On November 12th in 1908 one of the most severe
mining accidents in the history of the German hard coal mining industry
occurred: 350 miners died at Radbod colliery in the suburb called Bockum-Hoevel
of the city of Hamm (Germany). Two days after the firedamp explosion it could be
seen that the fire that had developped underground could not be extinguished so that
the entire colliery was flooded with water from the river of Lippe. Most of the
victims could be brought to the surface more than one year later after that the
water was pumped out of the colliery again, but 13 miners found their last
resting place about 700 metres under the surface.
It is quite sure that the
reason for this accident will never be found out. In the early 20th century the
working conditions were very hard and the safety regulations very bad. Those who
tried to change this situation had to take serious consequences: About 5.000
miners were on a so called Black List, i.e. none of the owners of a colliery in
the entire Ruhr area would ever employ them.
It can only be guessed, but
perhaps the victims at Radbod colliery saved the lifes of other miners: After the
accident the unsafe petrol lamps have been forbidden and they were replaced by much
safer electric lamps. Maybe other severe firedamp explosions have been avoided
in that way.
The commemoration ceremony at
the memorial site in the Ermelinghof Street in Hamm (Germany) took place on
November 12th in 2008 - and by that exactly 100 years after the mining accident.
Lots of guests came at the sunset of that day in November and a cold wind blew
over the memorial site. The corresponding speeches, the songs of the choires,
the music of the miners' band and the smell of the torches created a very
special mood. The song "Ich hatte einen Kameraden" ("I had a companion") also
caused that the about 300 people taking part in the ceremony have got goose
pimples during the laying of the wreaths. If you discover yourself in one of the
pictures and if you do not want the photo to be published here, please send me
Please click on the photos'
small versions in order to enlarge them and to get the corresponding background
information. ATTENTION: The pictures' explanations can now be found
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