GLYNEA. Glynea, Carmarthenshire. 18th. October, 1913.

The colliery was the property of The Glynea and Castle Coal and Brick Company, Limited. At about 10.30 a.m., an explosion of firedamp caused by a blown out shot of “Swalite” burned nine men so severely that eight of them died from their injuries over the next two weeks.

The colliery consisted of two shafts sunk to the Bushey seam which lay at a depth of 130 yards. The ventilation was produced by a Waddle fan, 21 feet in diameter which ran at 45 r.p.m. and had a capacity of 50 to 60,000 cubic feet of air per minute at a water gauge of five-eighths of an inch. Locked safety lamps were used throughout the mine. The seam that were worked were the Fiery, Bushey and Golden seams which dipped at 20 to 31 degrees to the horizontal to the north. The Bushey seam was worked from a slant at the level of the shaft bottom. The Golden seam was won by means of a cross measure drift to the north and the Fiery seam from cross measure drifts also to the north from the headings in the Golden seam. All the seams were more or less damp.

The explosion occurred in the Fiery seam which was 4 feet thick and worked at 1,200 yards from the shaft. The workings were on the pillar and stall system and consisted of two levels about 50 yards apart, connected at intervals at 10 to 12 yards by top holes to the rise of the lower heading. The air current traversed the lower headings and top holes first and then entered the upper heading from a top hole which had been holed into it. The face of the upper heading was about 16 yards in advance of this connection.

The air was prevented from passing outbye along the upper heading which was a return airway, by a brattice sheet hung across the entire width of the roadway, a yard or two outbye of the top hole on the rise side of the heading about 5 to 6 feet inbye of the top hole airway and therefore the heading face and a top hole which had been commenced within 5 yards of the face, were not ventilated by any current of air.

The accident occurred at the new top hole, about 4 feet to the rise near the heading face. A shot hole, 3 feet to 3 feet 6 inches deep had been bored in the coal face about 6 inches below the roof and 6 inches away from the right-hand coal rib. The hole was directed rather to the solid than over the holing beneath the coal which had been undercut about 3 feet 6 inches along the floor of the top hole for its entire width of 4 feet 7 inches. The hole was stated to have been charged with two or three cartridges of Swalite and stemmed, it was said, by clay. One of the deceased, a certificated fireman, and an authorised shotman, fired the shot electrically from outbye of the brattice near the airway top hole and the collier who worked in the top hole was at his side. The firing of the shot was immediately followed by an explosion of firedamp which burned nine men who were out of the heading. Seven were thought to have been eating their food and had left their workplaces for this purpose. Two men remained at work in the third top hole and were not injured. The explosion did not traverse any of the top holes and its effects were limited to about 150 yards of the heading. Coal dust did not appear to have played any part in the accident but there were some signs of blackening on the timbers.

The injured men were quickly taken to the surface and first aid was rendered and then they were either taken home or to Llanelli Hospital. Only one of them recovered.

The men who died were:

  • William Price aged 39 years, collier,
  • Oliver Thomas aged 21 years, trammer,
  • David John aged 38 years, fireman,
  • Daniel Price aged 53 years, collier,
  • Henry Mainwaring aged 52 years, collier,
  • Thomas Hopkins aged 43 years, collier,
  • John Edwards aged 32 years, trammer.

The explosion was caused by the bowing out of the shot and igniting firedamp which was present in the roof of the heading at the mouth of the top hole and also a train of gas which lay along the upper side of the roadway to the rippings near the face.


The Mines Inspectors Report 1913. Mr. Atkinson.

Information supplied by Ian Winstanley and the Coal Mining History Resource Centre.

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