1938 – Hargreaves, Leslie
1938 – Leslie Hargreaves, Contractor, 23
Leslie Hargreaves of 5 North Crescent Duckmanton was single but had a sweetheart. He was buried at Duckmanton with his father and brother, Herbert Jnr.
On Monday night, 9th May, Herbert Hargreaves Snr. and his sons Herbert Jnr. and Leslie left their home and walked down the hill together to the pit ready to start the night shift. Next morning, Mrs Rosetta Hargreaves looked out of her kitchen window to see if she could see them coming up the hill and get the breakfast on. That morning they didn’t come. The news that all three had been killed caused tremendous suffering and Mrs Hargreaves and her daughter, Irene, moved out of the village.
Family History (Researched by Paul Burkitt):
The Hargreaves family, along with the Grainger family, were the families that suffered the most in the 1938 disaster. Herbert Hargreaves Snr, and sons, Herbert Hargreaves Jnr and Leslie Hargreaves were all killed. Herbert Hargreaves Snr and his two sons had all worked at Markham Colliery as contractors.
The plight of the Hargreaves family was widely reported in various newspapers.
On the day of the disaster, 10 May 1938, the ‘Yorkshire Evening Post’ reported the following:
Arranged a Whit Wedding
‘One family, named Hargreaves were waiting for news this afternoon concerning their father, Herbert Hargreaves, his son Herbert, aged 26, and other son, Leslie, aged 23. The elder son was to have married at Whitsuntide, and had completed arrangements for building a bungalow overlooking the colliery’
On the 11th May 1938 the ‘Daily Herald’ reported the following:
‘Saddest of all homes in the grief-stricken area last night was that of Mrs Hargreaves of North-crescent, Duckmanton. Her husband, Herbert Hargreaves aged 48, and two sons, Herbert, aged 26, and Leslie, aged 23, all died in the disaster. The elder son was to have married at Whitsun to Miss Sylvia Wooledge, aged 23, of Hollywell-terrace, Chesterfield, whom he had courted for three years’
On the same day the ‘Derby Daily Telegraph’ reported the following:
Father, Sons Dead.
“There was no rest in the home of the Hargreaves, of North Crescent, Duckmanton. Herbert Hargreaves, the father, Herbert Hargreaves (26) and Leslie Hargreaves (23), the only sons, were reported among the dead. Mrs Hargreaves, with tears in her eyes told a “Telegraph” representative: “This is worse than war. We were all at the pictures in Chesterfield last night and the man who came back in the car with us is dead too”. With Mrs Hargreaves was Miss Sylvia Wooledge (19), of Chesterfield, who was planning with Herbert the son, to get married at Whitsun. They had decided to live in Duckmanton, where Herbert could be near his work.”
On the 12 May 1938 the ‘Sheffield Independent’ reported the following:
“When he knocked on the door of Mrs. Hargreaves, 5, North Crescent, Duckmanton, it was opened by a slim 19-year-old girl. She had lost her father, Herbert Hargreaves (48), her brothers, Herbert Hargreaves (26) and Leslie Hargreaves (23). There is only mother and me left now” she said. “I have been training to become a dancing instructress, and I shall carry on with my work”
The funeral took place on Saturday 14 May 1938, after the coffins of all three Hargreaves had rested in Duckmanton Church overnight. All three were interned in one grave.
A year after the disaster relatives placed an ‘In Memoriam’ notice in The ‘Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald
“Hargreaves – In loving memory of HERBERT (father) and HERBERT and LESLIE sons, killed in the Markham Explosion May 10th 1938
“Death divides, but memories cling”. From Wife and Daughter Irene.