Stoke & Staffordshire

Service for 156 Staffordshire mine disaster victims

Halmer End Methodist Church Image copyright Halmer End Methodist Church
Image caption An afternoon service was held at Halmer End Methodist Church

A service has taken place to remember 156 victims of a coal mine disaster in a Staffordshire village.

An explosion ripped through Minnie Pit in Halmer End on 12 January 1918, with 44 of those killed aged under 16.

A service of remembrance was held at Halmer End Methodist Church, which also had an exhibition related to the disaster and the coal mining industry.

Senior church steward David Rowley said the day was organised because of the "bond amongst mining communities".

He said that was "very special" and it was that bond "which we think brings people together in an act of remembrance like this one".

'Feelings still strong'

In 1918, 405 miners were employed underground and 248 were working below the surface on the morning of 12 January.

An inquiry into the disaster found the explosion had been caused by a build up of methane gas in two of the pit's main seams.

The exhibition was held in the church hall on Sunday to remember the 156 men and boys.

Mr Rowley said: "I think when you think of youngsters who are that age now in school and college, it just brings it home.

"Most families in the village would have either lost a member or members of their family or would know other families that lost someone.

"It left 67 widows and 132 dependants so it's not surprising that feelings are still strong about the disaster with so many people in the village and other surrounding areas remembering those who died."

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