Kingston author looks back at one of the greatest disasters in Canadian history – by Peter Hendra (Kingston Whig Standard – October 2023)

Sixty-five years ago, in the tiny coal-mining town of Springhill, N.S., a mini-earthquake — what they called a “bump” — in the No. 2 mine took the lives of 75 people, making it one of the worst workplace disasters in Canadian history.

While he was born and lives in Kingston, Ken Cuthbertson, the author of the just-published “Blood on the Coal: The True Story of the Great Springhill Mine Disaster,” has roots in Nova Scotia and remembers his grandparents talking about the Halifax Explosion of 1917 and Springhill, a story that had captured the nation’s attention.

One of the reasons Cuthbertson — who’d previously written about the Halifax Explosion — was intrigued by the Springhill Mine disaster was that, while 75 miners died, 19 survived, and one of them, Harold Brine, was still alive.

“He never really told his story,” Cuthbertson said, adding that Brine was one of the most unselfish people he’d ever met and was unencumbered by his past. “There have been a couple of other books written about the Springhill Mine disaster, but nobody ever asked him.”

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