courier 20 July 1942]

8 August 1942

THREE FIFE BROTHERS KILLED - Denbeath Family's Loss - Three Denbeath brothers have been killed within six months. They are the sons of Mr and Mrs Gavin M'Murdo, 205 Dee Street, Denbeath. Eighteen-year-old George M'Murdo died in Wemyss Memorial Hospital yesterday as the result of injuries received when knocked down by hutch at the pithead at Wellesley Colliery. In March his 19-year-old brother, Edward M'Murdo, was killed underground in Wellesley Colliery in a similar accident. George was also at that time working underground, but after the accident was transferred to a surface job. A fortnight previously news had been received that a brother serving in the Middle East had been killed in action. [Dundee Courier 11 August 1942]

Note - See also 6 March 1942

16 March 1943

Fatal Accident In Fife Pit - Alexander Brown (60), oversman, 20 Rintoul Avenue, Blairhall, was killed while at work in Blairhall Colliery last night. Brown was engaged in No. 4 East 5-foot section of the Lord Bruce Pit when a quantity of material fell on him from the roof and he was so severely injured that he died almost immediately. [Evening Telegraph 17 March 1943]

25 March 1943

A Methil miner, Walter Watson (25), 66 Ossian Crescent, has died in Wemyss Hospital following injuries received at work in Wellesley Pit, Buckhaven. [Scotsman 1 April 1943]

6 April 1943

Fife Colliery’s First Fatal Accident - William Davidson (33), coal stripper, 50 Robertson Road, Dunfermline, was struck on the head by a fall of roof in the north side development section of Comrie Colliery, belonging to the Fife Co., Ltd. Death was instantaneous. This is the first fatal accident in the colliery, which was opened about three years ago. [Evening Telegraph 7 April 1943]

20 April 1943

Colliery Tragedy – Walter Banks, miner, 13 Preston street, High Valleyfield, was fatally injured yesterday when he was caught by a fall of material from the underground workings of Valleyfield Colliery. He died from his injuries in Dunfermline and West Fife Hospital a few hours after the accident. [Scotsman 21 April 1943]

15 August 1943

Fatal Fife Colliery Accident. - James Todd, Croft Crescent, Markinch, lost his life as the result of an accident in Balgonie Colliery early yesterday morning. Deceased who belongs to Thornton was married a year ago. [Evening Telegraph 16 August 1943]

14 November 1943

Killed By Shot In Pit - Sheriff's Rebuke To Miners - Evidence was led at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to-day in the case in which William M'Lachlan, shot firer, 49 East Quality Street, Dysart, was charged with having, on November 12, 1943, within No. 1 Boreland Section, Low's Mine, Frances Colliery, (1) before firing shots failed to take suitable steps to prevent any person approaching the shot which was fired by him, whereby James Alexander Balfour Forsyth, apprentice coal stripper, 46 Bellfield Crescent, Kirkcaldy, was severely injured and died in Kirkcaldy Hospital on November 14, 1943; and (2) before coupling the cable to the firing apparatus failed himself to couple up the cable to the fuse or detonator wires. Accused pleaded not guilty to the first charge and guilty to the second. James Millar Dick, stripper, 32 Relief Street, Dysart, said no warning had been given before the fatal shot was fired, but his evidence was not corroborated. Other witnesses working beside accused professed ignorance of the regulations regarding shot firing. Accused did not go into the witness box. In finding the first charge not proven, Sheriff More said it seemed to him that those whose lives were mostly concerned seemed to take these regulations in a very light way. It was terrible to think, that some of the witnesses who had spent most of their lives in the pits did not know what the regulations were and did not seem to pay much attention to them. He imposed a fine of 40s on the second charge. [Evening Telegraph 24 March 1944]

16 February 1944

Miner Buried By Fall of Coal - An unusual type of accident due to a blow-out of small coal was the subject of an inquiry held in Dunfermline Sheriff Court to-day. Victim was James Williamson, miner, 51 Burns Street, High Valleyfield, who was killed on February 16 in Valleyfield Colliery, as a result of being buried by a fall of coal in his working place. Michael Ginelly, developer, 36 Dundonald Terrace, Low Valleyfield, who was working beside Williamson and was partially buried by the fall, said they did not get the slightest warning. The working place was well supported by steel arch girders. The place was well ventilated, and there was a bore hole 15 feet ahead where they were working. Asked if he knew what caused the coal to come out witness said that gas was the only thing that would blow coal out like that. Duncan Paterson, overman, 10 Erskine Brae, Culross, agreed with H.M. Inspector of Mines that an outburst of this nature was not a common thing. He said it was only on very rare occasions that they found bore holes drawing off gas. Witness was satisfied that all necessary precautions were being taken, and Williamson was a very experienced man. Sheriff M'Lean recorded a formal verdict. [Evening Telegraph 16 March 1944]

14 June 1944

Shortly before commencing work at Wellesley Colliery, Denbeath where he was employed as a bricklayer's labourer, John Mackenzie, 187 Den Walk, Buckhaven, was taken ill and died almost immediately. He was 61. [Evening Telegraph 20 June 1944]

13 October 1944

Bevin Boy Killed At Fife Pit - William R. Grieve, 18-year-old Bevin boy, residing c/o Miners' Hostel, Muiredge, was killed at Francis Colliery, Dysart, to-day when he overbalanced and fell down the pit shaft. Grieve was carrying forward material to be sent down the shaft on ground level shortly after 6 a.m. when he accidentally fell. His body was recovered later on the bottom of the shaft. Grieve was a recent arrival at the pit, and his home was in Orkney, where he was employed in the grocery trade before being directed to the mines. [Evening Telegraph 13 October 1944]

12 July 1945

Fife Miner’s fatal Accident - A fatal accident took place at the Fife Coal Company's Comrie colliery late last night. The victim was Robert Muirhead (33) stripper, residing at 47 Sunnybraes Terrace, Steelend. He was engaged in the jersey level when a large stone fell upon him from the roof, fracturing his spine and skull. Death was instantaneous. [Evening Telegraph 12 July 1945]

11 September 1945

Fife Miner Killed - One miner lost his life and another was badly injured in an accident at Wellesley Colliery Denbeath, belonging to Wemyss Coal Company, yesterday. Deceased was Charles Hancock of 10 Cowley Street, Denbeath, and the injured man is Robert Thomson, 24 Sandwell Street, Buckhaven. Employed as machinemen, they were working in the Barncraig section of the Colliery when a fall of coal and stone took place. They were both buried, and on being extricated Hancock was beyond human aid, while Thomson was found to have sustained head and leg injuries. He was removed to Wemyss Memorial Hospital. Hancock was 50 years of age and leaves a widow and a family of one son and two daughters. [Evening Telegraph 12 September 1945]

21 September 1945

FIFE MAN'S MISTAKE KILLED FRIEND - "He honestly made a mistake and no punishment given him could be more than the experience and suffering he has undergone," said Mr Wm. Robertson, solicitor, Motherwell, at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court today when he defended James Brown Newton, colliery foreman, 267 Methilhaven Road Methil. Newton pleaded guilty to having on September 21 in the Michael Colliery, East Wemyss, being a person authorised in writing by the management, fired a shot and failed before doing so to see that all persons in the vicinity had taken proper shelter whereby William Henry, brusher, 95 Kirkland Gardens, Methil, was so severely injured that he died later in Wemyss Memorial Hospital. Mr W. M. Paterson, depute fiscal, recalled the public inquiry which had been held on Henry's death. From the evidence it appeared that accused walked down the heading assuming that he was followed Henry, but it was Henry's drawer. There seemed to have been no warning shout given before the shot was fired, and when accused turned round and saw the drawer he immediately rushed back the coal face to find Henry in a practically unconscious condition. Mr Robertson explained that previously the drawer had left the face and had returned unknown to accused. "The tragedy is," said Mr Robertson, that accused and deceased were good friends. There was a time following the accident when nobody was allowed to see him. Even to-day he is mentally depressed and I doubt very much if he will be able to return to his work." Imposing a fine of 25s, Sheriff More remarked, "This is a very sad case. He is being well punished now." [Evening Telegraph 7 December 1945]

3 October 1952

When being brought up in the cage after feeling sick at his work in Michael Colliery yesterday, William Hardie (49), colliery fireman, Michael Place, East Wemyss, collapsed and died. [Dundee Courier 4 October 1952]

18 December 1957

Colliery Accident – Two men were injured in a fall of stone yesterday at Seafield Colliery, Kirkcaldy. Joseph Call, Leslie Street, Kirkcaldy, was detained in hospital with head injuries and mild concussion. The other man was allowed home after treatment. [Glasgow Herald 19 December 1957]

4 December 1958

Rock Fall Kills Three Miners – Pit Due to Close - Three miners were killed and one was seriously injured by a fall of rock at Cameron mine, near Windygates, Fife, yesterday. The pit is one of the 20 in Scotland which the National Coal Board have decided to close.

The men killed were Richard Teevan, aged 36, of Methil, William Wishart, aged 44, of Kennoway, and John Thomson, aged 41, of Methilhill, all in Fife. An under-manager, James Frew, aged 57, of Wemyss, Fife, was taken to hospital with a head injury.

John Hunter, who escaped with minor injuries, said last night: “We were working in two groups. There was a crack like thunder, then the roof came tumbling down. I jumped on to the face, but Thomson and Teevan, trying to get clear, ran straight into the fall. I heard Teevan yell for help, but there was nothing I could do.” Robert Maxwell, who also had minor injuries, said: “We had just finished shot-firing and had started stripping coal when a huge stone came tumbling down on top of us. Teevan and I were trapped but I was partly saved by machinery which took the weight of the stone. Edward Henry (who was also slightly injured) pulled me out. Just then there was another heavy fall near and we heard Frew cry out. We could not get to him." All the dead men were married. Thomson leaves a widow and six children. [Times, December 5 1958]