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Explosion At Choppington Colliery

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Lone Ranger,

When you post just write what you want to say, as you are doing, but hit the black 'post' button on the right when you are finished.

You are 'quoting' correctly but for some reason all your posts are going straight to the mods for moderation.

Keep going, we will get you there!

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Lone Ranger,

When you post just write what you want to say, as you are doing, but hit the black 'post' button on the right when you are finished.

You are 'quoting' correctly but for some reason all your posts are going straight to the mods for moderation.

Keep going, we will get you there!

Thanks Malcolm. I was wondering on the posts what was going on.

Have a great New Year to you and all your family

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Here is the story as promised.

There were many accidents in all the collieries and i will have most of them archived.

But heres the Choppington Explosion.

A coal miners day was long and arduous, and they lived constantly in the shadow of harm from the explosion of mine gas, the slumping of coal piles, or the collapse of tunnels. Even the miner's equipment and environment in which he operated. The explosive powder used to dislodge coal, the flame in his lamp, the gases within the mine packed lethal potential, compounded by a persistent failure to heed safety measures.

News of accidents was announced by the unexpected blast of the steam whistle that marked the rhythms of the day, alerting residents of the village of possible disaster. People streamed out of their homes to see what was occurring.

This was the case on Thursday December 14th, 1945, when the unthinkable happened at Choppington "A†Pit. An ignition of gas underground caused an explosion resulting in twelve miners being burned, four of them seriously.

The four men who were severely burned came from Scotland Gate, and were carried to the surface on stretchers. They were: Ronald Twist, from Third Row; George Rice, Front Street; Robert Dixon and Robert Ramsey, both of Stoker's Buildings.

Fortunately the accident was not complicated by falls of the roof, and it was possible for the rescue work to proceed quickly and smoothly under the direction of the under manager, Mr. J. Dobson, and Mr. L. S. Wylie, foreoverman.

A number of other miners had a narrow escape and counted themselves lucky to avoid serious injury. Among them were William Routledge and his three sons who were working together on a conveyor. The son of the colliery manager John Spence, a conveyor attended also escaped serious injury.

Others injured were Harry Smith, Third Row, Choppington, Arthur Rough, East Gate, Choppington, Jack Routledge, Third Row, Choppington, John Hannay the deputy, Front Street, Scotland Gate, Wilfred Dobson, Pioneer Terrace, Bedlington, Jack Crackett, Ridge Terrace, Bedlington, James Armstrong, Westmorland Avenue, Bedlington, and William Smith, Fifth Row, Choppington.

It was 29th December 1945, some two weeks after the explosion and one of the miners who actually walked out the pit after the explosion died. Harry Smith, a hewer, only forty two years of age died from blood poisoning due to the burns he received.

His one wish before he died was to see the lads come home from the war.

Pit officials who inspected the scene after the explosion discovered a cigarette lighter with it's cap off, three cigarettes in a tin box and a waistcoat with six cigarettes in one of the pockets. The owner of the waistcoat, lighter and cigarettes had never been traced.

The pic is of Harry Smith. He was in the Home Guard when this was taken.

post-1337-0-10720000-1357165697_thumb.gi

Edited by johndawsonjune1955

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You are not registered properly Lone Ranger!

Go to the index board, where all the topic titles are listed, and click on Introduce Yourself, its the first one.

Now you have to go to Start New Topic, its the black button on the right.

Put your name at the top, Lone Ranger, then just say hello in the big box underneath.

Then click on Post New Topic, underneath in black again.

Once you have done this you will be registered properly.

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i cant find any of thetitleslisted on my screen hello the lone ranger.

Well done lone ranger hopefully there will be no more problems for you.

i can remember the explotion at choppington colliery as a young lad i seen one ambulance leeve the colliery and one horse and cart with some one in it going to the hospital

The Ambulance at the Colliery may have been the one drivin by my Great Grandad he served as an ambulance driver during the First World War then became an Ambulance driver at the pits worked up to the 50/60's i think, will have seen a lot of horrible injuries during his time.

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Does lone Ranger remember the grenade blowing up at Front Street, Choppington ?

John Chivers brother and friend found a grenade where the home guard practiced at Barrington.

They took it home and were hitting it with a screwdriver and pliers.

It blew up killing and shocked the whole area.

What a terrible accident.

Charlie Chivers was away at sea at the time.

I aint old enough to remember but know about it

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i can remember the incident about john chivers and the grenade thier was a few of us lads playing in the park behind ware he lived at the time we didnt no that it was a grenade .after our days play in the park we all went our different way . we found out the next day what had happened .

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Yerh they said there was a few lads earlier in the day.

Were you on were the home guard practised when it was found.

BTW they recon Mrs McHugh was blown out of her bed. She was living in an upstairs flat next door i believe.

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Heres that story on the grenade explosion at Choppington.

Sad story indeed.

The close knit community of Choppington went into mourning on Wednesday, December 29th, 1944, when two young schoolboys died in an explosion. The victims were cousins, eleven year old Ronald Chivers of 13 Front Street, Scotland Gate and James William Hopper of Stannington Street, Blyth aged thirteen.

It all began when Ronald Tilbury, George Jobson, Allan Cairns and Ronald Chivers went for a walk to a field in Barrington. The field was used by various units of the Home Guard for practice and was fenced in to the north, east and west boundaries but the entrance to the south was open. While in the field they each picked up parts of what they thought were exploded bombs. George Jobson was seen to pick up an object that was painted yellow with a green mark around. The top appeared to be broken and Jobson threw the object away. Ronald Chivers eventually picked the object up and flung it against a stone once or twice.

The boys returned home, but Ronald Chivers took all the parts they had found with him. Ronald Tilbury called at the home of Ronald Chivers that night and saw him showing the parts to James Hopper who was staying with him.

At about 10. 30 pm, James Nicholson, a back overman at the local colliery, of Richardson's Buildings, Scotland Gate, was walking along Front Street towards his home, accompanied by his brother, Douglas, James Emmerson and John Spence. They were opposite the social club, when they heard a loud explosion in Front Street. They hurried along to 13 Front Street and found the ground floor window of the dwelling house had been blown out as if by an explosion. Someone had burst the door open so James Nicholson and the others went inside. The room was in complete darkness and full of fumes. They had torches on themselves and used these to see what had occurred. Immediately they saw the boy Ronald underneath a table in the centre of the room. Ronald was crying out as he had serious injuries to both legs, head and arms. They got him from under the table and carried him to a neighbours house.

They then searched the room where the explosion occurred and found it in great disorder with the furniture and glass being broken and scattered.

The other boy was found lying close to the fireplace. He was unconscious and terribly injured about the hands, feet and legs. He was still alive, but they decided it was best not to move him. Mr. Spence then ran to seek Dr. Hickey for help. A message was also sent to the police at Guide Post, to inform them of the explosion. The doctor eventually arrived at the scene, but there was nothing he could do for James Hopper as he had died from a sustained fracture of the base of the skull and other bodily injuries.

Ronald Chivers was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle for treatment. The next day, December 30th, Ronald, died with identical injuries as his cousin.

The inquest into the tragedy was held at Bedlington Police Station, on New Years Day. The inquiry was conducted by Mr. E. Emley, Deputy Coroner for South Northumberland.

Evidence of identification was given by James William Hunter, of Colliery Square, Scotland Gate, a miner, the uncle of the two boys. He explained that he had seen the bodies of the two boys at the mortuary. Ronald's father he said was a stoker in the Royal Navy, and James Hoppers father was a miner, but was serving in the army.

Ronald Tilbury gave evidence and recognised the parts of the grenade when shown. He told the coroner that anyone could go into the field, and no one had been told at school, not to pick up parts if they saw any.

Captain J. R. Johnston of the Home Guard, explained that the place in which the children were playing was open to the public. Continuing he said other units of the Home Guard used the field. There is a check on all weapons after practice and all our grenades are accounted for. Someone else must have been using a grenade there, he said. Captain Johnston stated the procedure was when a grenade failed to explode the practice was stopped and the grenade picked up. Sadly that was not the case this time, but we always do it.

Police Sergeant Barton was next to give witness. He said a damaged rolling pin was found on the floor, also a knife, the latter the property of James Hopper. It appeared to him that one of the boys had hold of the knife over the explosive, and used the rolling pin to strike it as it was all marked. A pair of pliers was also found. The police officer told the Deputy Coroner that children were periodically told at school not to pick up or touch such things.

Summing up, Mr. Emley said that if the instructions received in school had been followed this sad tragedy would never had happened.

post-1337-0-86153200-1357406235_thumb.jp

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There was a deputy at Choppington B pit,in 1959,called Ronnie twist,probably the same lad.

Sad tragedy...kids will always be kids.....

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Aye,Lone Ranger,and it seems yi still canna mind o' young Wilma,who started working on transport with John Dickinson,and John Wardlow!

A tried ti prompt yi ages ago,but yi never came back on,after I twigged hoo ye were!

A went on ti girder-leading with Keith Cooney,who died in Australia after gaan ti see England cricket team play for the ashes,not long ago,whey a few years...R.I.P. Keith.

A worked at thi high pit from 1959 - 1965,and went ti the Aad pit at Bedlington,just before the high pit closed.

Welcome back,B.B.!

Ronnie Twist,and Eddie [councillor]Teesdale,were marra's [Deputies],on T.B.1 and T.B.2 faces in the Top Busty,[the new drift],and the kist was just at the entrance to the through-shoot,[stenton at other pits],as ye went up the other side of the drift.[ opposite T.B.2's tailgate]

Can yi mind any of this ,Lone Ranger?

 

yes thier was a deputy called ronnie twist working at high pit i know as i was working there from 1952 till it closed in 1966

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My grandfather was killed in a gas explosion at choppington colliery James prime.deputy overman 

Edited by Andy Millne
Quote formatting

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According to the Durham Mining Museum web site, 97 miners were killed in mining accidents at the Choppington A and B collieries from the time they opened in the 1860’s to 1965, the year the two pits closed. An average of 1 fatality per year!

Two of these fatalities were caused by methane explosions.

The first occurred on the 13th Dec 1945 and Henry Smith, a coal filler aged 42 died as a result of his injuries on 29th December 1945.

The second was on 15th October 1948 and James Gibbons Prime, a Deputy aged 34 was killed in this explosion.

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My Father started Choppington B pit [the High Pit],in 1929,aged 14 years,as a coal putter.

I started there in 1959,and was transferred away just a few months before it closed in 1966.

My Father went daft when he saw my letter informing me to start the High Pit,saying he would block me from going,as it was "Aal rough and ready,and there was lads hurt and killed every other week"

Well,I did start,and I wasn't there but a few weeks,when I experienced the horror of a fatal accident occurring on the screens,which Lone Ranger should be able to remember.

As time went by,and I was working underground,on heavy transport,my Father's words to me became more and more true,cos it was every other week that I had to go inbye with a "Three-barred-tram",[just a small vehicle designed to transport pit props and planks in to the hand-filling coalfaces],to seek an injured miner,and bring him out to where the mainset landed.

The rolleyway was in the tailgates only,[no rails at all in the Mothergates],so an injured miner on the coalface had to be transported along the face to the tailgate,unless he could walk all right,in which case he would just go outbye down the Mothergate.

Due to the wet conditions,the sleepers rotted,and became dislodged from the rails due to the ponies' hooves pushing against them while pulling trams inbye,uphill all the way,in really rough conditions.

This caused the rails to either collapse from the sleepers altogether,["become parted"],or "catches" to occur at every other joint in the rails.When the tram wheels hit a "catch", the wheels jumped the rails and became "Laanched"..slang for "launched",and meaning that the tram or tubs were de-railed..or.."off the way"!

So! it was,one day Joe Barrat,[the Overman],told me to take a tram into the first North tailgate,to bring a man out who had a broken leg.[not forgetting that it was illegal to ride on trams or in tubs...technically,but on the job,you gotta use common sense and act quickly in an emergency!]

I went inbye and  got the injured fella onto the tram,and set off outbye.

[I was about 17 years old at this time]

We didn't get a hundred yards when the tram jumped the rails and bounced all over the place,due to the wheels riding over the sleepers,throwing me and the injured man off the tram.

Because we were going down a varying gradient on the way outbye,we used to put a dreg in the back  wheels of the tram,to slow it's speed,and "brake" the front wheels with the sole of our welly's, bearing on the wheel flange,having pushed our lower leg through the tram's bars....[no H &S in them days!!]

The more weight you pressed down on the wheel flange the more you would slow the tram,with the assistance of the rear dreg.

This meant that the pony could steadily pull the dregged tram,but if the tendency was for the tram to speed up on a steeper part of the roadway,then you could control the tram from running onto the ponies' back legs [which happened very frequently.]

Whey!,this day proved to be an absoloute nightmare for this lad with a splinted broken leg!!

We got off the way about a dozen times coming outbye,and he was screaming and swearing like hell at me,as if it was my fault that the rolleyway was in the mess it was in.[The rolleyway-men used to concentrate on keeping the main roadways' rolleyway in decent condition,to bring the mainset in and out.]It was left to us young timber and transport lads to fix the way ourselves..which we tried to do,but nature was more of a force against us!![wet conditions!]

When we got outbye to the main road,he got off the tram,cursing..."A wished aad just f..........g waaked oot....a wadn't hae had sae much pain!!"

That wasn't the only time that that happened like that,but it was the worst,and it stuck in my mind all these years!!

It was a happy little pit,wasn't it? Lone Ranger?!!!

 

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