Blood on the Coal – Part 10

Continuing the story of Auchinraith Pit Disaster which happened on Saturday 30th August 1930. Continued from Part 9 yesterday. Today we’re again looking at the funerals of the victims and how this affected the community in Blantyre.

The four Silver bands played appropriate music and the weird notes of the piper’s lament seemed to lend an eerie feeling as the funeral processions passed along the route. The bands participating were Blantyre Silver Band, the Auchinraith Silver Band, the Salvation Army Band and the St Joseph’s Silver band.

The procession was representative of all classes, religions and creeds in Blantyre and included in its ranks, Mr Robert Smillie and noted miners’ leader Mr Joseph Sullivan MP for Bothwell, Mr Alexander Hunter President of the Lanarkshire Miners’ Union, Paul McKenna Vice President, County Councillors James Toner, George Stewart, John Richardson and George S Barr. Also attending was Mr J.S Dunn, Chairman of Merry & Cunningham Coalmasters, John Hogg the General Manager and Mr. J.S Masterton Chief Inspector of the mines. The senior classes from all the schools were marshalled by the teachers on various parts of the route.

The Youngest Victim

The hearse containing the coffin of Andrew Kallinsky the youngest victim headed the procession. Within the house at Merry’s Rows where he resided with his widowed mother, a brief service was conducted and it was possible in the dead silence which reigned outside the little home to hear the voice of the minister reciting prayers. The coffin was taken out of the window and carefully placed within the hearse and at the end of the row the hearse took up its place behind the long procession of miners who marched four or five deep behind the Blantyre Silver Band.

Religions came together. As a token of their sympathy with the relatives of the victims, the local divisions of the Ancient Order of Hibernians who had a parade scheduled that day in advance, reversed their regalia, wearing black on the outside, (instead of the usual brilliant green). The bands remained silent with all their flags and banners drooping. The token was a simple and appropriate one and created a very favourable impressions by all.

Slowly, each funeral met up, with crowds of 10,000 each swelling in numbers as each of the five funerals joined the one group. The procession then wound its way along Auchinraith Road to the junction of Craig Street when another mourning group waited behind the hearse containing the remains of Richard Dunsmuir. Then, growing ever larger the gathering proceeded to Auchinraith Terrace where the hearse and crowds following Richard Sprott joined them.

Towering above the tiny row was the sinister structure of Auchinraith colliery where the disaster had happened. When they arrived on Main Street, the hearse containing Richard King fell in behind the procession and they all made their way a short distance to the High Blantyre Cemetery.

These photos shows the funerals meeting up at the top junction of Craig Street and Auchinraith Road. Children line the playground in the school.

Continued on Final Part 11 tomorrow….

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