ON THIS DAY: 52 miners remembered in double Doncaster pit tragedy

The memorial to the lost miners.
The memorial to the lost miners.

The month of November is always one of sorrow and mourning in the proud mining village of Bentley.

For it was in that month in both 1931 and 1978 that dozens of men lost their lives in two tragic mining accidents.

52 men died in the tragedies which were years, but only one day apart on the calendar.

52 men died in the tragedies which were years, but only one day apart on the calendar.

On November 20, 1931 at approximately 5.45pm, an explosion of firedamp at the colliery resulted in the death of 45 men and boys.

The youngest victim was a lad of 17. One miner was working in another part of the mine just before the explosion. Having come up to the surface, he immediately volunteered to join the rescue parties. He went down, where he found his own son lying unconscious.

He dragged him out, so that he could be taken to hospital, but it was the last time he saw him alive.

If that wasn’t enough, 47 years later and almost to the day, tragedy struck again on November 21, 1978.

The cost of winning coal often paid a heavy price.

The cost of winning coal often paid a heavy price.

An underground train crash resulted in the deaths of seven men, while nineteen others were injured.

A paddy train, used to shuttle the miners and haul coal, crashed at speed and derailed.

Each November, the lives of the 52 men killed are commemorated with an service at Arksey Cemetery where a memorial is erected.

Every year, locals gather to remember the victims.

Every year, locals gather to remember the victims.

A paddy train, similar to this, derailed, causing the 1978 tragedy.

A paddy train, similar to this, derailed, causing the 1978 tragedy.

Bentley Colliery in its heyday.

Bentley Colliery in its heyday.

Flowers are laid at the memorial every year.

Flowers are laid at the memorial every year.

52 men died across the course of the two tragedies.

52 men died across the course of the two tragedies.

The newspaper report of the tragedy.

The newspaper report of the tragedy.

Anxious crowds await news of relatives.

Anxious crowds await news of relatives.