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Mine Exploration Forum

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Author fatality @ matlock bath
historytrog

Joined: 02/03/2009

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 09/01/2016 09:09:09
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In view of the more detailed info from Catch 22, I will again revise the account of this accident to make it clear that the rock was not dislodged by Leslie Wheeler. This well illustrates the difficulty of getting to the true facts - and also the remarkable amount of knowledge that can be tapped into on this website. IP: 94.72.252.35
rufenig

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Joined: 18/03/2008
Location: Shropshire Hills

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 09/01/2016 10:56:12
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Presumably there is a coroners report on the incident. That "should" have the truth but I do not know about accessibility.
There will be newspaper reports BUT remember the old guidelines.
"Don't spoil a good story with the truth!"
IP: 146.199.27.227
historytrog

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 11/01/2016 09:21:45
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I am trying to come up with a brief account of this traumatic accident that is both factually accurate and not offensive to anyone. I hope that this revised version is acceptable. If not, then it can be amended again.

“The outcome has been the tragic deaths of two explorers here in separate collapses. On 26 August 1976, a group of eight children had been taken underground to collect mineral specimens. After a few minutes, one of the leaders was chipping at the wall of Chaos Cavern when a rock of about ten tons weight fell on and instantly killed Leslie Wheeler, aged 16, who lived in a Social Services home at Wolverhampton.”


Another sensitive matter that must be covered in the book is the tragic death of Jimmy Duncan while working in Banks & Barton’s Cromford Court Mine in 1958. I have relied on numerous newspaper articles for coverage of this. Of course, Joe Banks would not discuss it with me, for obvious reasons. Is there anyone who has any personal recollections or interest relating to this?
IP: 94.72.252.34
rufenig

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 11/01/2016 10:21:07
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historytrog
You have a PM>
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historytrog

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 12/01/2016 09:39:45
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I have received some private messages with suggestions as to alterations in the account of the 1976 accident. Not wishing to be contraversial in this matter, I now submit a revised version:

“The outcome has been the tragic deaths of two explorers here in separate collapses. On 26 August 1976, a group of eight youngsters had been taken underground to collect mineral specimens. After a few minutes, chipping at the wall of Chaos Cavern dislodged a rock of about ten tons weight that fell on and instantly killed Leslie Wheeler, aged 16, who lived in a Social Services home at Wolverhampton.”
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JohnnearCfon

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 12/01/2016 11:55:16
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historytrog wrote:

I have received some private messages with suggestions as to alterations in the account of the 1976 accident. Not wishing to be contraversial in this matter, I now submit a revised version:

“The outcome has been the tragic deaths of two explorers here in separate collapses. On 26 August 1976, a group of eight youngsters had been taken underground to collect mineral specimens. After a few minutes, chipping at the wall of Chaos Cavern dislodged a rock of about ten tons weight that fell on and instantly killed Leslie Wheeler, aged 16, who lived in a Social Services home at Wolverhampton.”


I know nothing of this event, however, your latest version again seems to imply that it was Leslie Wheeler who was doing the chipping. That is how I read it anyway, possibly not how you meant it to read?
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robnorthwales

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 12/01/2016 12:21:24
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It seems to imply that the chipping caused the rock to fall.

Might I suggest that the coroner's report (if available) is consulted as to the wording that should be used.

If the report is not available, and if no definitive proof can be shown as to cause and effect, might "Whilst rock chipping was taking place, a large rock fell, striking and instantly killing ..."

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royfellows

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 12/01/2016 12:59:07
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Yes

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historytrog

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 14/01/2016 09:15:05
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As far as I am aware, Coroner’s reports from this era are not readily available. I can see no listing of them at the Derbyshire Record Office. I have gone through my files to get the Derbyshire Times reports of the incident and now use their wording to make the final version, which is as below.

"On 26 August 1976, a group of eight boys aged from eight to sixteen from a Social Services home at Wolverhampton were taken into these workings ‘to chip rock samples’. While doing this in Chaos Cavern, a boulder weighing about ten tons fell from the roof without warning. It struck a volunteer helper a glancing blow but landed on Leslie Wheeler, aged 16, and instantly killed him. The inquest verdict was ‘Death by Misadventure’."
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catch22

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 14/01/2016 19:35:02
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Hi. my name is David (catch22) and I was one of the children in the cave/mine on Thursday 26th of August 1976 the day of the terrible accident, I was nearly 14 at the time. No disrespect to you as you are getting your information second hand, but the Derbyshire Times account is totally flawed. it was not 8 boys as my sister was also there and only one person was from a Social Services home and that was LESLIE WHEELER(R.I.P) I also think our group was 8 in total including our adult staff. As I have said before the large boulder which was oblong in shape, came away high up from the wall and not from the roof, if it had come from the roof, the cave guide and our youth leader would have been killed also. As the boulder came down somebody shouted a warning and one of our staff tried to pull Leslie away, but the boulder struck his hand and in an instant Leslie was killed. Is there anybody out there who was also in the cave/mine that day or people who came to retrieve the body, like to add anything to this forum. regards IP: 82.40.172.233
historytrog

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 15/01/2016 09:26:29
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Thank you David for your trouble and patience in commenting on this.
I use the local library computers for internet access so I will copy this off and then revise the account to fit in with your details.
We had spent weeks surveying the system. I can remember visiting the mine a few week the accident and the site was obvious from the items lying around. I remember thinking, there but for the grace of God ...
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royfellows

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 15/01/2016 10:32:25
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I have to confess an interest in the whole complex.

My handle on it is that the high ground at the back of what is now the theme park has always had a downward tendency in the ground between where its cut by Tear Breeches and Speedwell Veins. This ground being the geologically interesting area which was known as "Romantic Rocks".

The mining activity was tantamount to cutting a giant slice from a giant cake, where the 'cake' is the area described above, and it all very slowly on the move. There is also a natural run off in the middle, corresponding to the prominent dip in Upperwood Road.

This is my take on it anyway


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historytrog

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 16/01/2016 09:07:22
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Revised yet again

"On 26 August 1976, a group of children aged eight to sixteen from Wolverhampton were taken into these workings ‘to chip rock samples’. While doing this in Chaos Cavern, a boulder weighing about ten tons fell without warning. One of the adults received a glancing blow as he tried to pull away Leslie Wheeler, aged 16, who was struck and killed instantly. The inquest verdict was ‘Death by Misadventure’."

Partly the problem is the closely parallel wayboards in the roof that cause slabs to split off. The workings were known to be unstable even when worked by the Crowthers in the 1920s. It is amazing that there is no record of any miners being injured here.
IP: 94.72.252.34
Timbo2505

Joined: 04/07/2016

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 04/07/2016 08:39:14
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Hi I went to Highfields with Leslie and his death has stayed with me all these years (Im now 55). Unlike today were pupils are given counciling when a school classmate is killed all I knew was we were on summer holidays when the story appeared in the media and when we returned to school nothing was said and Leslie wasnt there anymore. I know it sounds odd but we used to share an interest in 60s music and liked Mr Tambourine man it was years before I could hear that song without welling up. Im not sure why I came on the internet to look for him this morning but I wonder if you could let me know where he is buried please I would like to pay my respects if possible. IP: 81.106.148.65
catch22

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 04/07/2016 18:15:58
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you have a private message..

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"the truth is like coal.. you have to dig for it"
IP: 82.40.172.233
John Lawson

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Location: Castle Douglas Dumfries & Galloway

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 04/07/2016 19:38:05
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The problem in disused mines, in limestone strata, has already been described by historytrog.
Basically the limestone, has clay layers, in it. These hold pieces of the roof in place, and can, and do from time to time, detach themselves.
Most of the time these falls, take place when nobody is around, however, in this tragic, event, unfortunately some one was.
It all reinforces what we all know, exploring disused mines can be dangerous.
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catch22

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fatality @ matlock bath
Posted: 06/07/2016 19:35:05
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yes... but even more so if you start hammering at the wall in a favoured spot for dry lead samples. thank god it is sealed up for ever.

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"the truth is like coal.. you have to dig for it"
IP: 82.40.172.233
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