John Morpeth Tubby

Most of the stories listed are classed as disasters. What occurred at the Eppleton pit, on 29th May 1936, should be classed as a potential disaster with a happy ending.

The following text was supplied by the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust and kindly sent to me by Susan Perez, relative of John Morpeth Tubby. John died as recently as 1984. Susan would appreciate anyone with information, about him, to contact her.

"At about 2.25 pm, a heavy fall of roof took place in a coal-working at Eppleton Colliery, County Durham, where 3 hewers, James Brown, Mark Summers and William Moffatt, were removing the last loads of coal from a stook. Moffatt was trapped by the fall and his left hand pinned by large frames of stone to the top of a tub.

Brown and Summers went to his help while the roof was still falling heavily but were unable to liberate him. With the assistance of two other hewers, Thomas Whitfield and David Wood, they erected supports over the tub to protect Moffatt from the large pieces of stone which were gradually moving down to him.

About ten minutes after the fall Ralph Stoker and George Storey (Overmen) and John Tubby and Albert Simpson (Deputies) arrived. Heavy falls were still occurring, and it was difficult to maintain the supports, some of which were crushed as soon as erected. Stoker crawled into a narrow opening of about twenty inches between tub and the coal side, and in a working space of about ten inches uncovered Moffatt, who was lying in a crouched position behind the tub, and erected additional supports to keep back the stones which were lowering towards him.

This probably saved Moffatt from serious injury as there was risk of his being crushed to death.  

After some time Storey relieved Stoker, the working space being large enough to admit only one man. Stoker, helped by the deputies, tried to make the position less dangerous from the other side of the tub. Meanwhile the risk had increased and a larger roof fall was expected. The deputies and hewers concentrated on erecting supports in the jud to maintain a means of access to Moffatt, who by this time was severely shocked and begging the rescuers to amputate his fingers and so release him. But for Stoker there is no doubt that this quick but dangerous method would have been adopted. Stoker and Storey continued their efforts to move the stone that was trapping Moffatt's fingers, and by driving a wedge piece on the top of the tub they were able at length to release the thumb and first and second fingers. The roof then started to "weight" again. Stoker persisted in his efforts, and by about 4.40 pm succeeded in releasing Moffatt, who was dragged through the narrow aperture to safety."

For his part in the rescue, Ralph Stoker was awarded the Edward Medal (Bronze) by His Majesty The King together with an award of £20 and the Carnegie Honorary Certificate.

Storey received a £15 award and certificate whereas Simpson, Tubby, Brown, Wood, Whitfield and Summers were awarded £10 and the certificate.

Front row: John Morpeth Tubby, receiving the award. R Stoker, T Whitfield (hand bandaged, back centre), G Storey, back left, and D Wood. Others unknown.

The Carnegie Hero Fund Trust Certificate as awarded to John M. Tubby
Photograph and certificate courtesy of Ray Tubby, son of John Morpeth Tubby