The Whitwick Colliery Disaster. 19th. April. 1898

Whitwick No.5, Coalville, Leicestershire.

Thirty five killed in an explosion caused by a gob fire.

T'was at the Whitwick Colliery,

In the springtide month of showers

The night shift men were working,

Thorough the long dark dreary hours.

The deputy had been round,

And decided all was right;

While the men were busy working,

Awaiting the morning Light.

But when the man Lind returned,

For that was the Deputy's name,

He found that the state of affairs,

Was not altogether the same.

For on the Intake Main Road,

The gob was all ablaze,

It had been only smouldering,

For many, many days.

At once he knew the peril

That his gallant friends were in;

And that their only chance of air,

Was by a roadway so thin.

So turning to a collier boy,

That accompanied him around,

He said, my Lad go tell the men,

What you and I have found.

The lad then to hurry out of here,

If they wish to save their lives;

And not delay if they hope to see

Their children and their wives.

Away ran the boy to worn the mine,

Before it was too late;

Not thinking that he would have to share,

With them the same sad fate.

But Limb ran along the fiery path,

To the bottom of the mine.

And warned the man that worked the cage,

Top wind them up in time.

Meanwhile the boy had reached the men,

And raised the warning note;

While the smoke and heat in murky clouds,

Along the roads did float,

When the men understood the state of things,

They held a consultation,

For there were two roads to life and air,

But which was the best t be taken?

The majority chose the updraught shaft,

Tp follow the smoke along.

But none escaped that way,

Which proves that they were wrong.

But a few believed the quickest way,

Was by running through the fire;

Yet of the band that made the dash,

Only five reached the world up higher.

They struggled on through the thick black smoke,

With thoughts of their loved ones at home,

But one was overcome by afterdamp,

And they left him to doe alone.

He was an old man, well advanced in years,

His son gripped him by the hand;

But he fainted and had to be left to die,

While his boy escaped with the band.

Weary, exhausted and choking,

They reached safety at length

And gained the surface of the ground,

Nigh destitute of strength.

But what abut the men below?

To them we now must turn;

Will they stay in east at the top,

And leave their mates to burn?

As they are no men to shun duty,

But after a breath of fresh air,

Away they go down the pit again,

To rescue their comrades here.

They reached the bottom of the shaft,

To where their lamps burned dim;

Only to find, I'm sad to tell,

That the roof had fallen in.

And their friends wee shut in with a wall of fire,

Shut fro this world of light;

For that last shift they ever made,

Was so that unlucky night.

The officials and more assistance was called,

To cut through the fiery wall;

For if the men were left tot long

The foul air would kill them all.

They toiled and toiled hour after hour,

To pierce that heated wall;

And as fast as they move done heap,

More of the roof would fall.

Till faint and tired the went above,

And another gang would try;

While the wives and children o the bank,

Continued to weep and cry.

But try as they would they could not get,

To the colliers in the mine;

For the roof fell in and blocked the way,

Though cleared time after time.

Till hopes were all abandoned of clearing that road.,

Their comrades to get put;

And some think the men are by this time dead,

But this tale we still must doubt.

While still in the village for husbands and sons,

The wives and parents weep;

Not knowing whether they are just alive,

Or in their long last sleep.

Oh low we ought to praise the Lord,

That work above the ground

While these poor men are shut below,

From this beautiful world around.

Remember these dear people Lord,

With relations in the mine,

Look on them from thy throne above,

And cause thy face to shine.

Now you dear friend with Life and health,

When down these lines you read,

Think of the little one let behind,

There are eighty six to feed.

For their fathers went down that Whitwick pit,

Top earn their daily bread;

And clothes t keep their children dear,

Abut now alas are dead.

Think you men of your children at home,

Who know a father's love,

These little ones have no father now,

But their heavenly one above.

So send in your copper, and silver and gold,

To support them while they live,

For the Lord will remember all were told,

Who consider the poor and give.