Naval Steam Colliery Disaster

The explosion occurred at 1.30 am, when one hundred and seven men and boys were at work below ground and claimed one hundred and one lives.

Immediately after the explosion people started collecting at the pit and exploring parties of volunteers were led by Mr. Richards, Mr. David Davies, Edmund Thomas, Edmund Davis and Mr. Galloway, the Deputy Inspector of Mines went down the pit the following morning.

The rescuers found falls, rubbish and gas barring their way and their passage was difficult and dangerous but four men were found alive at the bottom of the downcast shaft. John Morgan was taken out of the pit alive of Saturday morning having been without food for fifty hours. He was found wedged into a crevice with the body of a dead comrade next to him. He had been given up as dead and the Insurance Company was ready to pay out #30. His son and daughter had come from Bristol to console their mother. The explorers descended the pit which was four hundred and fifty yards deep. The dead were carried to the village of Traedaw.

Then in December 1880 a major disaster occurred at the Naval Colliery described by the official report into the disaster thus:

‘One hundred and one lives were lost in an explosion which occurred at the Naval Steam Coal Colliery at Penygraig belonging to Messrs. Rowlands and Morgan about 1.30a.m. on the morning of Friday 10th December 1880. Only five men of all who were in the colliery survived.'