Lines to memory of James McArthur: Killed at Drumlemble Coal Pit

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Kilkivan Cemetery, between Drumlemble and Machrihanish, Kintyre, with the Oa of Islay in the background (2007). Photo: Jan Nimmo ©

Lines to memory of James McArthur: Killed at Drumlemble Coal Pit

‘Twas a lovely Spring morning in April
And the lark sang his song loud and clear
When we miners set out on our way to the pit
With light hearts and full of good cheer

We laughed and we joked, as we strode on our way
Not a thought of the mine and it’s dangers
For sport was the topic, as usually the case
On the merits of Celtic and Rangers.

When we reached the pit head in the corner we saw
“auld Jamies” swing his lamp to and fro
He was melting his wax, and preparing his light
Ere he’s start on his labours below.

The signal bell rang, and the cage lowered away
Sinking silently out of the light
But little we thought as we watched him go down
Of what was to happen ere night.

Our work down below but two hours begun
When news came in whispering breath
That a fall had occurred at Jamie’s coal face
And we feared he had met with his death.

The doctor was ‘phoned for, and soon he appeared
Anxious to do his best
But alas! our poor comrade had passed away
And lay in Eternal Rest.

We laid our tools and hurried away
Our work for that day at an end
By custom thus showing the respect that we held
For our poor, unfortunate friend.

Our thought flew to his aged mother
Of ten and four -score years
When we thought of her feeble old frame
Our eyes dimmed with tears

He was called away while at his post
No warning was given
But we hope to meet some other time
At the Golden Gates of Heaven.

James MacArthur was crushed under a coal fall in April 1914, whilst working for the Campbeltown Coal Company. The poem was composed by John Lambie who died in an accident, in 1926, at the Wimbledon Pit.

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4 thoughts on “Lines to memory of James McArthur: Killed at Drumlemble Coal Pit

  1. There was a terrible cost to coal, harsh and unforgiving, many with their health ruined, but proud strong men, battling to provide fuel for the nation, in many cases, forgotten heros

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Campbeltown Heritage Centre (1) – Mining Photos | The Road to Drumleman

  3. Pingback: John Lambie – Fatal Enquiry | The Road to Drumleman

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