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Epic Rescue after Pit Catastrophe – The Last Two

May 1942

South Yorkshire Times – Saturday 02 May 1942

The Last Two

End of Five and a Half Days’ Search

The last two men, G. F. Southwell. of 147, Ingsfield Lane, Bolton. and W. J. Rodgers of 73. Frederick Street. Mexborough, were reached early yesterday Thursday morning) thus bringing the rescuers’ 5 ½ days’ struggle to an end. Both were dead and the severity of their injuries suggested that they were probably killed in the first shock of the disturbance.

The two men were found about 100 yards from where the Arse batch of men were rescued, but to reach them an alternative route had to be used. This involved crawling over 300 yards along a stretch where ventilation was fairly good and then along a 30 yards’ length ventilated only by compressed air. I

n conditions of such difficulty only very short spells of work could be done before each team dropped back for a rest. It was the Barnburgh Main No. 3 Rescue team that finally reached the men.

Southwell would have been 31 years old to-morrow (Saturday). He was only married on Easter Monday and his wife, who has two children is thus widowed tor the second time.

Rodgers, who was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers and about a year ago at Barnburgh Colliery he was buried by a fall and spent several weeks in hospital after being rescued. A few weeks ago he narrowly escaped being caught by another fall.

The funeral of Southwell will take place at Bolton Cemetery to-morrow (Saturday ) preceded by a service at Bolton Parish Church at 2 p.m. The funeral of Rodgers will take place at Swinton Churchyard at 3 p.m. on Saturday.