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Walton Colliery Disaster
On 22nd April 1959, at 1p.m., an explosion of firedamp occurred,
initiated by an electric arc from the damaged trailing cable of a coal-cutting machine.
The explosion was propagated to some extent by coal dust.

Commemorative Plaque
at the
Walton Village
Millennium Gate, School Lane.

Click to enlarge.
Names on the plaque:
Jack Rothery,
Wilf Wardle,
Bill Hudson (SAB),
Charlie Wray
Lawrie Coe#.

Another miner, Jack Williams, was injured.

(* "Ray" in the following reports, see note below N.U.M. report.)


Report by
The National Union of Mineworkers

National Union of Mineworkers

The report lists the men as follows:
J. Rothery (Belt Maintenance Man),
W. Wardle (Captain of Walton Rescue Team),
H. Hudson# (Collier),
E.C. Ray# (Belt Maintenance Man)
C. Coe# (Overman).


Read the conclusions
reached by the N. U. M. report.
This is an extract from
"Explosion at Walton Colliery on 22nd April 1959",
a report by J.R.A. Machen,
President, Yorkshire Area, National Union of Mineworkers.
Published 16th November 1959, Miners' Offices, Barnsley.
N.U.M. website.

# There are differences between
the two reports regarding some names and/or initials,
* Both reports refer to "Ray" not "Wray".

Official Report by
H.M. Chief Inspector
of Mines & Quarries

Walton Mining Disaster, Official Report by H.M. Chief Inspector of Mines & Quarries.

At about 12.30 p.m. five men were actually in 5's Unit, namely,
L. E. Coe# (the overman),
W. Hudson#,
W. Wardle,
J. Rothery
C. E. Ray# ;
J. Williams was just outside it.

There were no eye witnesses to say what happened during the next half hour.
Of the six men, the first five were killed in the explosion.

The sixth man, Williams, escaped with minor injuries, but he remembered little.

Read an extract
from the official report
by H.M. Chief Inspector of Mines & Quarries.
Minister of Power, Cmnd. 843, H.M.S.O.
September 1959

Walton Mining Disaster, Official Report by H.M. Chief Inspector of Mines & Quarries.

There is no commemorative plaque
or winding wheel, etc. at the colliery site itself.

Mining Ephemera perhaps ....
These two signs below, serve as a reminder that the risk of an emergency is ever present in the mining industry.
These posters are actually from St John's Colliery, Normanton (West Yorkshire), but are typical of the type of organisation required to deal with an emergency.
[Source: Nick Lyons]

Click on these images to enlarge.
Click to enlarge
Emergency Organisation -
Click to enlarge
Emergency Organisation -
Operations Log Keeper

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Walton near Wakefield, West Yorkshire.