1938 – Staveley Church
Researched by Local Historian Sandra Struggles:
The disaster on Tuesday 10th May 1938 killed 79 men and seriously injured another 40. On Saturday 14th May all seventy nine men were buried in thirteen cemeteries.
At Staveley church fourteen coffins were placed in the chancel for a special service led by Father Harold Dibben. Outside, hundreds lined the streets, shops and cinemas were closed. During the day twenty five men were buried at Staveley Cemetery.
In Staveley Church is a statue of St. Michael and the Dragon. He is the Patron Saint of warriors, the sick and the dying and all those who work in dangerous places. Dedicated in 1961 as a memorial to the miners who died in this disaster, he stands on a piece of coal with the miner’s lamp burning constantly below. He is the Archangel, being of high rank. He is the Angel of Death carrying the souls of the dead miners to heaven. ‘When shadows thick were falling, and all seemed sunk in night, Thou, Lord, didst send thy servants, thy chosen sons of light.’
On Sunday 13th May 2018 at the morning service, attended by some of the relatives, special prayers were said, a wreath was laid and all seventy nine names of the deceased miners were read out to mark the 80th Anniversary of the tremendous loss.