Scottish Mining Website

Fatal Accidents 1926
This list contains some information from the Inspectors of Mines report for this year. This report does not detail all accidents during the year and does not give any names. We have attempted to identify the names of those killed but most as as yet unidentified. We welcome information on deaths not listed on this page - please complete a submission form   If the name of the pit is not stated in records, we have recorded this as NK with the miner's usual residence added as an approximate indicator of area

Statistics from the Report of the HM Inspector of Mines for 1926 - Scottish Division
Total 86 accidents resulting in 88 deaths
Explosions of firedamp or coal dust – 3 accidents/3 deaths
Falls of side – 7 accidents/ 7 deaths
Falls of roof – 34 accidents/ 34 deaths
Shaft accidents – 2 accidents/ 2 deaths
Underground haulage accidents – 12 accidents/ 12 deaths
Misc. Underground accident – 13 accidents/ 15 deaths
On surface: on railways, sidings, or tramways – 3 accidents/ 3 deaths
On surface: elsewhere – 11 accidents/ 11 deaths
Metalliferous Mines – 1 fatal accident

Currently this page lists 82 fatalities
This page contains fatalities sourced from the Registers/Indexes of Fatal Accident Inquiries.  These records do not list the date of death, only the date of the FAI records.  Dates of death will be added when time and finances permit, meantime undated records from this source are highlighted with a blue background at the foot of the main table
Year MonthDayCollieryForenameSurname Extra Information/Sources (Including information from Inspectors report where available)
1926 January 6 Mary Colliery Patrick Oliver Crushed by waggon 9 Dec 1925 - article in Dunfermline Journal 13 Mar 1926 - not yet transcribed
1926 January 15 Bothwell Park Colliery Martin Russell Register of FAI - crushed against the side of the haulage road by a rake of runaway hutches
1926January20Donibristle No 15 CollieryWilliamSkinnerNewspaper report - Beath pages

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Roof fall

At Donibristle No. 15 Colliery, Fife, repairs were being carried out at the junction of two roads when the carrying crown broke and seven other crown trees resting on it (with some broken material above) fell and one of the repairers was injured fatally. The working of an adjacent seam had brought a crush on the place and there were some grounds for believing that tubs had disturbed the props supporting the carrying crown tree. An ample supply of temporary props should have been set in the first instance, but at no junction should a main carrying crown tree rest on props, for sooner or later tubs get off the rails at the curve and strike the props. Steel girders should be used as carrying crowns and they should rest on pillars, not on props.
1926 January 20 Robroyston Colliery William Miller NAS FAI (natural causes)
1926January21Kippsbyre CollieryWilliamMitchell Newspaper report - New Monkland pages

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Roof fall

At Kippsbyre Colliery, Lanark,a brushing shot had been fired in a road in a longwall working and the brusher was stowing the material into the packs when a stone fell from between two roof breaks 3ft. 6 in. apart running parallel to the coal face, the side of the brushing forming a loose end to the stone. Before the shot a row of breaker props with lids had been set along the side of the brushing but some of these props had been removed after the shot had been fired to give room for casting the dirt into the waste. If, when timbering for the shot, a strap had been set on each side of the roadway parallel to the edge of it, then the props which required to be removed could have been taken away without disturbing the strap, or the main support of the roof.
1926 January 31 Garscube Colliery James Tait Register of FAI - explosion of gas while he was carrying a naked light
1926February2Mary CollieryPeterKingNewspaper report - Ballingry pages

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
On surface

One of the other surface accidents classed as "Miscellaneous" is worth notice. It occurred at Lochore Colliery, No. 2 Pit, Fife, where naphtha instead of paraffin oil was being used by two fitters to clean dirt from a bearing in a closed gear-case at an electric winder, when, on one of the two fitters striking a match to view the bearing, an explosion took place which burst the case, killed one of the men and injured the other and the winding engineman.
1926 February 2 Easthouses Colliery James Knight NAS FAI & death cert.
1926February2Glencraig CollieryAndrewGuthrieNewspaper report - Ballingry pages
1926February7Policy CollieryWm.BryceNewspaper report - Stirlingshire pages

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:

At Policy Colliery, Stirling, two pavement brushing shots had been charged with gelignite, detonator and fuse. The miner attempted to light one while the fireman lit the other. They retired to a place of refuge. Hearing one shot, they returned to the place and when they were close to the face the second shot exploded and so injured the miner that he died next day. It cannot be said strongly enough that once a flame has been applied to a fuse, whether the fuse catches light visibly or does not and the person has had to retire, the shot, unless it explodes the calculated time, must be treated as a missfire. There was a High Court of Justiciary decision to this effect in 1922.
1926February8BirkhillPeterWolfe [AKA Baltrus Wilkas] Newspaper report - New Monkland pages
1926February9FrancesJamesForsythNewspaper report - Fife pages
1926February12NK(Livingston village area shale mine)JohnBrown (AKA Martin)Death certificate and FAI notice
1926February13NewcraighallSamuel StrachanDowieDeath certificate and FAI notice
1926February16Valleyfield CollieryWilliamFitzsimmonsNewspaper report - Fife pages

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Suffocation by natural gases

At Valleyfield Colliery, Fife, a roadman was sent with a message into a district with which he was familiar. He was missed and after a search was found to have tried to take a short cut (through a fence) by a small air hole 1 ft. by 1 ft. 6 in., and stuck fast in it. This place was assisting to keep the high percentage of firedamp down in a heading which was not being worked, and it may well have been that when he blocked the airway the gas came down about his face and choked him before he could wriggle himself clear.
1926 February 19 Blair Mine, Carnock Walter Robertson Septicaemia after hand injury on 6 Feb - article in Dunfermline Journal 13 Mar 1926 - not yet transcribed
1926February26Craigend CollieryWilliamHunterNewspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1926February26PolmaiseCharles CameronRobbNewspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1926February26Rosehall CollieryAlexanderPowerFAI record – NAS & death cert (natural causes)
1926March1BarganyJohnTait Newspaper report - Ayrshire pages
1926March2Hillhead CollieryJamesMcKenna Register of FAI - fall of stone from the roof
1926March8Kenmuirhill No 2 CollieryJosephFisherNewspaper report - Lanarkshire pages

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Roof fall

At Kenmuirhill No. 2 Colliery, Lanark, a miner was taking down machine holed coal on the face when a stone fell from between two roof breaks 2 ft. 6 in. apart and killed him. Three back-heeled straps each with a single prop nearer to the waste than the roof breaks were broken off near the props by the stone. Back-heeled straps are simply man traps and no manager any knowledge of mechanics should tolerate them in the workings under his charge. Straps are of little value as supports unless properly set up with props under each end, and where the prop cannot be set up next the coal face till the coal cutting machine has passed, the straps should be needled into the coal and props set there immediately the machine has passed.
1926March8Riddochhill CollieryJohnWilsonNAS Catalogue - Fatal Accident Inquiry: John Wilson, miner, 39 Paulville Rows, Bathgate, died on 8 March 1926 at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, from injuries sustained on the same day in Riddochhill Colliery, Livingston Parish, West Lothian, when he was struck by a train of runaway tubs

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Underground Haulage Accident

At Riddochhill Colliery,Linlithgow, a miner on his way to work was entering a haulage road, the gradient of which was 1 in 69 in favour of the loaded tubs. He was passing between a train of empty tubs and the side wall, at the curve into this haulage road, when three loaded tubs which had run from an inbye lye arrived at the turn, jumped the rails and crashed broadside into the empty tubs, one of which crushed him against the wall and fatally injured him. No evidence could be obtained as to why the tubs should have run away from the lye and gained such speed on a road with such a low gradient, but the lesson is that tubs should always be properly secured by stop blocks in every siding, no matter how flat.
1926 March 10 Woodhall Colliery Thomas Bradley Register of FAI - injuries as result of fall in the course of his employment
1926March17FarmeJamesCoxFAI record – NAS
1926March18KenmuirhillJamesReynoldsFAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926March19CarberryJohnLukeNewspaper report - Lothians pages
1926March19Wellesley CollieryDavidAitkenNewspaper report - Fife pages
1926March 26Gartshore Colliery PhilipBolan Injuries received on 16 August 1918 by being crushed between 2 loaded hutches FAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926April8BroomhouseWilliamForsythFAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926April10RiddochillGeorgeMorrisonNewspaper report - Lothians pages
1926April11ArdenriggJohnChapman Newspaper report - New Monkland pages
1926April15EastonWilliamCrawfordNewspaper report - Lothians pages
1926April16Devon CollieryJamesHarrowerWith thanks to Jan Wilson for this information
1926April16Fauldhead CollieryCharlesMcIntoshNewspaper report - Dumfriesshire pages

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Underground Haulage Accident

At Fauldhead Colliery, Dumfries, a drawer left the working face with his last tub and two or three minutes later another drawer, also with his last tub, followed him. The road, the general gradient of which was 1 in 20 outbye, had a hollow, and the second drawer, assuming that the road was clear as he saw no light, was rushing his tub to get over the rise when he crashed into the first drawer who had a light, and who said he had not heard the second tub following. The injured drawer only lived 16 hours after the accident. With ordinary care this accident and several more of the same should not have happened.
1926 April 23 Bowhill Colliery Thomas Davidson Dunfermline Journal 22 May 1926 - not yet transcribed
Crushed between 2 loaded hutches
1926April30PolmaisePhilipSmithNewspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1926May1WhitequarriesHenryBurnsNewspaper report - Lothians pages
1926May2FauldheadRobertRedmondNewspaper report - Dumfriesshire pages
1926May7Outcrop seam on Edinburgh Glasgow Rd near NewhouseMichaelKellyFAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926 May 7 No 10 Cowdenbeath George Ross Dunfermline Journal 22 May 1926 - not yet transcribed
1926May16Blackhill CollieryJames DougalAlexanderNewspaper report - Lanarkshire pages

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Underground Fire

At Blackhill Colliery, Lanark, a double fatality occurred from an underground fire on 15th May early in the stoppage. The colliery is worked with naked lights and there were four electrically-driven pumps staged down a long dook which was also the intake airway. Each pump sat at the side of this dook road, which was also the haulage road and carried the electric cable. The roof was very broken and dry and was heavily timbered. On the night of the accident there were only three men in the pit, a pit bottomer, a fireman and a pump attendant. The fireman and pump attendant together travelled from pump to pump and attended to them. They did not require to go off the intake airway. What caused it will never be known, but a fire began in the region of the second pump from the top of the dook while the two men were inbye, and it was some hours before it was discovered by the pit bottomer; by that time the dook road was not travellable and the return airway was also full of smoke. The fire in the main intake had caused a fall and vain attempt were made to overcome the fire and to cut a way past the pump There was a large extent of longwall workings away from the dook road at the dook bottom and it was known the fireman and pumper were men of resource and intelligence, who had been known, following experience in the adjoining Cadder Colliery, to discuss what they would do under different sets of circumstances should such a thing as an underground fire ever occur where they were employed. Judging what they would do if they had had a chance, the air was not reversed until all hope of cutting through and extinguishing the fire was gone because reversal could well have been fatal if the men were still alive. Their bodies were found not far from the main intake and it was evident they had been killed shortly after the fire began and before they had any chance to escape, and certainly before any rescue work was begun, which was immediately after the fire was discovered. The fire may have originated unobserved from the lamp of one of the men while he was waiting with his head near the roof timber during the time his mate was adjusting the pump. It may have begun from gear friction igniting oil and spreading to the timber on the road. It may have had electrical origin either at the pump itself or from a fall suddenly taking place and damaging the main cable on the main road not far from the pump. The first or the third are the most likely of these alternatives. If the fire was electrical in origin and started at the pump, it points to the necessity for putting such pumps in a pump room (which would fall under the Regulations to be made of non-inflammable material) instead of setting them at the side of a timbered roadway. Where it is not practicable to provide a room, then the roadway itself should be lined and supported with non-inflammable material where electric plant sits. Since there are quite a number of cases where electric pumps and haulages sit in positions similar to those at Blackhill, this lesson should not be lost.
1926July8Kingshill CollieryGeorgeFrancisNewspaper report - Cambusnethan pages
1926 August 20 NK (Thorniewood area) William Henderson Fall of portion of wall of shaft - injury to back & spine 8 months.  With thanks to Marie Henderson for this information
1926August27Queensberry MineHughNicolNewspaper report - Lead mining pages

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Metalliferous Mines

There was one fatal accident during the year [in metalliferous mines]. It occurred at Queensberry (Lead) Mine, Dumfries, where two timbermen, who were also the shaftmen, had entered the skip at the surface after telling the engineman to which level to lower them. The engineman saw them into the skip, then lowered it a few inches and paused as an intimation that he was about to let them down At that moment one of the men put his head out and he was caught between the skip and a beam and killed. It is said he was leaning out to signal, but he had no need to signal. The mine arrangements were that the banksman should be present and signal and see all men safely away from the surface and if they had been fully acted upon the accident would not have happened.
1926 September 14 Bowhill Colliery Walter Chalmers Septicaemia following burning injury on 2 August 1926
1926September19Refuse bing, WhitburnAndrewBrysonFAI record – NAS "Andrew Bryson, labourer, 25 Westwood Rows, Livingston Parish, West Lothian, died on 19 September 1926 at a refuse bing situated on a field on the Farm of Cuthill, Whitburn Parish, West Lothian, when the roof of a hole fell upon him while he was digging for coal"
1926September22BroomhouseAndrewParkFAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926September29Bedlay Colliery BingEdwardHattieFAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926October14LeadsideJamesBurnettNewspaper report - Fife pages
1926October 21Wester Gartshore WilliamCraig Newspaper report - Lanarkshire pages
1926OctoberNKDurbanAlex.ShirlawNewspaper report - Lanarkshire pages Originally from Glasgow & West of Scotland
1926November3Robroyston CollieryAlexanderThomsonNewspaper report - Lanarkshire pages

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Suffocation by natural gases

At Robroyston Colliery, Lanark, two miners who had resumed work for the first time during the last month of the stoppage, were given permission to go to a certain point, where there was a through airway between two stone drifts, to seek their tools, which they said had been left there in April. The roads had been examined to this point but not beyond. No fence, however, had been erected, but the men were well warned not to go beyond the part specified. They did not return when they ought and their bodies were found among firedamp 70 yds. beyond where they ought to have stopped.
1926November9NK (Greengairs area)GeorgeMontgomeryFAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926 November 10Greenfield Colliery JamesJaap FAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926 November 13St Flannan's Pit, Twechar John Houston Wright FAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926November22GreenriggWilliam WhiteSharpFAI record – NAS "William White Sharp, pit-road-repairer, "Hillview" Harthill, died on 22 November 1926 in Greenrigg Colliery, Whitburn Parish, West Lothian, when a stone fell upon him"
1926November24Near AirdrieJamesCarwell Newspaper report - New Monkland pages
1926November26Philpstoun Shale MineWilliamDuffNewspaper report - Lothians pages
NAS: Fatal Accident Inquiry: William Duff, shale miner, 219 High Street, Linlithgow, died on 26 November 1926 in No. 6 Philpstoun Mine, Whitequarries, Abercorn Parish, West Lothian, following gas explosion
1926November30NorthfieldLachlanBlackNewspaper report - Shotts pages
1926November30LochheadRobertPrydeNewspaper report - Fife pages With thanks to Mary Pryde Abrams for this information
1926December2WestwoodWilliamSharkeyFAI record – NAS "William Sharkey, shale miner, 21 Dedridge Rows, Mid Calder, died on 2 December 1926 at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, from injuries sustained on 30 November 1926 in Westwood Shale Pit, Livingston Parish, West Lothian, when a cartridge of gunpowder exploded prematurely"
1926December3Greymouth, Wellington, New ZealandRobertHunterNewspaper report - Stirlingshire pages  Originally from Kilsyth
1926December3FurnaceyardGeorgeRobertsonNewspaper report - Lothians pages
1926December9Nellie, LochgellyAlexanderDavieNewspaper report - Auchterderran pages
1926December11High Darngavil MineHughLucasFAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926December13LethamWilliamAllanNewspaper report - Stirlingshire pages
1926December16Campbeltown Coal Company NeilMacallisterNewspaper report - Other areas
1926 December 16 No 6 Kippsbyre Colliery Robert Matear FAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926December17LethansWilliam GordonSmithNewspaper report - Fife pages
1926 December 17 Kinglassie Colliery Thomas Gordon Whittaker Fall of stone from roof of working place
1926December17WoolmetGeorgeEastonNewspaper report - Lothians pages
1926 December 17 Batonrigg Colliery John Thomson Headstone

Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Roof fall

At Batonrigg Colliery, Lanark, a repairer and his son were preparing to set a crown tree to replace a broken one on a haulage road when a fall of roof occurred at the broken crown tree and caught the senior repairer. If even one temporary prop had been set to the broken crown tree, the accident would not have occurred, as there was little evidence of weight other than that already resting on the defective timber
1926December21Mossbeath CollieryDavidBurtNewspaper report - Beath pages
1926December21WhistleberryPeterClarkNewspaper report - Blantyre pages
1926 December 22 Dundonald West Mine Robert Harper Wilson Cerebral haemorrhage
1926December26Blairhall CollieryJamesSneddonNewspaper report - Fife pages
1926 December 29NK Glasgow area PatrickO'Brien Burns, septicaemia sustained in accidental explosion of gas in coal mne
FAI record – NAS & death cert.
1926    Auchengeich Colliery    Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:

At Auchengeich Colliery, Lanark, an explosion occurred in which a shot firer and two brushers who were beside him were involved. A small longwall section with a good roof and hard pavement had crossed a 3 ft. upthrow fault some time previously and the brushing or ripping of the roads was taken for convenience from the floor. A shot hole was bored in the brushing at floor level and charged with 24 oz. Samsonite No. 3. The shot firer, who had formerly been a fireman for years in the colliery and who knew the gassy nature of the seam, had inspected for gas all round the roof and into the waste as far as he could get. He also inspected - though, as he admitted at the Fatal Accident Inquiry, only casually and not so particularly as at the roof and at a fault near by - round the shot hole in the floor. There was an excellent air current travelling along the face and out the road. The shot firer fired the shot from the adjoining roadhead where he was sheltering two brushers, and immediately afterwards flame came from the waste between the road where the shot was and that in which he was, and the tail of the flame reached him, burned him and one of the brushers beside him and reddened the arm of the other. The shot firer thought first of continuing to the finish of his shift, but decided to go home, and he and the other two men walked to the shaft, a distance of 1,380 yds., part of it by a cold intake airway. The brusher who was burned died seven days later, and while there were other known circumstances contributing to his death, the long walk to the shaft bottom seems to have played a part also judging by the number of cases which I have noted during my service as an Inspector of Mines. I think it worth while to repeat what I said in my Report of 1920:- "It has come to my notice many times in the course of my duties that a man, apparently only slightly injured by burning, has walked a considerable distance underground, then perhaps to his home after reaching the surface, and a few days later, to the surprise of his friends and even his medical attendant, he succumbs. No man who is unfortunate enough to be burned by an inflammation of gas should exert himself beyond responding to that natural tendency,which it is probably wrong to resist, viz., to put a little distance between himself and the resulting afterdamp, even although he may feel perfectly fit and well.'' The most important question to be answered in regard to this explosion is: How did a well-placed charge of a permitted explosive down in a pavement brushing where a good air current was passing ignite gas in a waste the floor of which was 3ft. higher up and was undoubtedly partly swept by the air current short circuiting through an open pack ? I was finally driven by the elimination of the other possibilities to the conclusion that gas had been issuing from a break which crossed the floor immediately outside the mouth of the shot hole and had not been detected by the shot firer ; that this gas was lit at the open edge of the break by flame from the shot which was rather heavily charged for the work it had to do ; that the gas flame travelled then along the open edge of one of several longitudinal breaks which crossed the cross breaks in the floor ; and that at another open cross break several feet outbye it travelled into the inaccessible waste under the loose pack and there lit a gas accumulation. The cross breaks in the floor came out from the 3 ft. fault already mentioned at right angles and the longitudinal breaks which appeared on the road approximately parallel to the fault were offshoots from it from deeper down with a flatter hade than the fault itself. Both sets of breaks had therefore connection to the fault and, as this fault gave off gas freely, ;i source of supply to fill the breaks and overflow was evident. The whole place was well stone dusted and coal dust played no part in the accident. Samsonite No. 3 from the explosive canister and from the same consignment was tested and found to conform as to composition and condition. Detonators were also tested and found to be in order.
1926    Cameron No 2 Colliery    Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
Shaft Accident

At Cameron No. 2 Colliery, Lanark, an old colliery was being reopened. A temporary geared winding engine was in use with a low pithead frame and the cage was a mere skeleton. Two men who were opening out a new seam at 18 fathoms depth were being raised to the surface when the engineman overwound them. There was no detaching hook, with the result that the cage was pulled against the pulley wheel and one of the two men fell from the cage and was killed. There was no attempt to comply with the requirements of Section 40 of the Act. The company and the agent, who was acting as manager at the mine, which was a small one, were charged with several contraventions of Section 40 and one or two other minor charges. The agent, who is substantially one of the owners, accepted full responsibility and the charges against the company were dropped. The agent was fined £20.
1926    Carnock Colliery    Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
On surface

There was also an electrical fatality on the surface. It occurred Carnock Colliery, Stirling, where an electrician was attempting to instal a bank of lamps to act as a leakage detector at the main switchboard whilst the bus bars were alive. He was on a step ladder reaching over the top of the panel when his forearm inadvertently made contact with a bus bar carrying current at 600 volts alternating and he was killed. The manager had warned him not to attempt this job while the pressure was on. There was no urgency and the work could have been done in safety after the power was off.
1926    Northfield Colliery    Information from the Inspectors of Mines - 1926:
By machinery

At Northfield Colliery, Lanark, an electrically driven disc coal cutting machine had had fresh pick points put in the disc at the beginning of the shift. The machine was then set to cut into the face and immediately the electric power was switched on, the machine swung round and the attendant, who was at the rear end, was entangled and killed by the picks in the disc. The machine was fitted so that the electric power could be switched off and on at both ends. The rear end attendant should, therefore, have been away from the machine when it was started up. Once more I would stress what I have said elsewhere on other occasions, viz., that there should always be a disc hole to enable the machine to start away parallel with the line of face. These disc holes should be made in the case of every disc machine and apparently all colliery owners and managers will not have them made until required to by Regulation. They cost money to make and meantime those who do not make them get off at the expense of those who do.
Last Updated 1st January 2014