Remembering those who lost their lives at the Minnie Pit Disaster 100 years on

On Friday we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Minnie Pit mining disaster at Halmerend in Newcastle. This was a tragic event that devastated not only the village but touched the hearts of the whole area.

In total 156 men and boys from the Audley Parish were killed in an explosion at the mine on Saturday 12th January 1918, just 10 months before the end of the Great War. Twenty one boys were only fourteen years old and it took 18 months to retrieve all the bodies. Ninety eight people were buried at St James Church in Audley; 46 at St John’s Church, Alsagers Bank and 12 elsewhere. On some days there were as many as 5 funerals. The event was marked by a Memorial Service in Audley Churchyard on Sunday August 31st 1919 which was attended by over 3,000 people.

For those interested in finding out more about the event, The Audley & District Family History Society have published a new book about those killed, titled “Victims Of The Minnie Pit Explosion 1918” with photos and family records. The book will be launched at the Centennial Commemoration Event on Saturday January 13th 2018 at the Methodist Chapel, Halmer End in Newcastle.

You can watch a short tribute here with photos from the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archives Service, Brampton Museum and the Museum of Cannock Chase.

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