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  Shrewsbury Chronicle, 4th June 1920

The Shrewsbury Borough Coroner, Mr. R.E.Clarke, held an inquest at the Royal Oak, Hook-a-Gate, near Shrewsbury, on Wednesday, on the body of David Titley, of Hook-a-Gate, who was killed by a fall of stone whilst following his employment as a miner at the Moat Hall Colliery, near Shrewsbury, the previous morning.

Mr. T.H.Bull, Government Inspector of Mines, and Mr. Wm. Latham, Shropshire Miners’ Federation, were present.

Evidence of identification was given by Joshua Titley, Meole Brace, who said he was employed at the pit head at Moat Hall Colliery. His brother was aged 52, and he lived at Rose Cottage, Hook-a-Gate. Deceased had been employed at the Moat Hall Colliery as a miner for about 20 years, and was one of the most experienced men down the mine. He was survived by a widow and six children, the eldest of whom was about 15 and the youngest five. Witness had never heard his brother complaining about the workings at the colliery, nor as to there being an insufficient number of props. Witness worked down the mine himself a number of years before the war, and he always found that there were plenty of props. He had never known the mine to be dangerous from slipping; and he believed there had never before been a fatal accident there since the colliery began.

Richard Jones, Lyth Bank, said he had worked at the Moat Hall mine for 8 years as a coal miner and he was working along with the deceased on the previous day. Deceased had finished “clearing up” about 7-10 am, and having been underneath the “low” and examined the whole working thoroughly he reported that everything was all right. Witness and he then commenced to “put the pack on,” and the next thing he (Witness) heard was a shout. He turned round and saw a great clod of dirt or stone on the ground with the deceased lying underneath. The weight of the stone was anything from a ton to 25 cwts, Continuing, witness said there were plenty of props provided at that particular place, but there must have been a fall in the roof. There was plenty of assistance at hand to extricate the deceased from beneath the stone, but he was quite dead when he (witness) returned later with a stretcher.

Replying to the Government Inspector, witness said he did not notice a slip anywhere before the accident. The stone fell quite suddenly without any warning. There were three props under the roof and they were all properly set. There were plenty of spare props about seven yards away from Where they were working had the deceased thought fit to want them.

Replying to Mr. Latham. Witness agreed it was much safer to have the “brow” nearer the coal face than have it six yards back as it was in this case. The Coroner said the evidence pointed to the accident being a purely accidental one, and said his Verdict would be accordingly, but on the suggestion Of Mr. Latham he agreed to hear the further evidence of the fireman. Mr. Latham said he did not suggest there had been negligence, on the part of anybody, but he thought the Coroner should have the testimony of the fireman to ascertain whether or not the Mines Regulations had been strictly carried out at this particular colliery.

Wm. Ed. Carswell, Rose Cottage, Annscroft, fireman at the Moat Hall Colliery, was called, and was interrogated by the Government Inspector. Mr. Latham, after the first question had been put, remarked : “That’s better —Mr. Bull gets his living at this kind of thing,’ Mr. Coroner.” Witness said he thoroughly inspected the place where the last witness and the deceased were working and he was perfectly satisfied that it was safe. He was surprised at the accident happening as it was not possible to see a slip before. Witness was satisfied with the supplies of timber, and he thought a slip was the cause of the fall.

The Coroner returned a verdict of “accidental death.” and expressed his sorrow for the widow and family. He had, he said, Known the family a good many years, and one of the deceased’s brothers had worked for him. Mr. Latham remarked it was a pity that in these civilised times the widow would receive only the statutory £300 with which to support her six children. he did not think it was the right thing. The Coroner: “Well, I suppose if I got killed I should have nothing for my family.” Mr. Latham said he doubted it as the authorities would see to that.


Submitted by Andy Wood

(from a Newspaper clipping in the colleciton of Howard Davies)

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