Just over a fortnight, after the 1877 Pit disaster in Blantyre, the Edinburgh Evening News on Tuesday 6th November 1877 (pg2) reported on a case of mistaken identity. Of the worst kind. One of the bodies of the men brought up from the pit had been identified as a particular person, but it turned out to be somebody else entirely.The report stated,
THE BLANTYRE EXPLOSION.
“As time advances, the work of identification is becoming more difficult and more uncertain. Some idea of the difficulties may be had from the fact that it took an hour to bring the last body recovered to the surface. One instance of this occurred yesterday, when Edward Cornfield, Low Blantyre, made his appearance before the police authorities, and complained that he had been entered as among the dead. It has since been ascertained that the body was that of Peter Burns, a miner residing in Dixon’s Row.”
How terrible this must have been not just for Edward and anybody who knew him, but also for the Burns family, who would have had their worst fears confirmed.