Lindsay Colliery 14 December 1957
Lindsay Memorial, Kelty - Inscription reads: "On this site from 1873 to 1965 stood the Lindsay Colliery where on the 14th December 1957 nine men lost their lives in an underground explosion."
- The Glasgow Herald - Dec 16, 1957 p5, c3
- The Glasgow Herald - Dec 16, 1957 p6, c3
- The Glasgow Herald - Nov 20, 1958 p9, c6 (bravery awards)
Official ReportReport on the causes of, and circumstances attending, the explosion which occurred at Lindsay Colliery, Fifeshire, on 14th December, 1957
Sir Harold Roberts, C.B.E., M.C., B.Sc.
Presented to Parliament by the Minister of Power by Command of Her Majesty August 1958
14th July, 1958.
The Right Honourable Lord Mills, K.B.E.,
Minister of Power
1. In accordance with your direction under Section 122 of the Mines and Quarries Act, 1954, I have held a Public Inquiry into the causes of, and circumstances attending, the explosion which occurred in the No. 3 Unit of the Glassee Seam at Lindsay Colliery, Fifeshire, on 14th December, 1957, and I now have the honour to submit my Report.
2. After considering the evidence given and the submissions made at the Inquiry I have concluded that firedamp at the face of the Unit was ignited by a match struck illegally for the purpose of smoking, and that the explosion continued along the main gate as a coal dust explosion, causing the death of nine men and injuring 11 more. A list of the men killed and injured is given in Appendix I.
3. I held the Inquiry at St. Margaret’s Hall, Dunfermline, from 4th to 11th March, 1958. The appearances were as follows:-
(a) For the Ministry of Power
Mr. W. Widdas, HM Divisional Inspector of Mines and Quarries.
Mr. J. Cowan. H.M. Principal Electrical Inspector of Mines and Quarries.
Dr. E. M. Guénault, Safety in Mines Research Establishment.
(b) For the National Coal Board
Mr. J. O. M. Hunter, Q.C.
Mr. A. J. Mackenzie-Stuart.
(c) For the National Union of Mineworkers
Mr. Abe Moffatt, President, Scottish Area.
Mr. Alex Moffatt, Vice-President, Scottish Area.
Mr. J. Wood, General Secretary, Scottish Area.
(d) For the National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers
Mr. B. Walsh, Secretary.
Mr. W. Derby, Secretary, Scottish Area.
Mr. A. Adamson.
Mr. P. Gavin.
(e) For the National Association of Colliery Managers and the British Association of Colliery Management
Mr. J. J. Lamb, W.S.
Sir Andrew Bryan.
Professor R. McAdam.
Mr. J. Bullock.
Mr. M. J. Fairnie.
Fifty-nine witnesses gave evidence; their names are given in Appendix H.
I. DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLIERY
4. Lindsay Colliery is situated at Kelty, about two miles north of Cowdenbeath in the county of Fife. It has been in production since 1875 and at present comprises one vertical shaft and two surface mines. Coal is raised through the shaft and No. 1 Surface Mine (not shown on the plans) while No. 2 Surface Mine is used for ventilation and man-riding. At the date of the explosion the output was approximately 1,100 tons a day, of which some 400 tons came from the Glassee Seam. Seven hundred and ninety men were employed below ground and 170 on the surface.
5. The colliery is in the West Fife Area of the Scottish Division of the National Coal Board. The principal officials were :-
Area General Manager Mr. G. Mullin
Area Production Manager Mr. J. Hutchison
Deputy Area Production Manager (Operations) Mr. R. B. Dunn
Group Manager Mr. J. C. B. Haynes
Manager Mr. W. Reid
There were two under-managers: Mr. W. Orr who was in charge of the workings of No. 1 Surface Mine; and Mr. A. Bell, who was in charge of the remaining underground workings.
6. The mine was worked in three shifts. In the Glassee Seam coal was filled on the day and afternoon shifts during alternate weeks, the deputies changing with their men. The night shift deputies, however, remain permanently with that shift, and so for one week had the first preparatory shift and the following week the second preparatory shift.
7. The seams worked at various times in the life of the colliery were, in descending order, the Little Splint, Seven Feet, Main Coal, Upper Jersey, Lower Jersey, Low Bank, Glassee, Mynheer, Five Feet and Dunfermline Splint. At the time of the explosion the Seven Feet and Glassee Seams and development in the Mynheer Seam were being worked from the shaft and the Little Splint and Jersey Seams from No. 1 Surface Mine.
8. There was an ignition of firedamp at Lindsay Colliery on 4th May 1955, in which two men were injured; before that, one man had been fatally injured in an ignition which occurred in 1930.
Lighting, Explosives and Manner of Search
9. Locked safety-lamps are used throughout the mine. The workmen used Oldham Wheat electric cap lamps, type GW, while the deputies were provided with Wolf flame lamps, types 7 RMBS and 7S, for the purposes of their statutory inspections. In November, 1955, with a view to compliance with the statutory provisions governing the use of firedamp detectors, 73 workmen were trained to recognise gas caps on the flame of a safety-lamp. Workmen employed in development sections carried flame lamps for this purpose, but they were not used elsewhere. Not a single detector was in use in the No. 3 Unit at the time of the explosion.
10. The explosive used was “Unigel Eq. S” Shots were fired by No. 6 low-tension detonators and Davis-Derby single-shot exploders.
11. The system of searching for contraband approved by H.M. Divisional Inspector of Mines and Quarries required that 10 per cent. Of the men forming a shift should be searched and that there should be a general search at quarterly intervals. All persons descending the mine otherwise than with a shift were to be searched on each occasion. In addition it was the practice to search a proportion of men at the deputy’s meeting station; and surprise spot checks were also made.
12. The shaft and No. 1 Surface Mine served as intakes for the mine, and No. 2 Surface Mine as the return. Ventilation was provided by an axial flow exhausting fan designed to deliver 125,000 cubic feet of air per minute, at a water gauge of 2.5 inches. This was operated at 100,000 cubic feet per minute at a water gauge of 2.1 inches.
II.THE GLASSEE SEAM AND THE MYNHEER DEVELOPMENT
13. Plan No. 1 shows the workings in the Glassee Seam. These workings comprised two advancing longwall single-unit faces (Nos. 3 and 4 Units) at a depth of 1,260 feet below the surface. They were worked in conjunction with a development in the Mynheer Seam, 60 feet below the Glassee. No. 3 Unit was started when No. 2 Unit was stopped in April, 1957; and No. 4 Unit was started when No. 1 Unit was stopped in September, 1957.
14. The approach to these workings was through Hodge’s Mine, a stone drift 1,650 yards long dipping at 1 in 11, and then through a level cross-measure drift 635 yards long. Coal from the faces was transported by gate conveyors to a common loading point and thence in tubs by endless-rope haulage through Hodge’s Mine to the pit bottom. Hodge’s Mine formed the main intake airway for the area: the main return airway ran through Wilson’s Mine to No. 2 Surface Mine.
15. The two Units were ventilated descensionally. Until about the end of October, 1957, the ventilation was in series, air travelling first round No. 3 Unit and then round No. 4 Unit. Following the completion of an overcast in October, however, separate splits were provided for each Unit. Before the separation of the ventilation the quantity of air measured in No. 3 Unit main gate was approximately 5,000 cubic feet per minute; on 2nd November, after the separation, the quantity measured there was 4,422 cubic feet per minute, while in No. 4 Unit main gate it was 6,120 cubic feet per minute.
16. The maximum volatile content of the seam was 30.3 per cent so that a minimum of 70 per cent of incombustible matter was required for compliance with the Coal Mines (Precautions against Inflammable Dust) Regulations, 1956. The management worked, however, to a standard of 75 per cent. The records show that during 1957 eight samples taken in the seam contained less than 75 per cent incombustible matter but only two contained less than 70 per cent, one of these being in the old No. 2 Unit.
The No. 3 Unit
17. Plan No. 2 shows the face of No. 3 Unit in which the explosion occurred; Plan No. 3 shows the Unit in orthographic projection. The face was 120 yards long and was advancing across the line of true dip. The gradient of the face was 1 in 3.3, dipping from the main (intake) gate towards the tail (return) gate, and the gates rose towards the face at a gradient varying from 1 in 4 to 1 in 5. The seam was about 3 feet 6 inches thick and was overlain by a blaes roof. The Unit was bounded on the rise side by the abandoned No. 2 Unit, the waste of which was contacted from time to time, and on the dip side by a fault from which ran igneous intrusions. There was “burnt” coal from these intrusions in the lower part of the face.
18. The face was supported by a mixture of wood and rigid steel props set to corrugated steel bars. Intermediate packs were built and chocks were set along the edge of the waste to facilitate caving. Wet cutting was practised, the coal being undercut by machine to a depth of 4 feet 6 inches and hand loaded on to a bottom loading belt conveyor which conveyed it uphill to the main gate. In the main gate a short scraper conveyor carried the coal to the main belt conveyor.
19. Air entered No. 3 Unit through the main gate and, after passing down the face and through the tail gate, left by a return common to Nos. 3 and 4 Units. Air sampling had been regularly carried out: the highest firedamp content recorded before the separation of the ventilation referred to in paragraph 15 was 0.39 per cent, in the tail gate on 4th October, 1957; after the change the highest was 0.26 per cent at the bottom corner of the face. No samples were taken in .the ‘wastes, but a few tests were made at the waste edge by holding a flame lamp at arm’s length into the waste.
20. Electricity was lawfully in use. The electrical machinery included gate and face conveyor drives, coal cutters, drills and pumps.
Ill. THE EXPLOSION AND SUBSEQUENT EVENTS
21. One hundred and seventy four men were employed underground on the night of 13th/14th December, 1957 when the explosion took place. Of those in the Glassee Seam 13 men were employed in No. 3 Unit, under the charge of Robert Cook, deputy, and William Masterton, overman both of whom were subsequently killed. In No. 4 Unit there were 16 men under the charge of Robert Smith, deputy. The work in No. 3 Unit was to cut the face, brush the bottom gate and withdraw supports from the waste. In No. 4 Unit the work was that of the first preparatory shift.
22. When the men arrived at No. 3 Unit there seems to have been some difficulty in starting the brushing of the bottom road because of loose coal and inability to get the face belt to run. The coal cutting machine was also held up, apparently for the same reason. By 2 a.m., however, the coal cutting machine had cut out of the bottom corner and had passed the gate, and soon afterwards Cook, the deputy, is said to have fired three brushing shots. The brushers then cleaned up, erected a girder and began packing dirt on the high side of the road. By 3 a.m. waste drawing had been completed, and at about 3.30 the deputy asked one of the workmen, S. Fitzsimmons, to help tighten the face belt and get it running for the day shift. He had proceeded to do this when, in his own words “the next thing I knew was a man lying on top of me”.
23. This was at 4 a.m. W. McAughey and R. Condie, who were in No. 3 Unit, said that they were blown over by hot air and dirt, and that the air was very thick and black. W Fleetham and W. Monaghan were blown over but saw no flame. Another man said “there was no terrific heat, just warm air”.
24. The men working in the Mynheer Development did not hear anything which indicated clearly to them that there had been an explosion. Shortly after 4 a.m., however, they were told by Fleetham that something had happened in No. 3 Unit. Five of them, accompanied by another man from No. 4 Unit, immediately set off to see if they could rescue any of the men affected. They were unable, because of dust and fumes, to approach the Unit by the intake. D. O’Donnell and A. Moyes, however, managed to enter through the return airway and reached the face. They saw the bodies of T. Johnstone, J. Hughes and D. Anderson, who it seems clear were dead, but were then obliged to retreat. On the way down the face, however, they met D. Scott and R. Muirhead and returned up the face with them; they were followed later by R. McCartney and E. Tungate. O’Donnell and Moyes were soon overcome by the atmosphere, however, and had to be helped out by McCartney and Tungate. Scott was then overcome: Muirhead did his best to help him out but found it physically impossible to do so and had to make his own escape.
25. These six men followed the best traditions of the mining industry when they made this gallant attempt to rescue their fellow workmen. It is with great regret that I report that when eventually David Scott was recovered he was dead.
26. On his way to the Mynheer Development, Fleetham had telephoned the surface to report the explosion. A. M. Sneddon, the deputy in the Mynheer Development, also telephoned the surface and asked them to inform the manager and to summon rescue brigades. These messages were passed on immediately .to the manager, W Reid, at his home. His attempt to telephone the Cowdenbeath rescue station by way of the Area Office was unsuccessful. He accordingly telephoned J. C. B. Haynes, the group manager, at about 4.10 a.m. and asked him to get the rescue brigades; the latter telephoned the area safety officer and asked him to do it. This the safety officer did, passing the message at 4.25 a.m. The manager arrived at the pit at about 4.25 a.m. and was soon joined by other National Coal Board officials. All men not needed for rescue operations were withdrawn from the mine and it was ascertained that nine men could not be accounted for.
27. The rescue superintendent and two assistants arrived at the colliery with equipment at 4.40 a.m. Cowdenbeath is a Scheme B station without permanent brigades, and it .was therefore necessary to assemble a rescue brigade from the local trained rescue workers. At 5.30 a.m. one had assembled and was ready to go underground; ten minutes were then spent waiting for instructions from the National Coal Board officials who had by this time also assembled at the mine. The first team went underground at 5.40 a.m. and established a fresh air base just beyond the loading point at a place known as the Old No. 1, about 1.25 miles inbye. They were followed by the group manager, who took charge of operations underground; the manager remained on the surface in charge of events there.
28. The rescue team left the fresh air base at 6.40 a.m. and then made a complete circuit of the affected district, starting on the return side. They had no particular difficulty in getting along the road or face, though it was rather warm and visibility was only about 12 yards. During this circuit they located at various points the bodies of the nine missing men, all of whom were dead. About ten yards beyond the coal cutter, going towards the intake gate, the team discovered a whole, unsmoked cigarette lying on the ground at the foot of a prop. The cigarette was dirty but, according to the captain of the team, no dirtier than was to be expected after an explosion. The team found no other contraband during this first inspection. They arrived back at the fresh air base at 7.20 a.m.
IV THE INVESTIGATION
29. Meanwhile efforts were being made to restart the ventilation. Temporary repairs were made to the overcast, which had been damaged slightly by the explosion, and sheets were erected to divert as much air as possible into No. 3 Main Gate. By 9.20 a.m. the district was clear enough to be entered without breathing apparatus.
30. The district was then inspected by Mr. F. S. Pollard, H:M. Senior District Inspector of Mines and Quarries, accompanied by Mr. W. Hislop, H:M. District Inspector of Mines and Quarries, officials of the National Coal Board and representatives of the National Union of Mineworkers. The only trace of firedamp was in a roof cavity in the extreme left-hand corner of the face. Only a few signs of violence were seen at the outbye end of No. 3 main gate: the gearhead of the gate conveyor had been moved about 2 feet out of line; a little further inbye the belt was thrown off line; and further inbye still the conveyor structure had been moved. The air crossing in No. 4 intake gate was also damaged.
31. The waste drawing seemed to have been completed, and the sylvester was lying in No. 1 waste. On reaching the coal cutting machine Mr. Pollard saw that the haulage rope had been newly extended and that the control handle was in the position normally used for inching, which suggests that the machineman was tightening the rope at the time of the explosion. Mr Pollard thought he saw traces of coking but preferred to leave the point to experts from the Safety in Mines Research Establishment. In the tail gate, where there were no signs of explosive violence, the amount of brushing still unremoved was not enough to have blocked the ventilation, nor to have hindered men getting out into the gate.
32. A drilling cable was seen to be hanging on hooks in the tail gate some 15 yards back from the face; there was also a deputy’s relighter lamp hanging up in that gate. Shot firing exploders and shot firing cables were found hanging up in both gates. In various places, Mr. Pollard found a total of 15 four-ounce cartridges of explosives, some cut in half. Some of this explosive was concealed under stones.
33. A further inspection of No. 3 Unit was made on the following morning, 15th December, by Mr. C. Sharpe, H.M. District Inspector of Mines and Quarries, who was accompanied by Mr. W. Linton, overman. This inspection was directed particularly to discovering anything that might have acted as an igniting agent. Mr. Sharpe made a systematic search of the whole Unit, starting on the intake road of No. 3 Unit at the third refuge hole in from the entrance to the main gate. He found a spent match in this refuge hole, other spent matches generally along the intake road inbye, and cigarette butts towards the roadhead. Amongst this contraband was a cigarette butt and a spent match, which were found behind some conveyor trays piled up at the side of the intake road just before reaching the face. On the face itself he found a spent match at the foot of No. 4 pack (that is, near the point at which the rescue brigade had found a whole cigarette). He found cigarette butts “in abundance” and also an empty cigarette packet in the return road.
34. When the bodies of the men killed in the explosion were brought to the surface, police officers examined their clothing. In three cases they found contraband:
(1) an empty cigarette packet; another packet containing a partly smoked cigarette; another partly smoked cigarette; and three spent and four live matches :
(2) a cigarette packet containing one cigarette; one loose cigarette; and three matches; and
(3) a small tin containing a partly smoked cigarette.
35. Mr. Sharpe also found “at least 40 cartridges” of loose explosives hidden in various places under stones, or buried. Most of this was at the side of the return road, but one or two cartridges were found in the intake to the Unit.
36. On 16th December, Mr. L. Cheesbrough, H.M. District Inspector of Mines and Quarries, accompanied by officials of the National Coal Board and representatives of the National Union of Mineworkers, visited the affected area to take dust samples. Samples were taken systematically (as prescribed by the Coal Mines (Precautions against Inflammable Dust) Regulations, 1956), in the No. 3 Unit tail gate, the common return for Nos. 3 and 4 Units, the intake road and the belt level. In the No. 3 Unit tail gate, the roof and side samples varied from about 86 to about 93 per cent incombustible matter, and the floor samples from about 56 to about 68 per cent. In the common return, the corresponding figures were 79 to 99 per cent. (except for one figure of 38 per cent.) and 58 to 75 per cent.; in No. 3 Unit intake 55 to 74 per cent. and 34 to 49 per cent. ; and in the belt level 64 to 86 per cent. and 48 to 62 per cent.
37. On 15th and 16th December, Mr. S. Jones and Dr. H. Titman of the Safety in Mines Research Establishment, accompanied by Mr. Hislop and a party which included representatives of the National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers, visited No. 3 Unit to collect samples of deposited and impacted dust and coke and specimens of material likely to indicate exposure to flame. These specimens and samples were subsequently examined microscopically and chemically at the Establishment. Coking was found in the samples of dust taken at about the middle of the face, in those taken at the road head of the main gate and for 720 feet down the gate itself, and in those taken in the cundy. Splinters of wood and a sample of fabric, collected at the road head of the main gate, in the cundy and 720 feet along the main gate, were definitely burnt.
38. Mr. Jones thought, on the basis of these results, that the definite indications of blast on the face were limited to impacted dust and small coal on the faces of supports facing the .main gate and extending from a point about 60 feet from the intake to a point about 60 feet from the return. He described as a quiet one a length of about 60 feet of the face, beginning at the main gate, which showed signs of burning, but not of coking or violence. He thought that his examination showed that the direction of blast was away from this zone along the intake and down the face towards the return, and inferred that the point of origin was within or near this zone. He did make the reservation that the direction of blast is not necessarily the same as the direction of travel of the flame. For example, a mild explosion travelling up the face might have developed much greater violence in the intake, and blast travelling back from this point of violence might give on the face signs of blast opposed in direction to that of the travel of flame. He thought, however, that this was unlikely to have occurred here for there were no signs of sufficient violence either in the face or in the main gate. He also concluded, from the absence of signs of coking near the assumed point of ignition, that the initial ignition had been of firedamp; but that it was extended in the main gate as an explosion of coal dust.
39. Lamps and electrical apparatus were removed from the Unit to the Safety in Mines Research Establishment for test.
40. Four of the cap lamps showed no signs of damage beyond that to be expected from normal wear. Two others were slightly damaged, the damage consisting respectively of a dent and a small hole in the battery case. Another lamp had its headpiece broken and its cable severed, the insulated cable covers also being exposed near the cable gland. Another lamp was in a similar condition, but with the headpiece more badly broken and with about half the thinner part of the moulding missing.
41. The electric coal cutter when examined showed no signs of an internal explosion. The machine was, however, subjected to the standard flameproof tests. Two tests were made, but in neither did the explosion inside the machine ignite the gaseous mixture outside. Similar examinations and tests were made of the other electrical machinery removed from No. 3 Unit. It was all found to be in good order, and in no case did an internal explosion ignite the external firedamp mixture.
42. An investigation was also made into the possibility of ignition having been caused by frictional sparking during undercutting. All the picks visible on the low side of the chain seemed to be in good condition; two of them (one from each row) were taken from the chain, together with two new picks from the bag, for scientific examination. The machine seemed to have been cutting in dirty coal or shale; a sample of this, covering the full depth of the cutting horizon, was taken for petrological examination.
43. Examination at the Safety in Mines Research Establishment confirmed that the picks were in good condition. Those taken from the machine showed very little wear. There was a bright surface on the stock of one of these picks, but there was no sign of “blueing”, nor was there any sign of plastic flow. The mineral specimens were found to vary in hardness. A petrological examination of the specimens showed that they gave the X-ray pattern of kaolin only and contained less than 1 per cent of quartz, if any.
44. The firedamp content of the air in the waste was investigated. Samples were taken after the explosion on a regular basis in the two top wastes, that is the wastes below Nos. 1 and 2 Packs. Out of 262 samples the highest concentration found was about 8.67 per cent. In a sample taken in No. 3 waste (the waste below No. 3 Pack), but on a further 11 occasions 1 per cent was found. Boreholes were also made through the top corner of the face into the abandoned No. 2 Unit. While a hole was in coal, air samples taken from it were found to contain a high proportion of firedamp. Once the hole was through into the waste, however, the concentration of firedamp fell off rapidly and eventually became negligible. After the Unit had been re-started a flame lamp test at the waste edge between No. 2 and No. 3 Packs showed between 3 and 4 per cent of methane.
V. THE NATURE, CAUSE AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE EXPLOSION
45. One of the most significant features of this explosion ‘was the presence at the face of a virtually unaffected area, aptly described by Mr. Jones as a “quiet zone”, which extended from near the main gate to the vicinity of No. 3 waste. After hearing his evidence and his remarkably clear account of his investigation I am in complete agreement with his conclusions. I think that the presence of flame, but not coking, in this zone established beyond doubt that it was the site of a mild ignition of firedamp, the blast of which at this point was insufficiently strong to raise coal dust. I think it is also clearly established that the explosion did not travel far down the face towards the return: the signs of blast disappeared within about 260 feet; and men working at the return roadhead 60 feet farther on were uninjured. On the intake side, however, the signs of burning and coking described by Mr. Jones convinced me that flame had travelled about 720 feet outbye along the main gate. Other effects, such as the displacement of the delivery end of the conveyor 750 feet outbye, the injury to J. Rowley, the haulage attendant, and the damage to the air crossing in No. 4 intake gate showed that blast travelled still farther. The spread of the explosion is shown on Plan No. 4.
46. Mr. Jones also explained very clearly why blast does not necessarily indicate the direction of flame travel. I agree entirely, however, with his conclusion that in this case it did. The existence of the “quiet zone”, from which all signs of blast clearly radiated, showed conclusively that there had been no blast reversal effect.
47. My conclusion, therefore, is that this explosion originated in or near the “quiet zone” as a comparatively mild explosion of firedamp and was propagated down the main gate by coal dust. No other conclusion is, I think, possible. That the original explosion was mild and that the fuel was firedamp is clear from the absence alike of signs of violence or signs of coking within the zone. Coal dust could not, at this point, have been raised into the flame. The effects of this mild original explosion could not, however, have spread so far down the main intake road unless the explosion had found new fuel there. I do not think that this fresh fuel could have been methane. There was no evidence to suggest that methane was given off in the intake gate and it certainly could not have migrated from the face against both the gradient and the ventilation. The intake was, however, also a conveyor road; I have no doubt that the coal dust on it provided the necessary fuel.
48. I have little hesitation in dismissing electricity, shot firing and frictional sparking at the coal cutter as possible igniting agents. The electrical machinery was found to be in good condition and still flameproof. The exploders were found hanging up and were clearly not in use at the time. The material damage to the cap lamps had plainly occurred during the explosion. The state of the coal cutter picks and the nature of the strata make it unlikely that there was frictional sparking even if, which is thy no means sure, the machine was cutting at the time of the explosion. I conclude that the igniting agent was a match.
49. Besides all this negative evidence there are several positive facts to support these conclusions. A spent match and an unlit cigarette were found at the face near No. 3 waste and contraband was found in the clothing of some of the victims nearby; the only place in the unit where firedamp has been found in appreciable concentrations is in the vicinity of this waste and drawing-off operations had been completed there only a short time before the explosion. When all these facts are considered I regard the sequence of events as established beyond reasonable doubt.
50. The picture as I see it is that following drawing-off operations a comparatively small volume of firedamp was emitted from the vicinity of No. 3 waste, possibly due to a heavy fall but more likely, I think, as the result of the closure of bed separation cavities acting as a kind of bellows. Because of the inclination of the face the firedamp travelled along the roof against the air current towards the main gate roadhead, thus forming a layer of gas over an area corresponding with the “quiet zone”. Somebody then struck a match and ignited the gas. Because of the release of pressure afforded by the wastes: the explosion was not sufficiently violent to raise an inflammable dust cloud along the face on the return side, particularly in view of the blanketing effect of the small coal, but was powerful enough to raise such a cloud at the loading point at the main gate roadhead whence it was propagated along the gate as a coal dust explosion by dust raised mainly from the conveyor.
51. The representatives of all the interested parties agreed with these views about the initial cause and place of origin of the explosion and also I believe, except for Mr. Hunter, about its subsequent development. Mr. Hunter submitted that the microscopical examination of coke and splinters, to use his own words, was “flimsy evidence” on which to decide the part played by coal dust in the propagation of the explosion along the main gate. I cannot accept this view. To the experienced observer, the evidence provided by the microscopical examination of dust specimens and splinters is remarkably revealing.
52. In this particular case the evidence so provided was corroborated by the analysis of dust samples. Evidence given by Mr. Jones of the examination of explosion dust, i.e. dust which had been raised in the course of the explosion, and by Mr. Cheesbrough of samples taken in the usual manner from the roof, floor and sides after the explosion, showed that there was more than sufficient combustible dust present in the main gate to propagate an explosion. Moreover, the samples taken by Mr. Cheesbrough from the roof and sides contained 55 to 74 per cent of incombustible matter; while in the explosion dust specimens referred to by Mr. Jones, the incombustible content increased regularly from 20 per cent near the face to 40 per cent approaching No. 2 Transfer Point. The difference in incombustible content between these two types of samples confirms me in thinking that the explosion was propagated along the intake gate, mainly by coal-rich dust from the transfer point at the roadhead, from the structure of the conveyor and from the belt.
53. For all these reasons I could not accept Mr. Hunter’s submission. Moreover, he offered no alternative explanation of the damage to the air crossing or the movement of the delivery end of the conveyor, and put no questions about dust to his expert (Mr. Mullin) which I regarded as giving me added justification for rejecting his submission on the point.
VI. OBSERVATIONS ON THE CAUSES AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE EXPLOSION
Searching and Smoking
54. Despite the system of searching described in paragraph 11, the amount of contraband found after the explosion and the evidence given by workmen and other witnesses showed conclusively that smoking was widely practised not only in the Glassee district but in other parts of the mine. This was, I think, common knowledge to workmen and officials alike. Mr. Moffat sought to show that the failure to stamp out smoking was in the main due to the cursory nature of the searching and the laxity of officials. It is certainly true that contraband was very rarely found in any of the searches carried out on the approved system, the surface searchers (whose experience covered about two years) said they had never found any at all, and the last entry in the book recording the finding of contraband was dated 27th March, 1956. On the other hand, I was much impressed by the evidence of Mr. Campbell, a stripper, and Mr. Bell, the under-manager.
55. Mr. Campbell gave his evidence in a most forthright and straightforward manner and as he in no way gave me the impression of wishing to shield the officials, I think .the following extract of his cross-examination by Mr. Moffat worth quoting: -
“Q. Were you ever searched at this colliery, Mr. Campbell? - Yes.
Q. Were you searched very often? - Every day on the surface and every second or every third day in the fireman’s station.
Q. Could you give me some idea of the kind of search that took place? - Fairly thorough, but I could have had cigarettes if I cared to take them through with me.
Q. How could you have taken them through with you if you wanted to with that search? Did the searcher go into all your pockets? - Yes.
Q. Did he examine all the articles you carried? - Yes.
Q. How could you go through then if he had done that? If he searched all your pockets and examined all your articles how could you go through? - I do not know the answer to that, Mr. Moffat, but if I were going to take cigarettes past the fireman I could have taken them.
Q. It is quite obvious that some miners have taken them in more than I would expect, but the point I want to put is that if a thorough search is made along the lines I have suggested, how could you then take cigarettes through that search? If all your pockets were searched, all your articles were searched, how then would it be possible for you to go through with cigarettes? Would it be possible for you to get through if that search was carried out? - The search that the colliery did at the station I could have had them, Sir.
Q. What kind of search was carried on at the station?-They searched my pockets, my haversack, and looked in my hat and my knee-pads.
Q. You still think with that type of search you could have got through? -Yes.”
56. Mr. Bell, in cross-examination by Mr. Lamb, gave the following evidence:-
“Q. I am going to pass now to the question of contraband. I think it would be helpful if you gave us some details of the results of your surprise searches. I .think you carried out such a search on 5th September, 1957, do you remember that?-Yes.
Q. I think on that occasion you were accompanied by an overman? - Yes.
Q. Who was he? - Andrew Ross.
Q. Is it correct that you visited the Mynheer Development that day? - Yes.
Q. What did you find there? - I found a man smoking. I thought he was smoking.
Q. You found a man smoking?-Yes.
Q. Was he alone or were there others with him? -There were others with him.
Q. Did you carry out a search? - Yes.
Q. Did you find anything? - I found nothing on the man but I found contraband just beside him.
Q. Do you remember what .the nature of the contraband was? - Cigarettes and matches.
Q. What action did you take? - I passed the contraband on to the manager and reported all the circumstances to him.
Q. Is it within your knowledge what action the manager took upon that information? - He reported the case to the police.
Q. Do you know the outcome after the police report? -There was nothing, there was no outcome.
Q. Then I think you also carried out a similar search on Tuesday, 8th October, 1957?-Yes.
Q. Where did you carry out that search?-I -think it was No. 4 Glassee.
Q. And what caused you to carry out a search on that occasion? - I did not actually carry out a search. I discovered a man smoking.
Q. Having discovered him smoking what did you do?--He was standing with quite a few other workmen and I asked the workmen if they saw him smoking and they denied it.
Q. How near would these other workmen be to the man who was smoking? - There were probably half a dozen to ten men all within a region of six yards.
Q. So that would you agree that if .this man was smoking at least one or more of these other men normally would have been able to see this? Yes.
Q. Having taken the cigarette from this man did you make any report to your superiors? -Yes, I did.
Q. To whom did you report it? - The manager.
Q. Do you know what action the manager took?-Called these workmen into the office, or asked them to come to the office, and they all refused to come bar one man, and .that was one of the spokesmen on the run, and he came in along with the workman concerned.
Q. Did the manager interrogate them on the matter? -Yes.
Q. What information did he get? - The man that was smoking denied having smoked, and the man that was along with him denied having seen him.
Q. I take it that when you saw the man was smoking the cigarette was in fact lit, was it?-Yes.
Q. I take it no police report was made on that case?--No police report was made on that case.
Q. Because I assume the necessary evidence was not forthcoming? Correct.”
And with regard to another occasion: -
“Q. And from what you saw were your suspicions aroused in regard to contraband?- I smelt the smoke as I approached him from behind, and when I got up to him there was no sign of any cigarette, but he was putting the tin box away in his pocket. He knew I had seen him and he handed me the box. The box contained contraband.
Q. What was the nature of the contraband?-Cigarettes and matches.
Q. Were all the cigarettes unsmoked, or were any of them smoked? - Unsmoked, as far as I remember.
Q. And unspent matches?-Yes.
Q. What action did you take on this occasion? - I reported the case to the manager.
Q. Do you know what followed upon that report?-The manager investigated and interviewed the man, and due to a lack of evidence could not proceed further. .
Q. Was any effort made on that occasion to get corroboration from the others who were present? - I cannot remember.”
And on two other occasions:-
“Q. Then on Friday, 1st November, I think you were coming out of the end road about 50 yards from the No. 3 face 7-feet section, and I think you met someone there, is that right? - That is correct.
Q. What was he doing? - He was smoking.
Q. Was he alone? - [He was] along with three other workmen.
Q. And when you saw him smoking what did you do? - Took the cigarette from him, or asked him for the cigarette, and he gave it to me, and I took a money order with cigarettes rolled up in it from his breast pocket, and asked the workmen that were standing with him if they had seen him smoking and none of them would answer.
Q. Did you report that incident to the manager? - Yes.
Q. And what action did the manager take? - He interviewed the men concerned, and one of the workmen admitted having seen the man smoking.
Q. Did the manager report the facts to the police? - The manager reported the facts to the police.
Q. Did any proceedings ensue in that case? - There were proceedings taken and the man was fined I think.
Q. On Thursday, 12th November, 1957, I think you were in No. 3 Glassee face at about 12.30 p.m.? - That is correct.
Q. Did you see anyone there?-At the bottom end of the run I saw [a man] with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
Q. And what did you do when you saw that? - I asked him for the cigarette.
Q. What did he do? - Came and put it out and threw it in the wastes.
Q. Anyone else on that occasion? - I asked the stripper above him if he had seen him smoking, and he denied having seen him.
Q. Did you report that case also to Mr. Reid? -Yes.
Q. What action did Mr. Reid take?- I believe he was dismissed.
Q. I think, Mr. Bell, that you are well aware of the law of evidence in Scotland whereby before any offence of this nature can be proved you must have two witnesses? - That is correct.
Q. Do I take it therefore that when you find a case of smoking your purpose in endeavouring to get corroboration from those who may be in the vicinity is an effort on your part to meet the requirement of the law in that connection ? - Yes.”
57. It is clear that Mr. Bell had had the support of the manager who had himself taken up the matter of contraband with the pit consultative committee as far back as April, 1956, and again in June, 1957, following which he had notices posted to the effect that anybody found in possession of contraband would be dismissed. This evidence convinced me that, whether or not there were any shortcomings on the part of junior officials and searchers, the manager and under-manager had made determined efforts to put an end to smoking. I am also convinced that the men had not given them the support to which I think they were entitled and had, indeed, in some cases been guilty of deliberate obstruction.
58. It would be completely unrealistic not to recognise that the individual who is determined to smoke will be able to smuggle contraband through any system of searching that would be tolerated in this country. I should be doing a disservice to the cause of safety, moreover, if I did not make it quite clear that first and last the responsibility rests on that individual, for whom no words of condemnation are too strong; and in only a slightly less degree on anyone who shields him. That is not to say that searching can be neglected - indeed, it should be applied as rigorously as possible and there should be more snap searches undertaken by two or more appointed persons. It can never be fully effective, however, unless the men themselves make it clear beyond question that they will not tolerate the individual who for his own selfish pleasure is prepared to jeopardise their lives. I do not think this could have been better expressed than it was by Mr. Lamb in his closing address:-
“ We have in the course of this inquiry heard evidence of the loyalty and devotion to their colleagues of the rescue and other workers who were in action shortly after the explosion, and in such actions we see human endeavour rightly directed and at its best. Paradoxically enough, in the course of this inquiry we have also heard evidence concerning much the same body of people which exemplifies loyalty in its most misguided form - I refer to the failure of witnesses of smoking incidents to come forward, to corroborate the incidents concerned. If these people could only be made to realise that staunchness to their colleagues in such matters is utterly misplaced loyalty, and is indeed a gross disservice and represents a potential danger to themselves, to their families, as well as to their fellow workers, we would have gone a long way towards solving the problem of contraband in pits. It is surely not too much to hope that a body of men capable of such noble rescue actions as we have had recounted to us here is capable of realising and keeping in proper perspective the matter of where true loyalty lies in questions of contraband, and if out of the tragedy of this disaster there comes truer understanding of the ultimate responsibility of the individual in this matter there will at least be some positive achievement to set against the appalling toll of human life which was involved.”
Ventilation and Firedamp
59. Evidence was brought to show that complaints had been made on a number of occasions about the temperature and the sluggishness of the air on No. 3 face. Attention was directed .also to the fact that, in spite of this, little was done to reduce the leakage of air mounting to about 8,000 cubic feet per minute between the measuring point in the Mynheer Mine and the faces of No. 3 and No. 4 Units. On the other hand it was pointed out that when the manager investigated, one of the complaints on 22nd November, the methane content was 0.13 percent on the face and 0.26 per cent. in the bottom corner; the temperature 69 degree Fahrenheit wet bulb and 70 Fahrenheit dry bulb; and the volume a little over 5,000 cubic feet per minute, equal to an air velocity of about 140 feet per minute. Moreover, there was evidence that firedamp had never been found by means of a flame safety lamp; and that air samples taken in the return under the requirements of the Coal and Other Mines (Ventilation) Regulations, 1956, had shown no methane in August, 0.02 per cent. in September, 0.39 per cent. In October and nothing again on 8th November. It was submitted on behalf of the management that these results showed the ventilation was adequate.
60. In my view, however, this overlooks the dangers and difficulties inherent in the lay-out of No. 3 Unit. The conditions here were in fact ideal for the collection of a body of gas. It will be seen from Plan No. 1 that the face was advancing at an angle to the full dip of 1 in 2.8. In consequence, as is shown orthographically in Plan No. 3, the waste was rising towards the face and the ventilation, after rising to the main gate roadhead, became descensional along the face. In these circumstances firedamp given off in the waste would flow on to the face and would be extremely difficult to break up and carry away because of its capacity both to persist as a roof layer and to move in opposition to a downhill air current of quite appreciable velocity. Even a small emission, therefore, could quickly lead to a dangerous accumulation. I incline to the view that in relying on a velocity of at the most 140 feet per minute the management underestimated the rate of flow necessary to disperse even the moderate amount of gas needed to account for this explosion.
61. It has been calculated that the primary explosion could have been caused by about 100 cubic feet of methane, a quantity which could have been produced in a matter of minutes by an emission of, say, 15 cubic feet per minute, a by no means unlikely rate in view of the sample taken in October containing 0.39 per cent. In a volume of air of about 4,500 cubic feet per minute. It seems to me, therefore, that even though the danger from firedamp may have seemed remote, an expert appreciation of the situation would have indicated the need for special precautions to ensure either that firedamp .from the waste did not spill over on to the face or that if it did it was diluted and carried away before it could become dangerous. In this context I cannot do better than call attention to the careful analysis of the problems surrounding the practice of descensional ventilation on steep faces published in a recent paper by Mr. J. G. Bromilow (”Descensional and homotropal ventilation” Transactions of the Institution of Mining Engineers, 1958, Vo1. 117, Part 7, pp. 442-455). I recommend that an analysis of this kind should be made before descensional ventilation is adopted on any steep face in future; and should also be made for any such face now in operation.
62. To ensure timely warning of the presence of firedamp, some form of detector is .an essential adjunct to the use of electric safety-lamps. It is to be regretted, therefore, that there was no detector on No. 3 Unit. Men who worked in this unit said they had never been asked Ito carry detectors. On the other hand evidence was given that although detectors were available at the lamp room, and men had been trained in their use, the only persons who would take them out were men working in development headings. I formed the opinion that, as regards the colliery as a whole, the management made a genuine attempt to discharge their obligations under Part III of the Coal and Other Mines (Ventilation) Regulations, 1956, and that a specific approach to the men employed in No. 3 Unit would not have met with any success.
63. I am aware of the difficulties surrounding this matter but make no excuse .for reproducing this extract from my Report on the explosion at Easington Colliery:-
“The function of a firedamp detector is to give timely warning of the presence of firedamp …. Properly used in the proper place it may be the means of saving many lives. It gives a chance and it is tragic if that chance is thrown away. Both men and officials have a duty to see that it is not thrown away …..”
I recommend, therefore, that the National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers, both locally and nationally, should at once use the consultative machinery to discuss and to overcome the difficulties which stand in the way of the proper use by workmen of firedamp detectors. In addition, the National Coal Board should require all officials concerned with technical management to carry firedamp detectors when making inspections in any part of the mine to which the above Regulations apply.
64. Apart from the now well known methods of dust prevention and suppression which were dealt with at length in my report on the explosion at Easington Colliery in 1951, stone dust barriers still remain an essential safeguard against the spread of an explosion by dust raised from conveyors, It is regrettable, therefore, that they were not provided at Lindsay Colliery in accordance with the requirements of the National Coal Board directive on the subject. I do not think that in this case such barriers would have reduced either the spread of the explosion or .the loss of life, but they are such an important safeguard against the potential spread of any explosion that I recommend ‘the National Coal Board to review the wary in which their directive is carried out. In view of recent work on the operation of barriers, such a review should also cover the terms of the directive.
65. In his submission Mr. Moffat drew attention to the fact that several dust samples taken by Mr. Cheesbrough contained less than the 70 per cent incombustible matter required by the Regulations having regard to the volatile matter content of the seam, and that before the explosion samples had not been taken from the floor of the main gate. It is, I think, accepted that samples taken after an explosion in the manner prescribed by the Regulations do, viewed as a whole, give a rough guide to the general composition of the road dust and show no significant variation from the results of samples taken in a similar manner before the explosion. But they cannot be so equated in detail where conveyors are in use, and as the record of the samples taken in No. 3 Unit before the explosion did not show any adverse samples I saw no reason to conclude that stone dusting had not been properly carried out. As regards the omission to take samples from the floor of the main gate, it was said that it was too damp for the dust to be raised into the air and consequently that samples were not required. On this I can only repeat what I said recently in my report on the explosion at Kames Colliery, i.e. that the words dust which can be raised into the air” should be given the widest possible interpretation. I think, too, that it would be useful to repeat the many warnings that have been given in the past about the need to minimise the deposition of coal dust on conveyor roads, and to clear up dust which does in fact accumulate.
66. As the result of the cumulative effect of a number of relatively short delays, a period of some 2.5 hours elapsed between the occurrence of the explosion and the time when the first rescue brigade left the fresh air base. I am satisfied that the delay did not result on this occasion in any loss of life, nor cause suffering, but in other circumstances it could be serious. I was glad, therefore, to have Mr, Hunter’s assurance that the National Coal Board will give careful consideration to the suggestions made during the Inquiry for the improvement of the organisation. As I have already made recommendations to the same end in my report on the explosion at Kames Colliery, I do not propose to say more.
67. Although both the manager and the under-manager impressed me as being able and conscientious men, it seemed to me that they had not been able to imbue their under officials with qualities of a comparable standard. Evidence was given of deputies and shot firers omitting to make tests for firedamp and even failing to carry flame safety-lamps. This evidence in itself was not entirely convincing but as there was also evidence that deputies and overmen failed to cope with the widespread practice of smoking and of jettisoning explosives I was left with little doubt that these officials were not carrying out their duties thoroughly.
68. The nature of these latter malpractices is such, however, that the workmen concerned were at least as much to blame as the officials. In the interests of safety I must emphasise a point that ought to be obvious to any rational man: it is the duty of the workmen just as much as of the officials to observe statutory requirements; and the officials cannot carry out their safety duties in the way they ought unless they have the goodwill and active assistance of the workmen. I do not propose to say more. I have dealt with this problem from a somewhat wider aspect and at greater length in my Report on the explosion at Karnes Colliery.
69. In summary my findings are as follows:-
(1) the initial cause of the explosion was the ignition of firedamp on No. 3 Unit by a match struck for the purpose of smoking;
(2) the firedamp came from the waste in the vicinity of No. 3 Pack over a relatively short period, probably as the result of strata movement following drawing-off operations;
(3) owing to the lay-out, inclination and system of ventilation, the velocity of the air was not high enough to prevent the accumulation of a dangerous quantity of gas even if the rate of emission was only moderate;
(4) the primary explosion of firedamp was extended along the intake gate by the explosion of coal dust derived mainly from the transfer point and from the conveyor; and
(5) it was common knowledge that smoking was widely practised.
VIII. SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
70. My recommendations are as follows :-
(1) (a) Before deciding on the system of ventilation for a steeply inclined face, a careful analysis should be made of the particular circumstances. The National Coal Board should issue instructions to this effect, together ‘with advice about the factors involved and the precautions to be taken.
(b) Conditions on such faces now in operation should be reviewed on the same basis.
(2) (a) The National Coal Board should investigate the way in which their directive dealing with dust barriers is carried out, and should take the opportunity of reminding all managements of the need to minimise the deposition of coal dust on conveyor roads, and to clear up systematically any that may accumulate.
(b) The National Coal Board should consider whether the terms of their directive on dust barriers are still appropriate, having regard to recent work on the operation of such barriers.
(3) (a) The National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers should combine locally and nationally to devise means for ensuring that workmen use firedamp detectors.
(b) All officials in the line of management should be required to carry firedamp detectors when visiting parts of a mine to which Part III of the Coal and Other Mines (Ventilation) Regulations. 1956, applies.
(4) Although the jettisoning of explosives is not causally connected with this explosion, the practice is potentially dangerous and efforts to stop it should be intensified. In particular, cross-checking of the various statutory records should be enforced.
(5) Provision for snap searches, i.e. searches carried out in the mine workings without warning, should be incorporated in every system approved under Section 66 (2) of the Mines and Quarries Act, 1954.
(6) Finally, I will repeat what I said at the end of the Inquiry:
“I must join in the appeals made about contraband. The practice of smoking in safety-lamp mines is not confined to Lindsay. The people who indulge in it are not being brave or clever but are, in fact, showing an utterly irresponsible, callous and selfish disregard for the lives of their fellows and the happiness of their friends and relations. The possible consequences are so appalling that I appeal to the whole mining community - management, Unions, officials, workmen, and if I may, to their womenfolk - to try to stamp out this evil practice”.
71. I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the help and co-operation of the representatives of all parties to the Inquiry and of Mr. W. J. Longley, Clerk of Court. I am particularly indebted to Mr. W. Widdas, H.M. Divisional Inspector of Mines, and his staff; to Mr. H. T. Ramsay, Director of the Safety in Mines Research Establishment, and his staff; and to Mr. W. E. Fitzsimmons for his most valuable help in the preparation of this Report.
I thank also Mr. D. Ogilvie, Chief Surveyor of West Fife Area, National Coal Board, and his staff, for the excellent plans prepared by them for the inquiry.
I have the honour to be, my Lord,
Your Lordship’s obedient Servant.
H. C. W. ROBERTS.
List of Killed and Injured
Name, Age, Occupation
Daniel Anderson, 42, Machineman
Robert Cook, 64, Deputy
John Hughes, 37, Machineman
Thomas Johnstone, 39, Packer
William Masterton, 55, Overman
WiIliam McCuIloch, 55, Packer
Hugh McPherson, 43, Machineman
Bernard Pietrik, 32, Beltman
David Scott, 53, Developer
Robert Condie, 42, Brusher
Samuel Fitzsimmons, 49, Prop Drawer
William Fleetham, 35, Back Brusher
James Hutchison, 49, Brusher
William McAughey, 58, Repairer
Robert McGuinness, 21, Brusher
William Monaghan, 20, Back Brusher
Jan Nitsch, 35, Brusher
John Rowley, 49, Haulage Operator
Da yid Smith, 35, Brusher
Robert Smith, 53, Deputy
List of Witnesses
William Noble, Surveyor
Alan Reid, Deputy
James Rattray, Deputy
William Paris, Overman
George Jackson Fotheringham, Overman
Vincent William McGeorge, Police Constable
William Murray, Detective Constable
Balfour Lindsay, Police Sergeant
David Todd, Police Constable
Archibald Campbell, Stripper
Alfred Howe, Stripper
Robert Condie, Brusher
James Hutchison, Brusher
David Hythe Smith, Brusher
Jan Nitsch, Brusher
Samuel Fitzsimmons, Prop Drawer
William McAughey, Repairer
James Inglis, Pumper
William Fleetham, Back Brusher
William Monaghan, Back Brusher
David O’Donnell, Developer
Alexander Moyes, Developer
Edward Stanley Tungate, Developer
Robert Muirhead, Developer
John Rowley, Haulage Attendant
John Hunter, Bricklayer
Robert Sharp, Bricklayer
Robert William Sutherland Fisher, Developer
Robert Neil McCartney, Brusher
John Keathings, Oncost Worker
Alexander Martin Sneddon, Deputy
Joseph Alexander Chalmers AlIan, Captain No 1 Rescue Team
Robert Reid, Member No 1 Rescue Team
WiIliam Clark Sharp, H.M. Medical Inspector of Mines and Quarries
David Livingstone McKinnon, Area Medical Officer, National Coal Board
Gordon Edwards, Shaftsman-Searcher
John Coutts, Shaftsman-Searcher
Alexander Simpson, Mechanic
Robert Bell Deas, Electrician
John Hutcheson Langlands, Chief Electrical Engineer
George Pryde, Head Lampman
Daniel Wilson, Explosives Man
William Pollock, Safety Officer
Peter McInally, Directed Practical Trainee
Andrew Bell, Under-Manager
William Reid, Manager
James Clement Bailey Haynes, Group Manager
Robert Brian Dunn, Deputy Area Production Manager (Operations)
James Hutcheson, Area Production Manager
George Mullin, Area General Manager (Mr. Mullin also gave evidence as an expert witness on behalf of the National Coal Board.)
Albert Johnston, H. M. Electrical Inspector of Mines and Quarries
Leonard Cheesbrough, H.M. District Inspector of Mines and Quarries
Cyril Sharpe, H.M. District Inspector of Mines and Quarries
William Linton, Overman
Alexander Stevenson, Superintendent, Cowdenbeath Rescue Station
Richard Aisne Bower, H.M. Inspector of Mines and Quarries
Frank Shaw Pollard, H.M. Senior District Inspector of Mines and Quarries
Sydney Jones, Safety in Mines Research Establishment
Granville Poole, Professor Emeritus of Mining
(Plans to be added)