Home > Memories > Arthur Gill And Thomas Marne Have Moved Me

Arthur Gill And Thomas Marne Have Moved Me

TWO MEN KILLED IN DURHAM PIT EXPLOSION ran the front page headline in the Sunderland Echo published on Monday, November the 14th 1932.

There were several heroes involved but above all it was the actions of Mr Gill and  Mr Thomas Marne that have especially impressed and moved me.

Arthur Gill was 22 or 23 years old and had married just a month earlier. There were two explosions and although the first one almost knocked Mr Gill out cold he was able to shout to  John Thomas Nattress to telephone for help. He also told him that he was going to look for his mate William Timmins and try and get him away from danger.

William Timmins [of 5 East Terrace] was in his early thirties and married with three children. He had only just returned to the pit after a month of sickness. Tragically he was killed in the second explosion as was Arthur Gill.

Thomas Marne, a deputy overman, had been the first to arrive. He took his muffler from his neck, soaked it in water from a bottle and placed it over his mouth and nose. After tremendous efforts he brought Arthur Gill out and tried artificial respiration on him but Gill was dead. He then tried to reach Timmins but was driven back by gas on several occasions.

Other colliery personnel involved in the rescue attempt included:

Brooke Hurst, a hewer of Esh Winning;  Charles Seed, deputy overman of  Ushaw Terrace; Frederick Hutchinson, hewer of Ushaw Terrace; Christopher Parks, stoneman of Dale Terrace; and Richard Francis, putter, of South View, Ushaw Moor. The spellings of names on this list are taken on trust.

Additional notes:

Despite several sources indicating that the spelling Timmons is appropriate I tend to think that the spelling Timmins is probably correct because the 1911 census has a William Timmins, aged about 10, living at 34 Hepworth Street New Brancepeth in the houshold of father James [born Cornsay] and Margaret Timmins  [born Stanley Co. Durham]. It further states that there were nine children but very sadly four were lost before they got started; such deaths were far from uncommon at that time.

In the case of Mr Gill it looks like he was living with his family in Esh Winning at the time of the 1911 census. As an aside his father was born in Stanley and his mother in Cornsay thus a family origin  opposite to that of Mr Timmins parents.

Needless to say corrections are most welcome.








Categories: Memories
  1. wiseram
    May 30, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Sad recollection – my g g grandfather was a sad mining accident too

    Individual Summary:Jackson Wilkinson

    Birth:”09 Nov 1845 in Bacup Lancashire England; Garden SquareBacupLancashire”
    Residence:”1851 in Spotland Lancashire England”
    Residence:”1861 in 7 Vienna Street Leeds Yorkshire England”
    Residence:”1871 in Central Street Helmington Row Auckland Durham England; Age: 25; Relation: Head”
    Residence:”1881 in 42 Wooley Terrace Crook and Billy Row Auckland Durham England”
    Residence:”1891 in Crook and Billy Row Durham England”
    Residence:”1901 in 29 South Terrace Brandon and Byshottles Durham England”
    Residence:”02 Apr 1911 in 29 South Terrace Esh Winning Durham Esh Durham England”
    Occupation:”23 Jan 1914 in Esh Winning Durham England; Was a (Miner) Deputy
    Overman he completed the shift and went home that evening feeling unwelland died the following morning”
    Death:”24 Jan 1914 in South Terrace Esh Winning Durham”
    Burial:”27 Jan 1914 in Parkwood CemetaryWaterhousesDurham”

    Marriage:”03 Dec 1867 in Aukland Durham England”
    Children:Susannah Wilkinson
    Isabella Wilkinson
    Martha Ann Wilkinson
    John Wilkinson
    Samuel Wilkinson
    William Wilkinson
    George Wilkinson
    Sarah Jane WILKINSON
    Thomas Wilkinson


    Person Notes:”Died following a mining ‘accident

    Was a (Miner) Deputy Overman he completed the shift and went home that
    evening feeling unwelland died the following morning

    Part of deceased’s district were workings in a seam 20 inches thick It was
    worked longwall height being made in the gate roads which were 12 yards
    apart by shooting up bottom Pitsea powder was the explosive used and
    the shots were fired at night and cleared away by the first shift hewers
    Three heavy shots were fired between 8 and 10 pm on the night of 20th
    January Deceased made an inspection previous to admitting the first shift
    hewers at 4 am on 21st January During the shift a hewer went home and
    another complained of bad air and deceased told the undermanager that at
    the time he made his inspection the explosive fumes had not cleared away
    On the evening of the 22nd January he complained of feeling unwell and
    said he thought he had strained himself during the day On the 23rd January
    he went home from work at the end of his shift exceedingly ill In the
    evening he was seen by a doctor who found him suffering from acute
    congestion of the lungs; and from this he died at 6 am on the 24th January
    An inquest following a post-mortem was held and the medical evidence
    was to the effect that such extensive and rapid congestion could only have
    been caused by an irritant in the lungs The jury found accordingly and that
    fumes breathed in the pit were the cause of the congestion and death

  2. wilfb
    May 30, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you for this very detailed but very sad account. As an almighty aside it will be a walk in the park next season wiseRAM (my bit of uppercase). Pearson the miracle man.

  3. wiseram
    May 30, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Yes – hopefully, Powell as his assistant too.

  4. May 31, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    William Timmins was my Grandmother Turnbull’s brother, he two other sisters Kate and Jane as well as a brother George who was killed on his eighteenth birthday at the battle of the Somme., My grandparents lived next door to ‘noodles29’ at 37 Victoria Court

    • Berta Heffernan
      August 21, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      Peter please would you get in touch with me urgently? I’m on Facebook. Berta Heffernan x

  5. August 25, 2016 at 7:56 am

    I have contacted Berta. Thank you Ushaw Moor Memories

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