The Heroes of Blantyre

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Blantyre, Lanarkshire, ScotlandBlantyre History of Mining

Saturday 21 January 1905,  The Evening Post,
Angus, Scotland

The Heroes of Blantyre

The Lass Who Loved a Miner

Stirring Story of the Great Mining Catastrophe.

Priestfield RowsThe Heroes of Blantyre! The very title of the new story about to appear in the “Red Letter” will instantly revive vivid memories of one the blackest days in the story of our mining industry.

In the melancholy record of colliery catastrophes the Blantyre Disaster stands out as one of the most appalling. Even with the lapse of years the recollection of that October morning, when over two hundred brave toilers perished in Nos. 2 and 3 Pits at High Blantyre, have not been obliterated from public memory. And for generations to come the story will be told by the firesides of the miners of Lanarkshire and far beyond it. It is not necessary here to relate the heartrending details of a calamity so well remembered, which cut off for ever two hundred of the flower of Lanarkshire miners from those near and dear to them.

Choke-damp! To a miner that one word expresses the whole terrible story of the disaster. Poisonous choke-damp, creeping, creeping through the galleries, and laying great strong men to rest for ever with its deadly breath. Think how many fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, heard with bated breath the dreaded words. “Choke-damp,” and you can form some faint notion of what the disaster meant in tears, wrecked homes, and broken hearts. An eye witness has given us a picture of Blantyre that black Tuesday morning, which even now cannot be read without emotion “In Ihe village of High Blantyre the voice of mourning fell upon the ear from almost every house. Men stood at the doors, bowed down with sorrow; women, their faces swollen with crying, wandered about the streets refusing to be comforted, or sat in their houses moaning out the bitter grief of their shattered hearts. “At Priestfield Row about half-way between No 2. and 3 Pits, there rose for hours this black Tuesday morning one continuous chorus of weeping and lamentation. Through the windows women were seen with their faces buried in their hands, swaying their bodies to and fro and crying with bitterness for which there was no relief. A sharp shriek of anguish from time to time broke the monotone of grief which rose from the stricken community, and the listener turned away, unable to bear more.

But who can describe the sufferings of the men shut off from the fresh air of heaven, and in the grip of their mortal foe! Down in the darkness they fought their last grim fight. What strainings of hope for aid were there! What prayers for the dear ones they feared to leave behind! And then the last farewells to comrades in the gloom. and the final unspoken thoughts that flew to wives and children and sweethearts before the stillness death fell on all.

Yet, amidst all the soul-stirring pathos this dire calamity there stands out conspicuously record of heroism and self-sacrificing devotion that sheds lustre on human nature.

No sooner did the news of the accident spread than men crowded round miners like the men below, warm-hearted, brave, and strong of limb, and skilful at their work anxious, every one of them to do or dare for the sake of saving life. There was no task, however perilous, which human energy could perform, for which there were not more than a sufficient number of volunteers. And during these days of agonising suspense deeds of heroism were performed in and around that coalpit shaft such as were never excelled on any battlefield in history.

The pathetic and heroic incidents of this lamentable disaster are graphically pictured in the new story, “The Heroes of Blantyre.” It is a story which deals with the romantic career of one of those brave miners and his true-hearted sweetheart. It is fascinating romance, but it more than that you will find in scenes that will bring tears of pity, incidents that will make your heart beat faster, and a true pen picture of the miner’s lot in his home life.

As story of mining life, “The Heroes of Blantyre” has never been surpassed. You will read with present enjoyment, and look back on it with pleasure.

For Opening Chapters of this Stirring Story see THE RED LETTER of Wednesday First. Of all Newsagents Price One Penny.

~~~

If you have any Photos… Send them to Bill

Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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