BA-15 Mavis Valley

Funeral Procession from Mavis Valley to Cadder

At 3pm on Sunday 3rd August 1913, fireman Charles Reilly led a small team of 25 miners down Cadder pit 15, one of several mines north of the Forth and Clyde canal berween Lambhill and Bishopbriggs owned by the Carron Iron Works of Falkirk. Pit 15 was about ½ mile west of Pit 17. Eight men went to the western number 2 machine section, two men to the pumps at the extreme north of the pit; the remaining men were sent to number 1 machine section on the east side of the mine.
Around 6pm Reilly noticed a smell of smoke. He warned the men in number 2 section then crossed the width of the mine to warn those in number 1. He then sacrificed his own chance of escape by going north to warn the men at the pumps. 12 of the 15 men in number 1 tried to escape but went towards the fire by mistake. 3 others, Michael Keenan, Robert Dunbar and Felix O’Neill, went to collect personal belongings and found the connecting road to pit 17 and safety. One man, Michael McDonald, was found unconscious in a dip in the floor and eventually recovered. All the others died of carbon monoxide poisoning in various parts of the mine. 15-year old pony driver Owen McAloon was found with his arms round his dead pony’s neck.
The alarm was given on the surface at about 8pm but the fire could not be extinguished. The air current was reversed from no 17 and eventually the air was cleared enough for rescue parties to go down although by that time only Michael McDonald remained alive.
50,000 people gathered in Glasgow for the funerals of the victims which took place on Wednesday 6th August. The procession for the 11 Roman Catholics went to St. Agnes Church, Lambhill, while services for 7 Protestants took place at Mavis Valley then Cadder cemetery with others elsewhere in the city.
The Inspector of Mines Inquiry began on 22nd September and was marked by strenuous attempts by the mine owners to show that the fire was caused by a naked light dropped by a miner However, it was noted by witnesses that several failings of management could have contributed; furthermore there was no modern breathing apparatus or standby rescue team as required by law.
Families were given £10 immediately and widows and children supported thereafter for some years but where there was no man to replace the dead miner they were evicted from their homes.
The dead men were Hugh Anderson, Charles Armstrong, Cuthbert Bell, brothers John, Alexander and William Brown, Patrick Darragh, George Davidson, Patrick Duffin, Andrew Dunbar, James Flynn, George Harvey, Thomas Holland, Owen McAloon, Hugh McCann, Alexander Macmillan, George Macmillan, brothers Robert and William Ramsay, Patrick Regan, Charles Reilly and John Worthington.

Carol Primrose, East Dunbartonshire’s Heritage & History Forum


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