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James R Murray

On the twenty-sixth of August, our fatal moss gave way.
Although we did our level best, its course we couldn’t stay.
Ten precious lives there were at stake,”Who’ll save them?” was the cry;
“We’ll bring them to the surface, or along with them we’ll die.”

There was Rattery and McDonald, Hynd and Paterson.
Too well they knew the danger and the risk they had to run.
They never stopped to count the cost; “We’ll save them,”was the cry;
“We’ll bring them to the surface or along with them we’ll die.”

They stepped upon the cage, they were ready for the fray.
They all meant business as they belled themselves away.
Soon they reached the bottom, far from the light of day,
And went to search the workings, and Tom Rattery led the way.

They lost their lives, God help them. Ah, yes it was a fact,
Someone put in a stopping and they never did get back.
Was that not another blunder? My God, it was a sin.
To put a stopping where they did, it closed our heroes in,

We never shall forget them, though they have lost their lives,
So let us pay attention to their children and their wives.
It simply is our duty now, and let us all beware.
Their fathers died a noble death and left them in our care.

Footnote: A poignant song remembering a mining disaster in Fife. The Donibristle Mossmorran mining disaster occurred on 26 August 1901 when part of the Mossmorran peat bog near Cowdenbeath collapsed on sixteen miners 360 feet underground. Four miners were lost as was the four-strong rescue party honoured in the song. At the time there were numerous ballads written regarding the disaster, but this one has stood the test of time and was written by James R Murray of Cowdenbeath.



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