Ayrshire Accidents 1915 onwards

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

20 August 1915

HURLFORD MINER KILLED. - Kilmarnock, Saturday Night. - A fatal accident occurred in No. 7 Portland Pit, Hurlford, near Kilmarnock. Malcolm Campbell, miner, Portland Row, Hurlford, was struck on the head by a heavy stone falling from the roof, death being instantaneous. Deceased, who was 43 years of age, leaves a widow and large family. He has a son on active service, and another in the navy. [Sunday Post 22 August 1915]

3 September 1915

Pit Accident in Ayrshire - Yesterday afternoon a serious fall occurred in the roof at Auchencruive colliery, about three miles from Prestwick, belonging to Messrs Wm. Baird & Co. The fall took place in the main haulage road, which was completely blocked. Two roadsmen, Frank Scott and Alexander Davidson, both residing at the Toll, New Prestwick, were buried in the debris. A rescue party at once proceeded to the scene of the accident, and Scott was got out. His legs were badly injured and he was removed to Ayr County Hospital. Two hours later the rescuers reached Davidson, who was brought to the surface in a weak condition. [Scotsman 4 September 1915]

NB Alexander Davidson died 3 September 1915

18 April 1916

Fatal Accident At Ardeer Colliery – In Ardeer Pit, Stevenston, a fatal accident occurred yesterday to Alexander Thomson (41), miner, who resided at Auchenhirvie Cottage, Stevenston. A fall of stone came away from the roof. He was unmarried and resided with his mother. [Scotsman 19 April 1916]

1 August 1916

Fatal Pit Accident at Irvine - Peter Trainer, miner, residing in Cotton Row, Irvine, was killed on Tuesday while at work in Warrlx Pit, near Irvine. Along with a pit fireman named William M'Gill, who resides in East Road, Irvine, was crushed between a hutch and the roof of the pit. M’Gill escaped with injuries to his chest, head and leg. Trainer is survived by a widow. [Hamilton Advertiser 5 August 1916]

8 September 1916

Fatal Accident at New Cumnock - John Corson, coal cutting machineman, lost his life in Afton No. 1 pit, belonging to the New Cumnock Collieries (Limited.). He was finishing his work for the day and was caught by a fall. Death must have been instantaneous. He leaves a widow and large family of young children. [Scotsman 11 September 1916]

23 January 1918

In Drumley No 1 (Ayr) Colliery five or six men were engaged clearing away the debris from a fall, when another fall took place, and James Martin, miner, Whitletts, was killed, and Francis Kerr, fireman, Annbank, and Patrick Connor, repairer, Mossburn, were injured. [Scotsman 24 January 1918]

15 August 1918

While John Monteith, miner, residing at Craigbank , was in the act of drawing a prop to let down some head coal in Bank No. 1 pit, belonging to the New Cumnock Collieries (Ltd.), a fall took place and pinned him to the pavement. When the debris was removed life was found to be extinct. [Scotsman 16 August 1918]

1 April 1919

Ayrshire Pit Accident – Two Miners Suffocated - An accident occurred yesterday at Maxwell Coal Pit, near Dailly, seven miles from Girvan, whereby two miners lost their lives. On Sunday night fumes from on adjoining coal pit, which accidentally went on fire about 95 years ago, and which since then has smouldered under the earth's surface, were discovered to be present, and work in Maxwell Pit was suspended on Monday. At an early hour yesterday morning Matthew Dunlop, who resided in Maxwell Street, Girvan, and John Smellie, Heather Row, Dalquhattan, Dailly, went down the pit, evidently with the intention of making an inspection, preparatory to starting pumping operations, and were suffocated by fumes from the direction of the burning pit. Smellie was about 35 years of age, and leaves a widow and family. Dunlop, who was a native of Hurlford, was unmarried, and lived with his father. Numerous -attempts have been made to extinguish the fire in the disused pit by flooding, but without effect. [Scotsman 2 April 1919]

Carnegie Watches For Ayrshire Miners - Heroic Ayrshire Miners - At a social meeting held in the Working Men's Institute, Dailly - Mr John Blake, manager, South Ayrshire Collieries (Ltd.), presiding - Dr M'Inroy presented four gold watches, suitably inscribed, to Messrs John Dunlop, Samuel M'Bride, Thomas M'Millan, and Neil M'Millan. The watches were awarded by the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust for a heroic endeavour to save life on 1st April 1919 when a fire broke out in Maxwell Pit, Dailly, the fumes from which suffocated two miners, Matthew Dunlop and John Smylie. Mr Adam Wilson, J.P., afterwards presented, on behalf of the workers at Bargany Pit, gold badges, suitably inscribed, to the members of the Rescue Brigade and assistants. [Dunfermline Journal 30 August 1919]

21 August 1919

Ayrshire Mining Accidents - Three mining accidents occurred at Bargany Pit, Dailly, one of which proved fatal. Dan. Park, residing at Bourtree Hall, Girvan, was working in the main coal seam of a pit belonging to the South Ayrshire Collieries (Limited), when a stone from the roof weighing a ton and a half, fell upon him, killing him instantaneously. It required eight men to remove the stone from his body. He was a native of Cumnock, and leaves a widow and eight of a family. A lad named Gavins got his hand wedged between two hutches and lost three fingers. James Boyd, Bourtree Hall, working in the same pit, was struck on the head with a falling stone and badly cut and bruised. [Scotsman 23 August 1919]

NB Deceased was actually David Park

9 September 1919

FATAL PIT ACCIDENT AT IRVINE. Early yesterday morning and accident, which resulted in the death of James M’Neil, pit shaftsman, Bartonholm, occurred in the shaft of Bartonholm Pit, near Irvine the property of Messrs Baird and Co. M'Neil and another shaftsman were in the cage at the shaft bottom when a fall of from half ton to a ton of material from the side of the shaft came down on them. M’Neil attempted to leave the cage and take refuge in the workings of the pit, but was caught by the falling mass and was crushed to death. Gaw, the other shaftsman, who remained in the cage, sustained a few minor injuries about the head, and suffered severely from shock. [Edinburgh Evening News 10 September 1919]

5 November 1919

Pit Fatality At Dunaskin - Hector Jones, 17, residing with his parents at 139 Lethanhill, Dunaskin, was killed by a fall at the working face in the Dalmellington Iron Company's No 3 Pit, Pennyvenie, yesterday. He was working as a drawer with his father and brother, and was in the act of filling the first hutch when the accident occurred. [Evening Times 5 November 1919]

30 March 1920

Lad Falls Down Pit Shaft - John Peebles (14), son of Peter Peebles, Coyle Bridge, Coylton, near Ayr, was killed on Tuesday through falling down the shaft at Shieldmains colliery, a distance of 22 fathoms. He had been wheeling empty hutches on to the cage at the time. [Scotsman 1 April 1920]

11 November 1920

Kilwinning Pit Accident – Henry Coulter, residing at Co-operative Buildings, Kilwinning, has died as the result of injuries caused by a breakaway of hutches which took place in Lady Ha' pit. Besides other injuries, his back was broken, and he died on the way to the Infirmary. He leaves a wife and child. He was a candidate at the recent election for municipal honours. [Scotsman 13 November 1920]

29 May 1921

Explosion At An Ayrshire pit. - Mine Manager and Surveyor Injured - James Brown, under-manager, and Allan Stewart, mine surveyor, both residing in Prestwick, have been admitted to Ayr County Hospital suffering from burns as a result of an explosion which took place in No. 2 Colliery, Mossblown. The men had gone down the shaft for the purpose of examining an obstruction that had been reported, and when they had been lowered to the bottom the explosion took place. One of the men managed back into the cage, while the other clambered on to the roof, and they succeeded in acquainting the winding engineman of their predicament, and were brought to the top. Both were badly burned about the face, hands, and arms. There had been a slight fall in the pit, and it is thought that this may have dislodged a pocket of gas. [Scotsman 30 May 1921]

20 September 1921

A miner named Daniel Wales was instantaneously killed by a fall of stones in Lady Ha' Pit, Kilwinning, yesterday. He resided at Bridgend Lane, Kilwinning, and leaves a wife and family. [Scotsman 21 September 1921]

23 December 1921

Gilbert Thomson, 28, and Neil Clinton, 24, were killed yesterday at Drumley Colliery, near Ayr, by a fall of stone. [The Times 24 December 1921]

Ayrshire Pit Accident – Two Brushers Killed - Drumley No. 1 Pit, near Annbank Station (Ayrshire), was the scene of a distressing accident yesterday morning, two young married miners being so seriously injured that they died. Archibald Thomson, Gilbert Thomson, Neil Clinton , and a boy named James Lees were engaged brushing a horse road in the pit, when a stone, weighing about two tons, came away from the roof, and pinned Gilbert Thomson, Annbank, and Neil Clinton , who resided at Mossbloom, to the ground. The remaining two, who had a narrow escape, raised the alarm, and on the injured men being released, Clinton died almost immediately, and Thomson was removed to Ayr County Hospital, where he died several hours later. [Scotsman 24 December 1921]

7 August 1922

Kilmarnock Miner Killed - A miner named Joseph Picken, residing at 18 East Netherton Street, Kilmarnock, has been killed by a fall of stone from the roof at No. 11 Annandale colliery, near Kilmarnock. Deceased, who was 64 years of age and married, had followed the occupation of mining for over 50 years. [Scotsman 10 August 1922]

22 August 1923

Miner's Fatal Injuries - Thomas Walker (25), coal miner, 195 Annbank, has died from injuries sustained through being crushed by a fall of stone in No. 1 Pit Drumley colliery, near Ayr. Two brothers, who were in the same working place, witnessed the tragic affair. [Scotsman 27 August 1923]

30 October 1923

Miner Killed In An Ayrshire Pit - A mining accident occurred yesterday forenoon at Bargany Pit, belonging to the South Ayrshire Collieries (Ltd.), situated about four miles from Girvan, wherein one man was killed, and his companion had a narrow escape. James Carruthers, 6 Hillview, Bourtree Hall, Girvan, was working at "the face," when a mass of stone weighing half a ton fell from the roof. He received a severe gash on the head, bruises on the shoulders, and a broken collar-bone. He was surgically attended, but died on his way to Ayr County Hospital. He was 28 years of age, and leaves a widow and two children. His companion, Charles Mitchell, escaped with slight injury to his leg. [Scotsman 31 October 1923]

1 December 1923

Fatal Accident at an Ayrshire Pit - A fatal accident occurred at the newly erected screening plant of the New Cumnock Collieries at Bank No. 1 Pit on Saturday. James Muir, attendant, son of Mr Alex. Muir, Path Head while in the course of his duties, was accidentally caught by the machinery and killed instantaneously. [Scotsman 3 December 1923]

2 April 1924

Ayrshire Miner Fatally Injured - The death has occurred in Ayr County Hospital, from injuries sustained in Drumley Colliery, Annbank, of Thomas D. Robertson, a miner, Annbank. Robertson was severely injured by material dislodged by a shot in the underground workings. He was well known in football circles in South Ayrshire, acting as secretary of the Annbank and District Juvenile Association. [Scotsman 3 April 1924]

6 May 1924

Fatal Accident at New Cumnock - An accident happened yesterday at Polquhairn colliery, New Cumnock, when Robert Johnstone (77) was killed. Johnstone was engaged taking loaded waggons drawn by a horse from the pit to the colliery siding. On arriving at the siding, which is near the main line, the horse bolted. A chain caught Johnstone's foot, with the result that he was dragged for half a mile. When found he was dead. [Scotsman 7 May 1924]

30 July 1924

New Cumnock Miner Killed – While Robert Carruthers, 22, son of Wm. Carruthers, residing at Connel Park, New Cumnock, was at work at the coal face in Knockshinnock Mine, belonging to the New Cumnock Collieries Ltd, he was caught by a rush of coal and buried. When extricated, life was extinct. [Scotsman 31 July 1924]

3 September 1924

Shunter Fatally Injured - Martin Keltie, pug shunter, Thirdpart, Kilmarnock, was fatally injured while following his employment with the Caprington and Auchlochan Collieries (Ltd) at Thirdpart lyes yesterday afternoon. He was severely crushed between a shunting pole and a waggon, and died within a few minutes. Deceased was 23 years of age and unmarried. [Scotsman 4 September 1924]

9 November 1924

New Cumnock Miner Killed - While Alex. M'Naught. miner, was engaged at his work in Bank No. 2 Pit, belonging to the New. Cumnock Collieries (Ltd.), he was caught by a fall from the roof and sustained terrible injuries. The unfortunate man died on his way to the Infirmary. [Scotsman 11 November 1924]

25 November 1924

Scottish Pit Accident – Arbitrator Upheld – Court of Session Decision Reversed - The House of Lords yesterday unanimously allowed the appeal of the Garrallan Coal Company (Ltd.), Cumnock, against a judgment of the Second Division of the Court of Session, which by a majority reversed the decision of the arbitrator (Sheriff Substitute Broun) in an arbitration under the Workmen’s Compensation Acts on the application of Mrs Janet Anderson or Devlin, widow of Peter Devlin, Auchinleck. The deceased workman was employed by the appellants as a pit bottomer, and sustained injuries which caused his death through being crushed by a descending cage which came down upon him while he was in the uncovered space at the shaft bottom. Access to the latter place was the subject of one of the general regulations. The arbitrator found that there was no proof that Devin was in the uncovered space for the purpose of and in connection with the employers’ trade or business, and that the presumption was that he was not. In the Second Division; Lord Anderson and Lord Ormidale, who formed the majority, were of opinion that the opinion upon the question of fact was unsupported by any evidence. The Lord Justice Clerk dissented, holding that there was ample evidence to support the conclusion which the Judge of first instance had reached. The colliery company appealed to the House of Lords. Viscount Dunedin, in moving that the appeal should be allowed, said the onus of proving that Devlin’s presence in the uncovered space was in contemplation and furtherance of his employers’ business was on the respondent, and what their Lordships had to say was whether the conclusion arrived at by the arbitrator was a conclusion which an reasonable man could have come to on the facts. It was not for their lordships to say what conclusion they themselves would have come to. He found it impossible to say that the arbitrator had come to a conclusion which no reasonable man could reach, and therefore he thought the arbitrator’s decision ought not to have been interfered with. Lord Shaw, in concurring, remarked that the House said until it was tired of saying, that the greatest deference must be paid to the arbitrator. It was too late in the day to suggest, that their Lordships could confront the facts as if they were the judges of them. Lords Sumner, Wrenbury, and Blanesburgh concurred, and the appeal was allowed. [Scotsman 28 July 1928]

31 March 1925

Miner Killed Near Irvine - As the result of an accident at Montgomery field Pit, Dreghorn, near Irvine, yesterday, a miner named William Toward was killed. Deceased was in charge of the washing machine at the pit, and while at work he fell among the machinery and sustained fatal injuries. [The Scotsman 1 April 1925]

6 December 1925

A fatal accident occurred yesterday in Kirkstyle Pit, Kilmarnock. While several miners were engaged in widening a haulage road, a fall took place from the roof, and William Gillies M'Kenna, 13 Fleming Street, Riccarton, was pinned under it, and instantaneously killed. Deceased was 31 years of age,, and has left a widow and two of a family. One of the other men, Francis Rodman, residing in Hill Street, Kilmarnock, was injured on both feet. He is a son of Alexander Rodman, pit foreman, one of the five men who were killed in an explosion of firedamp in the same pit in the early part of this year. [The Scotsman 7 December 1925]

1 March 1926

South Ayrshire Pit Fatality - An accident which terminated fatally took place in the Bargany Pit, near Dailly, belonging to the South Ayrshire Colliery (Limited), on Monday evening. John Tait, employed in repairing work, was struck by a hutch or tub, and was severely injured. He was brought with all speed to the surface and removed to the County Hospital where he expired after a few hours. The deceased was between forty and fifty years of age and leaves a widow and large family. [Scotsman 3 March 1926]

6 January 1927

Two Miners Killed – Ayrshire Accident - A pit accident, involving the deaths of two miners arid injuries to two others, occurred at Windyedge Pit, situated between Gatehead and Crosshouse, Ayrshire, early yesterday afternoon. Six men were engaged in clearing a fall which had occurred the previous night, when another fall took place. The roof was of freestone, and there was not the slightest warning of impending disaster. An enormously heavy fall occurred just where the men were working, and the middle four were buried under the debris. Volunteers at once rushed to the scene, but it was several hours before the rescue work was completed. John Gilmour, fifty-two years of age, residing in Douglas Street, Kilmarnock, and Robert Stewart, sixteen years, residing in M'Christie's Land, Crosshouse , were both killed. John Davidson and Daniel Coffey, both residing in High Street, Kilmarnock, sustained severe injuries, and were removed to Kilmarnock Infirmary. There is good hope of their recovery. John Fulton and Archie M'Christy, Crosshouse, had very narrow escapes. [Scotsman 7 January 1927]

30 March 1927

Miner Killed Near Irvine - A miner named Robert Sneddon, 21 years of age, was killed while at work yesterday in Oldhall pit. situated in Irvine parish. He left his home at 52 Townhead, Irvine, for the afternoon shift, and had just resumed work when he was struck by a stone from the roof. Deceased was married about a year ago. [Scotsman 31 March 1927]

15 April 1927

Dunaskin Miner Killed - Dunaskin, Saturday.- In No. 3 Pit, Pennyvenie, Dalmellington, yesterday, Thomas M'Cutcheon, brusher, was killed a fall from the roof. Deceased, who was 43 years of age, leaves a widow and two children. He resided at 66 Waterside, Dunaskin, and was very popular, being green keeper of the local bowling green and solo euphoniumist of Dunaskin Doon Brass Band. [Sunday Post 17 April 1927]

19 April 1927

Ayrshire Miner Killed - A miner named Alexander Duncan, who resided at Carsehill, Kilwinning, was accidentally killed while at work in the Lady Ha Pit, Kilwinning, yesterday. Deceased was engaged along with his brother in clearing away a fall when he was crushed by two large stones which unexpectedly came away from the roof. He succumbed shortly after being conveyed to the surface. [Scotsman 20 April 1927]

3 May 1927

Pit Accident Near Irvine - Andrew Robertson, jun., fourteen years of age, son of Andrew Robertson, Newhouse, Gailes, near Irvine, met with a serious accident while at work at Montgomeryfield Pit, Dreghorn, yesterday. It appears that he had been clearing out a number of waggons at the pithead, and it is thought that while in a waggon he was struck by the mechanical conveyor. He was terribly injured about the head and face, and was removed to Kilmarnock Infirmary. [Scotsman 4 May 1927]

3 June 1927

MINERS TRAPPED - ONE KILLED, ONE MISSING. - One miner was killed, one is still missing and two others escaped alive after the caving-in of the workings in No. 4 Sauchalland [sic] Colliery, Galston, on Friday. Hugh McTurk, of Sauchalland [sic] road, Galston, and Alex Walker, of Chapel-lane, Galston were trapped, but two others were able to extricate themselves. Frantic endeavours were made to get at the two men trapped but several hours work by rescuers resulted only in the recovery of Walker's body. So far no trace of McTurk has been found, but digging is being carried out with all expedition. One of the men who escaped sustained severe bruises and shock. [Hull Daily Mail 4 June 1927]

Hugh McTurk’s body was found on 6 June 1927

16 June 1927

William Barbour, miner, Burnside, was killed in Afton No. 1 Pit, belonging to the New Cumnock Collieries, Ltd., through a stone falling and pinning him down. When extricated life was extinct. [The Sunday Post 19 June 1927]

30 June 1927

Ayrshire Pit Fatality - Late on Thursday night, while Thomas Garrett (23), a "brusher," was working in the roads of the Killochan pit, near Dailly, belonging to South Ayrshire Collieries (Ltd.), a wall of coal fell, sandwiching him between the falling coal and a pillar of wood. He seemed to have been completely embedded in the debris, and it took his comrades fully an hour before they found him. He was carried to the cage at the outlet of the pit. Dr M'Inroy, Dailly, pronounced life extinct. Garrett leaves a wife and two children. [Scotsman 2 July 1927]

5 August 1927

Cumnock Man's Death - While working in the afternoon shift at Whitehill Colliery, Cumnock, on Thursday, Blair Dunsmuir (50), miner, Ayr Road, Cumnock, was struck by a falling stone and knocked into a moving coalcutter . He received terrible injuries to the back and arm, and was removed to the Bute Hospital, Cumnock. He died at two o 'clock yesterday morning . [Scotsman 6 August 1927]

16 August 1927

Miner Suffocated Near Irvine - While at work yesterday in Oldhall Pit, near Irvine, a miner, named William Muir, met his death by a fall of clay and timber. Some time elapsed before the rescuers could recover the body, and death was due to suffocation. Deceased was 23 years of age, and resided in Townhead Street, Irvine. He was to have been married next month. [Scotsman 17 August 1927]

30 September 1927

Ayrshire Miner Fatally Gassed - A miner, named John Paton, who resided at Back Main Street, Ayr, succumbed to the effects of gassing at Nos. 4 and 5 Glenburn Coal Mine, near Prestwick, yesterday. Paton was working along with another miner, Thomas Lucas, who resides at Whitletts, and both were involved. Other miners working in the pit at once rushed to the rescue as soon as they were apprised of the occurrence, and some of them, being members of the local miners' rescue brigade, administered the recognised treatment. In the case of Paton, it was, as stated, unsuccessful, but Lucas recovered and was able to proceed home. The rescuers ran considerable risk from the gas, which, it is surmised, was liberated by a fall from the roof. [Scotsman 1 October 1927]

15 September 1928

Ayrshire Pit Cage Fatality - A miner named Andrew Hood accidentally met his death on Saturday night at Montgomeryfield pit, near Irvine. Deceased was ascending the pit shaft in a double-decked cage after finishing his work, and on the cage arriving at the pit-head he was found dead, lying across the floor of the lower deck, his body having sustained very serious injury. Another miner, named Brown, who resides at Kilmaurs, was travelling on the top deck of the cage at the time, and while it was given out at first that he to injured in attempting to aid his comrade, is was later stated that Brown was suffering from shock at the tragic occurrence, and was convoyed home. It is believed that Hood met his death near the pit bottom. He was 44 years of age, resided at Springhill Cottages, Springside and is survived by a wife and family. [Scotsman 17 September 1928]

25 April 1929

Engine Overturns - Two Ayrshire Men Killed - Two workmen in the employment of the Dalmellington Iron Company were killed under somewhat extraordinary circumstances near the Company 's works at Waterside, South Ayrshire, yesterday afternoon.

The Company own two branches of railway lines which converge upon their premises and bring coal from Pennyvenie and Craigmark mines. It is not definitely established how the accident occurred, but it is believed that at a place known as the Cutler siding someone got down from the engine of a train, with the object of altering the points, and it is supposed that the man was not in time to do so. The train was conveying' the last consignment of coal for the day from Pennyvenie, the load being over 200 tons. From whatever cause, the engine toppled over, and John Ferguson, the driver , and a man named David M'Gill, who was on the engine at the time, were crushed and killed. Both men were married, and the former resided at Longrow, Waterside, while the latter lived on the Company's premises. M'Gill was a pitheadman employed at Beoch mine, and he was returning home after his day's work. [Scotsman 26 April 1929]

25 April 1929

Fatal Burning Accident in Ayrshire Mine - Three miners, one of whom, Edward Cathcart (29), 122 Lethanhill, South Ayrshire, has died in Ayr County Hospital, were involved in an accident which occurred in Pennyvenie Mine, Dalmellington, in the early hours of yesterday morning. There was, it is stated, an ignition of gas. Peter Fagan, brusher, and Robert Gillespie, miner, lie in Ayr County Hospital suffering from extensive burning injuries. [Scotsman 26 April 1929]

The Ayrshire Pit Explosion - Another Death - The death has occurred in Ayr County Hospital of Robert Gillespie (26), miner, 22 Burnfoothill, Waterside, who was involved in the explosion at No. 4 Pennyvenie Mine, Dalmellington. He is the second victim of the accident. It is curious that the two men who were thought to be least injured at the time have succumbed, while the other man, Peter Fagan, rescued from his working place after the explosion, and who ran a big risk of being suffocated, is still alive and under treatment in Ayr County Hospital. [Scotsman 29 April 1929]

31 May 1929

Fatally Injured on First Day at Work - Injured on his first day at work at Glenburn Colliery , Prestwick, a boy named William Connor, who resided at 159 Glenburn, Prestwick, died in Ayr County Hospital yesterday morning from the effect of being crushed between a trap door and a "rake" of hutches. [Scotsman 1 June 1929]

7 October 1929

Miners Seriously Injured - Serious accidents occurred at Maxwell Pit yesterday morning to two men employed by the South Ayrshire Collieries (1928) (Ltd.), six miles from Girvan. James Lunnie, aged 52, residing in Dailly, was engaged in coal getting at the face when a fall from the roof occurred and he was buried in the debris. On being extricated he was found to be suffering from lacerations of the head and face and very severe injuries to the back. The man was removed to Ayr County Hospital, where last night he was in a critical condition. His companion, James M'Knight, belonging to Crosshill, Ayrshire, received severe injuries to the chest. He was removed to his home where he is progressing favourably. M'Knight had been only a day or two working in the pit when the accident occurred. [Scotsman 8 October 1929]

15 October 1929

Ayr Pit Fatality - An accident which resulted in the death of Samuel M'Millan M'Leish (20) occurred in No. 2 Mossblown colliery, near Ayr, yesterday afternoon. M'Leish, who was employed as a clipper, was jammed between an iron girder and a hutch, and was so severely injured about the chest, several of his ribs being fractured, that he died almost immediately. He was the sole support of a widowed mother. [Scotsman 16 October 1929]

2 November 1929

Killed By A “Fall” - Edward M'Ghee (53), of 83 Mossblown, near Ayr, was killed on Saturday in No. 1 Auchincruive colliery, while at work with other two men at a coal-cutting machine, by the fall of a huge stone from the roof of his working place. His companions could not remove the stone, and when they procured assistance and got M'Ghee out he was found to be dead. He leaves a widow and family of four. [Scotsman 4 November 1929]

7 November 1929

Miner Killed at New Cumnock - While Robert Wilson, a married man and residing at Stepheads Road, Connel Park, was engaged at his work as a miner in Knockshinnock Mine, belonging to the New Cumnock Collieries (Ltd.), he was struck by a large stone which fell from the roof and killed him instantaneously. [Scotsman 9 November 1929]

28 November 1929

Pony Driver Killed - William Murray (19), a pony driver who resided in James Street, Tarbolton, was killed in Mossblown No. 1 Colliery yesterday, while in the course of his work. He was crushed by a runaway rake of hutches. [Scotsman 29 November 1929]

15 December 1929

Archibald McDonald Freeburn, 31 died 17th December
John Cockburn, 34, died 18th December
John Whiteford Breckney, 24, died 19th December

Explosion in Pit - Fifteen Men Burned - Fifteen miners working in No. 2 Bank pit of the New Cumnock Coal Company, Ayrshire, received burns as the result of an explosion of gas at midnight on Sunday. The two most seriously burned are W. Freeburn and J. Cockburn, both of New Cumnock. They are in a critical condition in Kilmarnock Infirmary.

When the explosion occurred a flaming blast of gas swept without warning through the pit and although the accident happened shortly after midnight no one was aware that anything was wrong until the morning shift descended yesterday to start work. The men were then found, all more or less overcome by the effect of the gas. [Scotsman 17 December 1929]

Fatal Result of Explosion - In connection with the New Cumnock pit explosion , Alex. Freeburn, one of the men who was removed to Kilmarnock Infirmary, has succumbed to his injuries. John Breckney, the second man injured, was removed to hospital yesterday afternoon . The others are progressing favourably. [Scotsman 18 December 1929]

Ayrshire Pit Explosion - Death-Roll Now Three - John Brecknay, one of the men injured in the explosion in the Bank pit, New Cumnock, died yesterday in Kilmarnock Hospital. Two of the other injured men have died. Brecknay was married six months ago. [Scotsman 21 December 1929]

18 September 1930

Pit Accident At Cumnock - Thomas Woods, machineman, Highhouse Rows, Auchinleck, met with an accident in Barony Colliery early yesterday morning. He was caught by the picks of a coal-cutting machine, and one of his legs severed. He was removed to Ayr County Hospital, where an operation was performed , and it was found necessary to amputate his other leg. [Scotsman 19 September 1930]

23 October 1930

Court of Session – Outer House (Before Lord Fleming) - Damages for Ayrshire Miner's Death - A settlement has been reached in an action which was down for jury trial, in which Mrs Jean Smith or Aird, widow, residing in Riccarton Road Hurlford. Ayrshire, sued Dallars Coal Company (Ltd.), Hurlford, for £1000 as damages in respect of the death of her son Gilbert. The pursuer stated that her son, who was employed by the defenders, was fatally injured on October last by being struck by a runaway hutch. She averred that the chain which broke was defective in design and condition. The defenders stated that the toggle chain in use at the time was of the ordinary type, and it and the other tackle had been properly inspected. For the purposes of the action they admitted liability, but pleaded that the sum sued for was excessive. In terms of the settlement the pursuer receive £450 and expenses. [Scotsman 11 July 1931]

11 December 1930

Ayrshire Pit Mishap - Workers Seriously Injured - Women Rush To The Pithead -
Shortly after the commencement of the day shift at No . 9.pit , Enterkine Colliery, Annbank, yesterday, an alarming accident occurred in the Ell coal section, involving serious injuries to six workers, all of whom were removed to Ayr County Hospital. The injured are: - James Roddick, Annbank (single); John Wilson, Mossblown (single); Robert White, Drumley (married); Daniel Vance jun., Annbank (single); And. M'Nellie, Tarbolton (single); John Gourlay, Annbank (married).

All the injured suffer from burns and shock, and in addition M'Nellie sustained a fractured leg and Wilson a fractured arm. There were 20 men engaged in the particular section at the time and it is stated, although not definitely established, that an explosion occurred through the firing of a shot, although the official view is that the accident was caused by an ignition of gas. M'Nellie, engaged as a drawer, suffered severely from the concussion, being pinned beneath a damaged hutch, and from this perilous position he was later released. Immediately the seriousness of the accident was realised men at work in the other section were apprised, and all of them proceeded to the rescue of their comrades, who were removed to the pithead with all promptitude. Meanwhile information had been conveyed above ground, and while Dr Walter Scott descended the pit and rendered first aid to the injured, Dr M'Gill and a nurse attended to them in the ambulance room.

Wildest Rumours - Unfortunately for the peace of mind of the inhabitants of Annbank village, situated about a quarter of a mile away, the wildest rumours gained currency as to the extent of the accident, a casualty list of serious dimensions being mentioned . The result was that the women folks, many of them engaged at that time preparing the children for school, flocked to the pithead, where distressing scenes were witnessed amid the dismal surroundings, rendered all the more grey and forbidding by the darkness of the morning and the rain. It was not until the injured had been brought to the surface and assurances were forthcoming that there were no fatalities that the crowd dissolved. At the time of the accident Mr Jas. Allan was in the haulage about 200 yards off. In the course of the morning and not long after the accident Mr David Ritchie, general manager of the group of collieries descended the pit; as did Mr Tweedie, the managing director; Mr John Davy, under general manager; and Mr R. L. Angus, director of Messrs William Baird & Company. Mr Jas. Brown, M.P. was at the pithead early and later visited the injured in hospital. After the accident the colliery ceased to work for the day. The pit is a very old one having been worked for over 40 years. During the recent misunderstanding it was idle for one week, and operations work only resumed on Monday.

Two benchers employed in the pit had an exciting experience when the explosion occurred. They were awaiting a rake of hutches when one of them named Fillan was blown to the ground, and John Vance was thrown on top of him. Fillan stated that someone shouted to him to run for help and he and his companion did so and returned to the scene of the accident but were driven back by bad air. A man named Thomas Adair, however, managed to reach the face and brought out Wilson, one of the injured, whose face was covered with blood and one of his arms hung limp. On inquiring last night at the hospital it was ascertained that Wilson's injured arm had been amputated. All the victims last night were as comfortable as could be expected under the circumstances. [Scotsman 12 December 1930]

21 March 1931

Irvine Man Dies At Work - On Saturday, a young married man named Archibald Cook, who resided at Montgomery Street, Irvine, was found dead beside an electric haulage machine in Oldhall pit. He had a few minutes before lowered a rake of hutches to the pit bottom but suspicion that something was amiss was aroused when no heed was paid to another signal to draw away a loaded rake, and inquiry was made. Death was due to heart failure. [Scotsman 23 March 1931]

6 November 1931

Miner Fatally Injured - Thomas Bowman (29), a miner, who resided at Old Offices, Annbank was fatally injured in No. 9 Pit, Annbank. The accident occurred shortly after the shift had commenced, the unfortunate man being crushed between two hutches. He leaves a widow and four children. [Scotsman 9 November 1931]

21 December 1931

Miner Killed By Fall From Roof - William Black (21), a miner, who resided in the Toll House, Mossblown, near Ayr, was killed on Monday night in Drumley Colliery by a fall from the roof. He had only commenced work a few minutes before the accident occurred. Black was a well known junior footballer, and played with Mossblown Thistle. He was a son of Mr Wm. Black, who played for Ayr Parkhouse, and at a later date for Ayr United. [Scotsman 23 December 1931]

1 April 1933

Dailly Miner Killed In Pit - While working at the coal face in the Maxwell Pit, belonging to the South Ayrshire Collieries, Dailly, on Saturday, Joseph Lunnie, miner, was instantaneously killed by the fall of a large stone. His brother Robert, who was working alongside him, received slight injuries. Lunnie was 26 years of age and unmarried. He resided with his parents, Mr and Mrs Robert Lunnie, at Kilgrammie Hill, Dailly. [Scotsman 3 April 1933]

3 August 1933

Ayrshire Pit Fatality - Fred Hopes (32), a miner, who had been employed at Mossblown Colliery, near Ayr, for some time, was killed by a fall of stone in the big haulage section of No. 1 pit yesterday afternoon. [Scotsman 4 August 1933]

21 February 1934

Ayrshire Pit Fatality - Injured by a fall in No. 3 Pennyvenie pit, Dalmellington, Wm. M'Connachie (47), who resided at 138 Lethanhill, was removed to Ayr County Hospital, where he died yesterday morning, shortly after admission. [Scotsman 22 February 1934]

16 March 1934

South Ayrshire Pit Fatality - Daniel Wilson (22), who resided with his widowed mother at Bridgend, Patna, Ayrshire, was accidentally killed by a fall from the roof:in the Littlemill Colliery, South Ayrshire, on Wednesday evening. The young man's father met his death in somewhat similar circumstances in an adjoining pit over eight years ago. [Scotsman 16 March 1934]

25 January 1935

Died In Ambulance - Douglas Kerr (18), son of Hugh Kerr, Burnton, died in the ambulance from injuries sustained in No. 2 Pit, Pennyvenie Colliery, while being conveyed to Ayr County Hospital. [Sunday Post 27 January 1935]

8 August 1935

Two Miners Dead - Overcome By Gas In Ayrshire Colliery- Two men were fatally gassed in Highhouse Colliery, Auchinleck, Ayrshire, owned by Messrs Baird & Dalmellington, early yesterday . They were Stewart Strachan, aged 46, and Peter M'Cartney, aged 33, both belonging to the little village of Cronberry, near Cumnock. Jack Johnstone, Whitletts, Ayr, who was also overcome, was revived and taken to Ayr County Hospital. Artificial respiration was also tried on Strachan and M'Cartney. There were five men in the area affected. William Guthrie, Herdston Place, Cumnock, one of the five, stated in an interview that Strachan left his companions to go up the brae for something he had left. As he failed to return, Johnstone followed, but had not gone far when he was affected by fumes, and shouted to M'Cartney. Johnstone, on M'Cartney reaching him, suggested he should carry on as far as he could in Strachan's direction, but come back whenever he felt the gas getting the better of him. M'Cartney, true to the traditional heroism of the mine, hurried on up the brae to what proved to be his death. Guthrie, now thoroughly alarmed, set out after M'Cartney, but had not gone far when his lamp went out, indicating that gas had accumulated to a dangerous extent. Quite giddy from the effects of the gas, he shouted a warning to William Cameron, Catrine, the wireman in the section, who phoned for the rescue brigade. Mr Herbert Lorimer, colliery manager, who led the rescue brigade, entered the affected area, and, though almost overcome himself, dragged Johnstone to safety. George Bryan, Cumnock, managed to reach M'Cartney, but was so affected by the fumes that he could not stoop to lift him, and had to shout to the brigade to haul him to a place of safety. Dr M'Queen and Dr Campbell, Cumnock, descended the pit and attended to the affected men. M'Cartney was unmarried, but Strachan leaves a widow and a grown-up son and daughter. His son, John Strachan, is also employed in Highhouse Colliery, but he was not in the colliery at the time of his father's death. [Scotsman 9 August 1935]

Pit Tragedy Recalled – Miners' Heroism Recognised – Ceremony At Colliery - An impressive ceremony took place at Highhouse Colliery, Auchinleck, yesterday afternoon when six certificates and cheques from the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust were awarded to the men associated with the rescue work at the fatal accident in Highhouse Colliery on August 8 last. The ceremony was held in the colliery yard and the backshift was delayed to enable fellow workers to be present Mr David L. M'Cardel, general manager of Bairds & Dalmellington (Ltd.), the owners of the colliery who presided briefly recalled the tragedy, the victims of which were Stuart Strachan and Peter M'Cartney, both of Cronberry , who died from suffocation. Mr M'Cardel said that all concerned with colliery work knew that when accidents occurred there was no scarcity of men whose one urge was to help those affected without consideration of risk to themselves. Often the courage and selflessness displayed on such occasions were revealed only to a few, but the accident they had in mind that day and the self-sacrifices made had become widely known and reached the ears of the Carnegie Hero-Fund Trust who had most fittingly decided to grant the awards that it was their privilege to present that day. Mr George M'Turk, miners' agent, Cumnock, said he was glad that the Carnegie Hero Fund should recognise the supreme sacrifice made, particularly by young Peter M'Cartney, who, heedless of his own life, had given it freely in an attempt to save a stricken comrade. There was nothing outstanding in the accident of August 8. As a practical miner of 30 years' standing he had witnessed many a tragedy of a similar nature, but the public recognition of the heroism displayed on that day made the present occasion a unique one. Mr M'Turk then handed over certificates and cheques to William Guthrie, Cumnock; George Bryan, Auchinleck; John Johnstone, Ayr; and William G. Cooper, Auchinleck. Mr M'Cardel stated that a cheque and certificate had previously been forwarded to Mr Herbert Lorimer of Auchinleck, and that along with Mr M'Turk and Mr William Macintyre of Cronberry School, he would visit Mrs M'Cartney and present to her a cheque and memorial certificate granted posthumously to her son. [Scotsman 31 December 1935]

29 August 1935

Auchinleck Colliery Fatality - Robert Scott (63), Brick Row, Lugar, Ayrshire , was instantaneously killed at Highhouse Colliery, Auchinleck, last night when overtaken by a runaway rake of hutches in one of the steepest dooks in the colliery. He was employed as a roadsman in the colliery, and had resumed work only a few days ago after having been unemployed for a time. He was a prominent worker in the local Orange Lodge, and was steward in the Craigston Lodge of Free Gardeners. He is survived by his widow and a grown-up family. [Scotsman 30 August 1935]

24 September 1935

A fatal accident occurred yesterday in Beoch Mine, New Cumnock; belonging to Bairds & Dalmellington (Ltd.) George M'Cabe, a brushing contractor, was caught by a fall from the roof, and was fatally injured. He belonged to Ballochmyle, Ayrshire. [Scotsman 25 September 1935]

11 October 1935

CUMNOCK MINER KILLED - James Latta (21), miner, Barrhill Road, Cumnock, while working in Highhouse Colliery, Auchinleck, was killed when his head struck the roof of the haulage road. [The Sunday Post 13 October 1935]

14 October 1935

Dailly Miner Killed In Pit - Thomas Laverty, Maxwell View, Dailly, Ayrshire, was .killed at the Maxwell Pit, Dailly, yesterday. Employed as a chain runner, Laverty was working on a haulage road, and his workmates became alarmed at his non-appearance and went in search of him. They found him lying on the haulage road with his head underneath a large stone. Death appears to have been instantaneous. Laverty leaves a widow and two children. He was 26 years of age. [Scotsman 15 October 1935]

13 April 1936

Kilmarnock Man Killed - A fatal accident occurred yesterday in Kirkstyle Pit, Kilmarnock, owned by the Portland Colliery Company (Ltd.) Francis Rodman, while following his duties as a roadsman in the main haulage road, was knocked down by a rake of hutches. No one saw the accident happen and Rodman was dead when found. Rodman who lived at 41 Montgomery Street, Kilmarnock, was 36 years of age and has left a widow. [Scotsman 14 April 1936]

16 July 1936

Miner Killed At Auchinleck - John Graham, who resided at Trabboch, Tarbolton, was killed at the Barony Colliery, Auchinleck, on Thursday night. He was engaged in repair work in No. 1 Pit when a large stone weighing several tons fell from the roof, killing him instantaneously. It was several hours before the body could be extricated. He leaves a wife and young family. [Scotsman 18 July 1936]

21 August 1936

A miner, James Blane, was killed, and his son and another man were seriously injured by a fall of roof in Pennyvenie Pit, Dalmellington, Ayrshire, yesterday. [The Times 22 August 1936]

4 September 1936

Youth Killed In Pit - Robert Wilson, aged 18, of 37 School Road, Auchinleck, was fatally injured yesterday in the South Rising No. 1 Barony Colliery, Auchinleck. He was struck on the head by a rake of loaded hutches, which crushed him against a girder. He was removed to the Bute Hospital, Cumnock, but died a few hours after admission. [Scotsman 5 September 1936]

27 November 1936

Robert Parker, aged 20, a pithead worker, of Main Street, Dreghorn, near Irvine, has died in Kilmarnock Infirmary from injuries received on Friday at Montgomeryfield Colliery , where he was employed. He was attending to the conveyers of the coal-washing plant when his left leg was caught in one of the conveyers, and his foot was torn off [Scotsman 30 November 1936]

4 February 1938

Pit Fatality - James Lopez, jun., miner, residing at Store Row, Connel Park, New Cumnock, was fatally injured in an accident at his work yesterday in Bank No. 1 Pit of the New Cumnock Collieries, Ltd. [Scotsman 5 February 1938]

25 March 1938

William Smith (25) miner, 5 Lendal Quadrant, Girvan, lost his life in an accident in the Maxwell Pit, near Dailly, yesterday. Smith was working at the coal face when, he was struck by a heavy fall of stone. [Scotsman 26 March 1938]

20 April 1938

Five Miners Dead and 21 Injured - Runaway Hutches In Ayrshire Pit - Rope Breaks as Men Near the Surface - Tangled Mass of Wreckage at Foot - Five miners are dead and 21 injured as the result of an accident yesterday afternoon at Bank No. 6 Mine, Craigbank, New Cumnock, Ayrshire. A number of hutches in which men were being brought to the surface broke away from the haulage rope near the summit of the incline, and crashed in a tangled heap of wreckage after careering down the mine for about a quarter of a mile. One of the dead was a 14-year-old youth who had been only a few days at work in the pit. Three of the others were married. Two of the miners escaped death or serious injury by jumping from a hutch and clinging to overhead rafters. One man was actually walking up the roadway, to be taken by the next "lift" of hutches, when he was struck and killed. A companion escaped with minor injuries.
The dead were:-
Robert Murray, jun. (37), married. The Rows, Burnside;
John Mackie (27), married, Stable Row, Craigbank;
Joseph Walls (14), 78 Connel Park;
Robert Milligan (32). married, Connel Park, who died at the pithead; and
James Crozier, South Western Road, who died in hospital at midnight.
All of them resided in New Cumnock.

Detained In Hospital - The following 13 men were detained at Ayr County Hospital and Kilmarnock Infirmary:-
James Houston, Pathhead: Thomas Begg. Rigfoot Cottage, Burnside: Mungo Whiteford, South Western Road, Craigbank; William Sanderson, The Legate; William Mackie, Stable Row, Craigbank; Alexander Crozier. 9 Stable Row; Charles Brown, 59 Burnfoot; James Jackson, 88 Connel Park; John Mackie, Store Row, Connel Park; Alexander Walker, 16 South Western Road; William Ferguson (23) 5 Stable Row: Thomas Hunter (18) 33 South Western Road; Andrew Robertson (18), 37 Bank Brae Craigbank - all of New Cumnock.

It was learned on inquiry early this morning that Whiteford. John Mackie, and Sanderson were critically ill. Another eight men who were less seriously injured were able to go home after treatment. There were 28 men in seven hutches, and only two escaped injury.

Seven Hutches Each With Four Men - The accident occurred during the afternoon at a time when a number of miners were waiting at the bottom of the pit road, about 500 fathoms down the incline from the surface to come off duty. The means of ascent for seven hutches or tubs to be drawn to the surface by a haulage rope operated from the engine-house at the pit.
Each hutch held four men, and when the train was nearing the surface the haulage rope broke and the tubs ran down the incline for about a quarter of a mile before crashing in a heap at the bottom. Workmates awaiting their turn to be drawn up heard the crash, and on dashing along the roadway came upon a mass of tangled wreckage, with the men pinned underneath. Three men of the shift, on finding the train full, had decided to walk, and they were in the path of the runaway hutches. Hearing the rattle of the wheels, two of them jumped into a manhole, but the third man, Robert Murray, was too late, and was struck and killed.

Rescue Work - When the rope broke, it was realised at the pithead that the hutches had broken away, and rescue parties were immediately formed and sent down the roadway. They met the other men from the pit bottom, and steps were immediately taken to extricate their comrades. As each of the injured men was taken from the wreckage, first aid was administered on the roadway by doctors who had been summoned. Squads of helpers took the miners to the surface, and the more seriously injured were carried up the road on improvised stretchers. Ambulance waggons and nurses from Ayr and Kilmarnock were waiting at the top to take them to hospital.  When the rescue parties descended, they met Robert Ferrans and James Brown, the two men who had jumped from a hutch as it was racing down the roadway and clung to the overhead rafters. Ferrans said that he was in one of the middle hutches when he felt it shudder. He sensed that something was wrong, and jumping to his feet, he caught hold of a girder above him. On glancing down, he saw the hutches disappearing at a great speed down the slope. When he scrambled down the haulage way to the assistance of his workmates, he found that Brown had escaped in a similar manner.

Efforts To Avert Accident - Desperate efforts made by some of the miners to grasp the overhead water pipes when they realised that the runaway hutches were certain to crash were described to a reporter by James Collins, South Western Road, Craigbank. He said that he was travelling in the same hutch as the lad Walls, and everything went normally until they reached about 100 fathoms from the surface. Then the train of hutches slowed down and stopped. The safety catches clicked on the sleepers, but the next second the hutches were moving backwards. Some of the men grasped at the water pipes to try to stop the hutches, but it was useless, and the hutches started to race downhill. "I put one leg under the seat," said Collins, "and the other over Walls in an effort to protect him. Then came the crash. I was stunned, and when I came to my left arm was aching. We were scattered about in a heap, and it was a minute or two before I saw the boy. He was dead."   James Lee, Stable Row; Craigbank. who was travelling in the fifth hutch, said the steel rope reacted on them like a whip when it broke. Some of the men who tried to catch the water pipes were struck on the head and thrown back on their seats. The crash all happened within a few seconds. He was thrown clear, and then went to rescue his mates.

Hutches Piled on Top of One Another - A doctor who answered the summons sent out for medical assistance said: "It was a terrible sight which met my eyes when 1 reached the scene. The hutches were piled on top of one another, and we had considerable difficulty in extricating the injured. Four doctors and five nurses and myself attended the injured until the arrival of ambulances."  When news of the accident reached New Cumnock, women left their household tasks to go to the pithead where they made anxious inquiries for husbands and sons who had been working during the shift. An inquiry into the accident is being made by H.M. Inspector of Mines.  About 200 men are employed at the colliery, which is owned by New Cumnock Collieries, Ltd.

Official Statement - The following official statement was issued last night:- "The directors of New Cumnock Collieries regret to announce that through an accident at Bank No 6 Mine at 2.30 p.m. four men were killed and 15 injured. The directors wish to express their deep sympathy with the relatives of all those concerned in this accident.  They also wish to express their thanks to all who gave help in this emergency, and especially to the doctors and nurses who came so readily and rendered such valuable assistance." 

There has been one previous serious mine accident this year, and that also took place in Scotland. Nine men lost their lives when fire broke out in the Kelly section of the Dumbreck No. 1 Colliery, near Kilsyth, in January. [Scotsman 21 April 1938]

21 June 1938

Shot-Firer Succumbs to Burning Injuries - In the early hours of yesterday morning, John Fleming (43), Craigston Holm, Lugar, died in Ayr County Hospital as the result of burning injuries sustained the previous day during his employment as shot-firer in Cronberry Moor Pit, Lugar. Fleming had lit the fuse prior to firing a shot, and it is presumed that a spark from the fuse set fire to his clothing. He was extensively burned about the lower part of the body. He leaves a widow and two children. [Scotsman 22 June 1938]

Heroism In Pit - Men Go to Rescue Despite Explosion Warning - Ayrshire Accident -
A dramatic story of valour in an Ayrshire colliery accident was revealed to Sheriff Menzies, and a jury in Ayr Sheriff Court yesterday, when an inquiry was conducted into the death of a miner. The victim of the accident was John Fleming (43), colliery repairer, 17 Craigstonholm Row, Lugar, Ayrshire. Working in Cronberry Moor Pit, Fleming, had his clothing set on fire from a spark from a flue. Although he must have been suffering intense pain, he had the presence of mind to warn workmates who went to his aid that he had lighted a fuse which had not exploded. Despite the warning, three of his colleagues remained by him. They stripped off his clothes, and began to lead him away. They had gone only a few feet when the fuse exploded. Fortunately, none of the men were injured. Fleming, however, died in hospital on the following day, as a result of the burns. The three workmates who went to his assistance were- John Stark (36), 442 Brick Row, Lugar; Michael Murray M'Cormick (24), 118 Peesweep Row, Lugar, and James Climie, jun. (37), 400 Brick Row, Lugar. In Court, Mr George Hoyle. Glasgow, H.M. Inspector of Mines for the West of Scotland, expressed his appreciation of the action of deceased and his colleagues, as also did the Sheriff. The jury, added a rider to their formal verdict commending the action of all the miners concerned. [Scotsman 23 July 1938]

25 August 1938

William Wallace, aged 41, who resided c/o Henry Walters, 33 Cairntable, Patna, was killed by a fall in Littlemill Colliery, Rankinston, early yesterday morning. [Scotsman 26 August 1938]

3 October 1938

Pit Fatality - Alexander Ford, oversman, was fatally injured in an accident in Afton No. 1 Pit, New Cumnock. He resided at Burnside Village. [Scotsman 4 October 1938]

9 December 1938

Three Men Killed - Explosion in Ayrshire Mine - A Number Injured - Three miners were killed and five were injured as the result of an explosion last night in the Littlemill Colliery (Ayrshire), belonging to Bairds & Dalmellington, Ltd. The colliery, which is situated about eight miles from Ayr, employs between 100 and 200 men. The explosion is believed to have occurred underground shortly before nine o'clock. The names of the dead are:- John Leslie, sen. (55), 6 Littlehill Place, Rankinston; James Graham (45), Kerse Terrace, Rankinston ; and William Brown (28), Kerse Terrace, Rankinston.

The names of the injured are:- John Leslie, jun. (24), son of John Leslie, 6 Littlemill Place; William Ferguson (23), son-in-law of John Leslie, Burnfoothill; Joseph Kirkland (28), Kerse Terrace; Rankinston; Robert Kerr (18), Kerse Terrace; Robert Howitson (25), Station Row, Rankinston. [Scotsman 10 December 1938]

Ayrshire Pit Accident - A Death-Roll of Four - Five Men In Hospital - The death-roll in the accident which occurred at the Littlemill Colliery, Rankinston, Ayrshire, on Friday night, was raised to four by the death in Ayr County Hospital on Saturday, of Robert Howatson (25), Station Row, Rankinston. Five injured men are still in the hospital, and their condition is stated to be fairly comfortable. About 16 men were working at a face in the Ashentree main coal section when there was a terrific explosion which threw them in all directions, overturning hutches and wrecking gear in the vicinity. The noise of the explosion brought other workers hurrying to the rescue and immediately a warning was sent to the pithead. Within a few minutes a telephone call was put through to the village, and an appeal for volunteers drew most of the male population of Rankinston and the neighbouring hamlet of Cairntable to the pithead. Howatson was rescued by his comrades, who formed a human chain, and in this way had the injured man brought to a place of safety. [Scotsman 12 December 1938]

Victims of Ayrshire Pit Accident - Funeral to Coylton Churchyard - The funeral of the four victims of the Littlemill Colliery accident took place to Coylton Churchyard yesterday afternoon, when miners were present from all parts of Ayrshire. The place of burial is seven miles from the homes of the deceased, all of whom resided at Rankinston. The main street of the village was lined with men, women, and children as the coffins containing the remains of the deceased - John Leslie, sen., James Graham, William Graham,William Brown, and Robert Howatson - were carried to the mission hall, where a service was conducted by the Rev. A. E. Hart, minister of Coylton. The Rev. J. W. M'Gowan, Patna, represented the British Legion. In the gathering gloom the cortege reached the place of interment, where another large crowd of mourners had assembled. Mr Hart, Mr James Otterson representing the Schaw Kirk, and Mr Kennedy, evangelist,Dalry, officiated at the gravesides. A Union Jack draped the coffin of Graham, who fought with the Royal Scots Fusiliers in the Great War. Among the mourners were Mr James Mullen, president, of the Ayrshire Miners' Union; Mr James Barbour, vice-president of the Scottish Mineworkers' Federation; Mr Alexander Sloan, Rankinston, Scottish secretary; Mr. Edward Hawke, Scottish treasurer; Mr. Alex. Wilson, of the Lanarkshire Miners' Union; Mr James Tweedie, managing director of Messrs Bairds &, Dalmellington, owners of Littlemill Colliery; Mr Thomas Somerville, under manager of the colliery; and Mr John Reid, under manager. [Scotsman 13 December 1938]

27 July 1939

Miners Seriously Burned - Three miners were seriously burned yesterday in the Dam Mine, near Irvine, as the result of an explosion. The injured men are:- Andrew Haggerty, of Springside, Kilmarnock; Thomas Kelty, of Gatehead. near Kilmarnock; and John Sharp ,of Townholm, Kilmarnock. Following the accident the remainder of the shift left off work for the day. [Scotsman 28 July 1939]

Two Miners Dead - Explosion in Ayrshire Pit – Burning Injuries - An explosion which occurred on Thursday in the Dam Mine, near Irvine, has resulted in the death of two miners, Three men were severely burned, and two of them, John Sharp, 29 Harriet Road, Townholm, Kilmarnock, and Andrew Haggerty, 19 Kirkland Terrace, Springside, near Irvine, succumbed to their injuries in Kilmarnock Infirmary yesterday. The third man, Thomas Kiltie, 7 Knockinview, Gatehead, remains in much the same condition as when he was admitted to the Infirmary. The explosion occurred at the coal face in a small section of Shewalton No. 7 Pit, belonging to A. Kenneth & Sons. It is a mine driven from the surface, and the men walked to their working places. The accident occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning when the night shift men were on duty. The three injured men received the full blast of the explosion and sustained severe burning injuries. Their workmates in the mine immediately went to their assistance and helped them to the surface. The remainder of the men in the pit ceased work for the rest of the shift, but the working of the colliery was not affected, and the day shift men were there to take up duty as usual. [Scotsman 29 July 1939]

17 October 1940

AYRSHIRE PIT FATALITY.—While working at the coal face in the Maxwell Mine, Dailly, Ayrshire, yesterday, Thomas M'Millan (34), miner, Main Street, Dailly, was struck by a heavy stone, and received severe injuries to his head and back, which proved fatal. [Scotsman 18 October 1940]

15 February 1941

Ayrshire Pit Explosion - Manager and Under-Manager Dead - As a result of an explosion in Bank No. 6 mine, New Cumnock, on Saturday, Charles Hynd, manager, residing at Seaforth, and William Crombie, under-manager, residing at Glenpark, lost their lives. A fireman, John Orr, residing at Burnside, sustained severe injuries, and was conveyed to Kilmarnock Infirmary. Other workers in the section escaped with minor injuries. [Scotsman 17 February 1941]