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1906 - Sensational Lightning Fatality - Two Men Killed At Wombwell

Barnsley Chronicle August 4, 1906

Sensational Lightning Fatality

Two Men Killed At Wombwell

The severe thunderstorm which passed over this district in the early hours of Tuesday morning was responsible for a shocking occurrence at Wombwell.

A group of half a dozen young men on their way to work at the Wombwell Main Colliery were overtaken by the storm, and sought shelter under a tree near to the bridge over the Midland Railway, about halfway between Hemingfield and Wombwell Main.

They had not been there long when a flash of lightning struck them.

Two of them Mark Kay (24) of Lundhill, and Joseph Bowman (27), of The Green, Hemingfield, were killed instantly, and the other four – Edward Parks, Sam Garfield, Alfred Bell, all of Hemingfield and Samuel Thomas, of Hough Lane, Wombwell, were also struck to the ground in an unconscious state.

Of these, Parks was the most seriously injured, and has been confined to his bed ever since, but is making steady progress towards recovery.

Kay and Beaumont, who were killed, were both young married men, the latter having been married only about three months ago. Mr Kay was an assistant colliery checkweighman, and a prominent member of the Wesleyan Reform Society at Lundhill. Mr Beaumont was a member of the Elsecar Brass Band.

Widespread sympathy is fell for the relatives of the deceased.

 

The inquest was held before Mr D Wightman, district coroner, on Thursday afternoon, at the Albion Hotel, Hemingfield.

Samuel Thomas of Hough Lane, the first witness called said that 5:20 a.m. on Tuesday was proceeding to his work, and when he reached Wombwell Woods it commence to rain heavily. Kay and Parks were sheltering under a beech tree, and he joined them.

There have been under the tree about five minutes when they were all knocked down.

“I did not hear the thunder or see the lightning,” continued witness, and they had not time to recognise what had happened. When witness began to regain consciousness he ran out into the road, went to a gamekeeper’s house close by. When he got back again he found two men dead, and Parks and Bell were unable to walk home.

The coroner said it was a most remarkable thing, and the four men had had a miraculous escape. He had examine the tree himself, and there was no trace of the tree having been struck by lightning. He had read this that for years there was no record of a beech tree been struck by lightning, and he had heard of people planting beech trees round houses for protection against lightning.

A verdict of “Killed by lightning while sheltering under a beech tree” was returned.


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