Stoke & Staffordshire

Sneyd Pit disaster: Service marks 70th anniversary

A memorial service has been held to remember miners who died 70 years ago in a Stoke-on-Trent pit disaster.

In 1942, on New Year's Day, 57 men and boys were killed in an explosion at Sneyd Colliery in Burslem.

Miners did not usually work on 1 January because of an old superstition, but they had gone down the pit to help with the war effort.

The service took place on Sunday evening at Burslem's Holy Trinity Church, near the site of the disaster.

Permanent memorial

Stoke-on-Trent historian Mervyn Edwards, who has written a book about the subject, said: "These were men who died for their country.

"It was regarded as a safe pit - it was modernised, certainly by the 1920s.

"Unbelievably, on January 5th, there was a return of some 79% of the people who worked in the pit.

"It's an absolutely staggering statistic and shows immense loyalty."

Historian Keith Meeson, himself a former miner, successfully campaigned for a permanent memorial for the 57 victims in Burslem town centre.

"In another generation it could be forgotten altogether," said Mr Meeson.

"So it's obviously important that we make a statement with the memorial in Burslem and the annual gathering of relatives and friends for what those men went through that day."

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