|One hundred years ago
||[Aug. 13th, 2016|06:55 pm]
Early on the morning of Sunday 13th August 1916, there was an explosion underground at Woodhorn Colliery in Northumberland. Because it was overnight on Sunday, only the maintenance shift was working, so only thirteen men - three stonemen, two putters and eight deputies - were killed. Only thirteen. It isn't one of the famous mining disasters: that "only" is more bearable when set alongside the 204 men and boys who died at Hartley, for example. Ir isn't immortalised in song, like Trimdon Grange, where 74 died. I wouldn't have known about it, had we not taken GirlBear to Woodhorn Musrum, and seen the memorial.
Still, thirteen men dead. There's so much commemoration going on at the moment about the appalling slaughter of the Somme, and the impact on local communities - and it deserves to be remembered. But something very similar was a permanent part of life in mining communities.
The Chronicle tells the story of Tamar Armstrong, who felt the earth tremble and was alarmed for her boyfriend, rather than for her father who was also underground - and how guilty she felt about that first reaction, especially when her boyfriend survived, later to be her husband, while her father was killed - and so was his brother. I had to fill in a mini questionnaire to read the article, but it was worth it.