Author seeks information about Motherwell man killed in pit disaster

Rescue workers prepare to enter the William Pit, Whitehaven, following the explosion in 1947
Rescue workers prepare to enter the William Pit, Whitehaven, following the explosion in 1947

A Canadian author is seeking information about a Motherwell man who was killed in a Cumberland mining disaster nearly 70 years ago.

On Friday, August 15, 1947, an explosion took place at William Pit, Whitehaven, that claimed the lives of 104 men including James ‘Jinkie’ Bowes.

Large falls blocked the main roadway and return airway, leaving 107 men trapped.

Three were able to escape the next day, but for eight days rescue workers toiled to locate their colleagues and bring their bodies to the surface.

In 2007 Amanda Garraway Roberts wrote the book, “104 Men: The 1947 William Pit Disaster Whitehaven”, published to commemorate its 60th anniversary.

A second edition of the book is now planned to be released in August 2017 to mark the 70th anniversary of the disaster, and will features updates and new information Amanda has received over the last ten years.

She is hoping this will afford her the opportunity to expand the entry about Mr Bowes and has appealed for information about him.

She said: “It came to my attention last week, that a Motherwell man named James “Jinkie” Bowes, was killed in the disaster. He was survived by his wife Mary and three young children. He had survived Dunkirk only to lose his life in the pit.

“I’m hoping to appeal to any of Mr Bowes, family or friends for information about him. A long time has passed, but perhaps a reader will be able to tell me how he lived, as I know all too well, how he died.”

If you have information you can share e-mail Amanda