THE 169th victim died 11 days after the disaster, but he was not fatally injured by the explosion or the immediate aftermath.
William Indian, a checkweigher with nearly 30 years’ experience, was the first man to reach the pit shaft and received burns from the flames in the mine.
As the scale of the tragedy emerged, he was put in charge of the funeral funds of the Durham Miners’ Association.
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At 59, he was one of the town’s oldest and best-known residents, and it was his job to visit the widows and fatherless children to calculate how much compensation they should be paid, working
virtually round the clock.
On March 5, 1909, the Durham County Advertiser reported: “He continued his work within a few hours of his death, and on returning home on the Saturday, between noon and one o’clock, he remarked to
his wife that it was awful to see the little bairns clinging about their mothers and shouting for ‘Daddy’.
“Altogether a heavy strain was placed upon Mr Indian, and it is practically certain that it hastened his end.”