John Dart EM

b. 06/03/1867 Colebrook, Devon.  d. 02/06/1951 Oxhill, County Durham.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 29/09/1930 Hedley Pit, South Moor, County Durham.

John Dart was born in the village of Colebrook, Devon on 6th March 1867, the 2nd youngest of six children born to William and Mary A Dart. He spent the early part of his life in Devon, where his father was a mason. Both of his parents hailed from Devon. Prior to 1881, the family moved north to Kyo, County Durham, and John was soon put to work as a labourer at the local pit, aged 14. In the 1891 Census, John was still living with his parents and two of his older brothers in West Kyo. John married Elizabeth Siddle and they had six children (3 boys and 3 girls) and they moved to Stanley, where they lived at 21 Elm Street. By this time, John had become a Deputy Overman at the Hedley Pit where he would remain for the rest of his working career. The next record of John is in 1939, when he was still at 21 Elm Street, now a retired deputy, living with his wife, brother Frank (a retired bricklayer) and his son, John Jnr. They later moved to Oxhill, where John died on 2nd June 1951, and was buried four days later at St George’s Church, South Moor. He was buried with his wife and two of his sons who had pre-deceased him.



On the 29th September, 1930, a fall of roof occurred dn the Hedley Pit, South Moor, County Durham, partially burying a hewer, Frederick Beaumont. A chargeman, Victor King, was the first to come to the rescue. He found that a small passage-way remained open by which the buried man might be reached and, with the assistance of his son Richard and John George Tarn, be immediately built two chocks of timber to keep it open. The passage was seven yards long and about two feet square and the only practicable method of rescue was for three men to crawl along the passage-way and lie full length, two in the passage-way and one over Beaumont’s body, and pass back, one at a time, the stones that were pinning him down. This perilous and arduous work was carried on for nine hours by a team of miners (including Victor King) working in relays under the direction of the manager (Walter Robert Scott) and the under-manager (Robert Reed) until at last Beaumont was released, shaken but otherwise uninjured. During the whole nine hours the roof was shifting and ” trickling ” and on four occasions Beaumont was almost freed when another fall buried him again. At one time the danger of a further fall appeared so great that the manager telephoned for a doctor (Dr. Charles James Brookfield Fox) to come to the pit to amputate Beaumont’s leg and so expedite his release. Fortunately—as it turned out— the doctor found it impossible to amputate in the restricted area in which Beaumont was confined, but he remained on the scene until Beaumont was rescued and examined and treated him before sending him to the surface. Shortly after Beaumont was extricated the whole of the tunnel collapsed.