SunGreen web site - Broadwell, Berry Hill, Coalway, Clearwell and District

TAP or Click here to show or hide the MENU

Union Mine Disaster

The Union Mine Disaster

Down in the Forest, hidden by the trees
An abandoned mine shaft can be found.
There lies a story, that’ll chill you to the bone,
Of what happened here, deep underground.
Back in September 1902, this was the Union Mine,
And four good friends were working down below.
Why fate turned as she did on that terrible day,
No man will ever truly know.


Oh my Grand daddy said and maybe he was right,
“You can only ever serve one master”
Old King Coal, he ruled ‘round here,
Back on the day of the Union Mine Disaster.

There was Tommy and Amos James, Herby Gwatkin and Billy Martin,
Working a stall way down on the lower road,
Tommy eyed his fathers watch hung dry upon a timber,
He said “We’ll fill one more tub boys, then it’s time to go”
Now they say there was no warning, when the water came crashing in,
Broke through from workings forgotten, long ago
Four hearts beat as one and they ran like the wind,
But the bottom of the shaft was a long long way to go.

Now some say they could have made it, maybe they stood a chance,
But Tommy had left that watch hanging by its chain.
He swore he couldn’t leave it although the others shouted “No”
And turned to save the watch but, it was all in vain.
Now Amos wouldn’t leave his brother and his friends they wouldn’t leave him,
So for a piece of gold that none of them could save.
Four good men were lost, deep beneath this earth
Cold and filthy water for their grave.

Now the Union never re-opened and the bodies they were lost
And the story is still told to this day.
Of a golden pocket watch, left hanging on a chain,
With a guard of four dead miners so they say.
Never if you ever find that shaft, one lonely autumn night,
Behind the silence you may hear a sound.
A miners voice calls out a name, two other voices do the same,
“Tommy! Leave the watch or we’ll surely drown!”

Bob also wrote: "I took a little 'poetic' licence with a few of the details but the general story is more or less as I was told as a small boy.... I once worked for a very brief spell part time in a small free mine just off the Blakeney Straights....... I found out very quickly why my Dad said at the time that I needed my head testing for even wanting to go in there never mind work! I guess back in the older days young men didn't get much choice over going down the pits or not".

If you wish to comment on this photo or can supply names of people please click here

WANTED: Old photos, old postcards, ephemera and memories of the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. U.K.- please click here to make contact.