The harrowing stories of the worst mining disasters to ever hit Wales (Wales – December 26, 2017)

More than 6,000 miners are believed have been killed in tragedies down the years

The stories of the most devastating mining disasters to ever hit Wales have been told. In November a poignant ceremony was held in the Rhondda to remember 150 years on from when 178 men and boys died having descended 278 yards below the ground for work at Ferndale and Blaenllechau colliery.

Sadly the disaster is one of a long list of mining disasters that took place across Wales. John Smith runs the extensive research website Welsh Coal Mines and said he, together with another member, was researching every fatal accident ever reported in south Wales.

Mr Smith said the number of miners killed in disasters amounts to “over 6,000” down the years. Using research from the website, which utilises information from newspapers and archives, as well as other sources, here are the stories of the six biggest mining disasters to ever hit Wales.

All of them had more than 150 casualties and it is testament to the fatal nature of such events that Aberfan, when 144 were killed after a waste tip slid down the mountain in 1966, was, according to the site, the eighth most deadly in Welsh history.

When people think of a Welsh mining disaster Senghenydd is often one of the first mentioned, and it’s said the horror of the early 20th century still casts a grim shadow over the nation to this day.

At 8am on October 14, 1913, a huge explosion rocked the tiny town north of Caerphilly. The blast came from the mine belonging to the Universal Colliery, which was the biggest employer in the area. Of the 950 miners who had been below ground that day some 439 were killed, making it the worst disaster in British history.

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