Further quotes on # 12 explosion remembered.....
The Company Store
James Bryson McLachlan and the Cape Breton Coal Mines
by: John Mellor , 1983
"The following day a special train left New Waterford carrying the bodies of
eighteen miners in hastily constructed coffins . At Sydney , they were
loaded aboard the steamer ' Kyle ' to be taken home to mourning widows and
children in Newfoundland .The funerals in New Waterford were described in
all their tragic detail by the Sydney Post on July 29,1917.
"....at the Catholic church in the morning , a small inkling could be seen
of the cosmopolitan nature of the town of New Waterford when the relatives
of the dead miners entered the church . First the Italian women with their
black mantilla lace; then the Russians with their burning candles ; the
Belgians with snowy 'kerchief's ' and colored shawls ; English , Scottish
,Irish , and even the Jewish element was represented in the congregation ,
all honoring the dead ....a pathetic incident was the burial of the
foreigners who had no relatives here at all . All were buried in one grave
and around it the people gathered , not curiously , but as if to take away
the lonely feeling ."
3 Generations ,1913 - 1988
by: Ted Boutilier
" Though 90 were believed to have perished at first, 25 of the missing were
found in isolated sections of the mine where they clung to life in air
pockets after deady after-damp began circulating. Two horses in the mine for
three days after the explosion emerged safely as did a German miner who
tapped onto a pipe in an isolated section of the mine and received enough
air to keep gas at bay."
" Acts of heroism were recorded during and after the explosion. One miner,
William Cook, entered the mine nine times to take out injured men before he
was overcome by gas on the last trip .He survived the ordeal but like others
acquired memories that have more than stood the test of time."
From John Mellor's book...pg. 96
There was " public outrage and threats of legal action made by Jim McLachlan
and the newly formed Amalgamated Mineworkers of Nova Scotia...."
** following an investigation of safety issues and wanting
accountability by the mine company...a charge was laid against the company
for causing grievous bodily harm instead of murder because a corporation
could not be charged with murder..What happened next -, following all the
evidence and most of it damning and proving conclusively that the Dominion
Coal Company had shown criminal negligence in the operation of #12 - was a
verdict of not guilty .***
pg. 100 -101
" McLaughlan left the court room a sadder and wiser man."
" The final word in the New Waterford disaster should come not from the
judge , but from Mr. McLaughlan. His daughter , Eve Pemberton , then aged
twelve , arrived home from school the day following the disaster to find her
father in distress :
.....we didn't know Poppa had been one of the volunteers who had entered the
mine after the explosion in a rescue attempt. He had lost a relative whose
name is still on the monument at New Waterford .He brought his body out of
the mine and then returned home . He was all red in the face and gasping for
breath after the gas, and his clothes smelled just awful . I asked him what
the smell was , and I recall he just looked at me so sorrowfully and said"
That smell, Eva , is death for Profits!."
[ Mr. Mellor's quote of a interview he had with Ms. Pemberton ]
Ann [MacDonald ] Batten ]