Liverpool F.C. trialist killed at Oxcroft Colliery

November 7, 1930
A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned by the Chesterfield and District Coroner, Dr. R.A. McCrea, who sat with a jury a Oxcroft Colliery Institute on Friday to enquire into the death of James Wild (22), 64 Mansfield Road, Clowne, who was killed by a fall of roof in No. 23 Gate, while following his employment at Oxcroft Colliery on Wednesday last.

James Wild funeral 4

There were also present Mr. James Young (representing Oxcroft Colliery Company), Mr. J. Spencer (the Derbyshire Miners’ Association), and Mr. J. Hall (H.M. Inspector of Mines).

Evidence of identification was given by John Henry Pettinger, 64 Mansfield Road, Clowne, brother-in-law of the deceased, who said he last saw Wild alive in the pit bottom on Tuesday night about 20 minutes to 10, when he was in a normal state of health.

Anthony Webster (34), 38, Bentinck Road, Shuttlewood, said on the night of the accident he was at work in No. 23 Gate with Samuel White. They had finished cutting at 23 Gate end and were getting the machine out to load on a drug, when Wild came up and spoke to them. He had only been there a short time when the fall occurred.

When the fall took place they were plunged into darkness by the burying of two of their lamps and the knocking out of the other. My feet were pinned to the floor by part of the fall. “I freed myself and went and shut off the machine, which was still running, and shouted for assistance, which was still running, and shouted for assistance. White shouted for help, but I heard nothing from deceased.

“I then went for help, and on returning after informing the deputy, I saw my mate but could see nothing for Wild. On being asked where the fall was from, witness said it was from the roof in the Gate; the size of the fall would be about seven feet by seven, and would weigh between three and four tons.”

Mr. Hall: Had the deputy been through the Gate? – Yes, he came through about half an hour before the accident.
Did he inspect it? – Yes.
Was there a prop set in the Gate? – Yes, about two feet from the lip.
Do you remember if the prop was knocked out? – I did not notice.

Mr. Spencer: Was the deceased working regularly in the Gate with you? – No, he had been working in another Gate.
Did you see any slips? – No, it seemed to be quite sound.

Percy Gaunt (30), Braeside, Barlboro, a deputy, said he was on the night shift of November 4th. He examined 23 Gate at about 1.15 a.m. and it was all right; it was quite normal. The fall was reported to him about 1.30 a.m.

When he arrived at the fall he found that two men were buried under it, and every effort was made to get them out. To relieve Wilde, some of the fall had to be moved.

Mr. Hall: Had you a small fault slip crossing the gate?
Witness: Yes, it was on the right hand side.
Had there been any props set? – Yes, one was set near the lip.
Can you now see any more slips? – Yes, there is one crossing the gate.

Did you notice it before the accident? – No.
Dr. McCrea: Do you think everything was done to prevent an accident? – Yes, I do.

Dr. McCrea said Wild stopped for a moment and it was then the fall happened, burying Wilde and White. The deputy had been in the gate only half an hour before, and thought the conditions satisfactory.

A verdict as stated above was returned by the jury, who expressed their sympathy with the deceased’s relatives.

Mr. James Young, for the colliery, expressed his sympathy with the relatives as did Mr. J. Spencer for the Derbyshire Miners’ Welfare.

The funeral
The funeral took place at Clowne Churhyard on Saturday. The sad event evoked many expressions of sympathy for the bereaved widowed mother, whose husband was one of the victims of the Southgate Colliery cage disaster 19 years ago.

The deceased, who showed much promise as a footballer, was a prominent half-back of the Clowne Schoolboys team and of the North-East Derbyshire Schoolboys Eleven, and received his inter-county cap at the age of 13.

He signed for Worksop Town during the 1927-28 season, and remained with the Tigers until the end of last season, when the club went into liquidation.

He had four trials with Liverpool, and other clubs were also seeking his signature. During the present season he had assisted the Oxcroft Welfare F.C., and although the club were anticipating his departure to better class football, they little dreamt they would lose his services under such traffic circumstances.

James Wild funeral 1 James Wild funeral 2 James Wild funeral 3
(Source: Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Advertiser: November 15, 1930)

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