Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Siren to Mark 75 Years Since the Gresford Disaster

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Gresford Colliery disaster, which claimed the lives of 266 men in 1934, the air raid siren at Wrexham County Borough Museum will sound for two minutes.

The siren will sound at 11.00 am on the 22nd September at the time when the annual memorial service will be taking place at Gresford Memorial.

Cllr Bob Dutton, Deputy Leader of the Council, said:

"The Gresford Disaster is something that communities in Wrexham will never forget and we believe this is a fitting tribute to those men who so tragically lost their lives on that fateful morning. I hope many will choose this time to reflect on not only those who lost their lives but the resulting hardship and difficulties faced by those dependents left behind.

An explosion at 2 am followed by a fire which happened in the Denis Section of the mine saw the beginning of the worst mining incident in North Wales and the 2nd worst in Wales. Every man on the shift was killed apart from 6 miners who somehow managed to escape from the Section. By the evening of 23rd September 3 rescue workers had also been killed and the final death toll was 266. The tragedy left 166 widows, 229 children, 194 partial dependants and 130 pensioners.

Messages of sympathy were received from around the world and a disaster fund raised £566,871/ 4s/2d to assist the dependents of those who had been lost in the disaster.

To commemorate the anniversary Bersham Heritage Centre has installed a very special plaque. It is the zinc pattern from which the bronze memorial panel for the Gresford disaster memorial on Pandy Road was cast. The memorial and zinc pattern list the names of all the mineworkers who died in the disaster. The zinc pattern was displayed in the Miners' Institute until its closure in 2008 when it was donated to the museum.

Bersham Heritage Centre is also holding two Community Days on the 19th and 20th September. Anyone who has a mining connection or who was involved in mining is invited to go along and enjoy a cup of tea and a get together. There is also an opportunity to see the North Wales Coal Mining Exhibition, touch and handle mining artefacts, share stories and memories and enjoy good company. The doors are open between 1.00 and 4.30 pm on both days.

Wrexham Council's website also has a thought provoking section dedicated to the disaster. There is also an online memorial book where thoughts and comments can be left.


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