John McSporran Durnan – “Troy”

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John McSporran Durnan and his wife, Margaret. Photo courtesy of Johnny Durnan ©

My name is Johnny Durnan. I was born in Campbeltown but have lived in Carradale for the last 43 years.

My late father, John McSporran Durnan, whose nickname was “Troy”, was an on-cost worker at Argyll Colliery around the time I was born and this is noted on my birth certificate. He was married to Margaret McGougan Harvey, my mother. I have three brothers and one sister.

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Johnny Durnan’s birth certificate which shows his father, John McSporran Durnan as an on-cost worker at Argyll Colliery – 1956. Courtesy of Johnny Durnan ©

I never really got much info. regarding his job there as sadly he died in 1974 at the age of 45 years, when we were just young. It would have been nice to sit down and have a chat with him about that part of his life but that is not to be; but maybe some others have more info and maybe a photo of him at work as we do not have more information that could shed some light on my father’s working life.

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John McSporran Durnan at Peninver c. 1967. Photo courtesy of Johnny Durnan @

We lived at 7 Mill Street, were I was born, but shortly after, we moved to 55 Davaar Ave, then 10 years later we moved to 128 Davaar Ave, to a bigger house, which my brother owns to this day.

As a young boy I remember very well our jaunts down to the quay to watch the puffers coming in to get loaded at the coal chute, many times we would hide in there/play about – things you would not get away with nowadays!

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Loading coal onto a boat at Campbeltown’s Old Quay. Still from Iain Donnachie’s 1955 film, Kintyre, courtesy of NLS/SCA

Johnny Durnan

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Coventry Paton – Oncost worker at Argyll Colliery

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Back row kneeling Joe Barr, Malcolm Milloy, standing – Gus Morrison, John Girvan, kneeling Jock Givan and Charlie Smith. Front row. unknown, Danny Michell,  John Brown, , unknown, Stuart Hamilton, Coventry Paton and Kenny McMillan. Photo courtesy of Andrina Sandler ©

I was given the following information by Maggie Allen, daughter of Argyll Colliery on-cost worker, Coventry Paton. It was written by Maggie’s brother, Archie Paton.

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Miners football team, Argyll Colliery at Kintyre Park – Coventry Paton, top, second right. Photo courtesy of Maggie Allen (nee Paton) ©

Hi – My name is Archie Paton. My father, Coventry Paton, worked at Argyll Colliery but left Campbeltown with his wife, Anne Jane McArthur, and their two young children, to work in mines around Wakefield, West Yorkshire. They had three more children. I was born in 1957 and followed my father into mining and enjoyed a good few years in the job with him. Mum and Dad retired back to Campbeltown where my sister Maggie married a local man, Dave Allen. My parents enjoyed their retirement there. 

Archie Paton

Archie’s sister, Maggie adds:

“Sadly my brother, Archie,  passed away last year. Father and son are back together again in the Miners’ Memorial Garden in Wakefield – once a miner, always a miner. Hardy men at rest”.

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Coventry  and Archie Paton’s memorial discs at the Miners’ Memorial Garden, The National Mining Museum of England, Wakefield. Photo: Maggie Allen ©

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Archie Paton, miner and campaigner for miners’ welfare and rights. Photo courtesy of his sister, Maggie Allen ©

After working at Wakefied with his father, Archie went on to work at the New Selby coalfield at Wistow Mine and then at Whitemoor Mine. Archie died on the 11th Sept 2016. He was well loved and known in mining circles as a passionate campaigner for miners’ welfare and rights. Archie was a keen follower of  the TRTD Facebook page and his contributions will be missed.

Jan Nimmo

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Maggie Allen (nee Paton) with a photo of her father, Coventry Paton. Photo: Jan Nimmo ©