13 October 2013 You are here:

Salvation Army remembers Senghenydd Mining disaster in Wales on its 100th anniversary

The Salvation Army has paid tribute to the 439 miners who lost their lives in the UK's worst pit disaster.

A century ago, on Tuesday October 14, 1913, an explosion ripped through the Universal Colliery, devastating thousands of families in the quiet South Wales village.

One hundred years later, the shockwaves from the tragedy are still being felt across the Aber Valley as a nation pauses to remember the day 900 men and boys went to work but only half returned.

Among the dead were 10 members of The Salvation Army. However, despite its losses the church and charity played a vital role in the rescue and relief efforts.

A newspaper report at the time spoke of Salvation Army members who had been in the pit when the explosion happened and were among rescuers who returned to the mine several times. In another report, many Salvationists remained on constant duty for 22 hours and worked tirelessly underground despite the raging fire and heavy roof falls.

In order to remember the miners who lost their lives at Senghenydd, members of The Salvation Army will today (October 14) attend a memorial service on the site of the former Universal Colliery, where a statue, memorial wall, and landscaped garden will be unveiled. The Salvation Army has purchased two tiles on the wall.

Over 4000 people are expected to flock to the tiny village, which will be shut off just before the service gets underway at 10.30am.

In the evening a service will be held at St Peter’s church for the families of those who lost loved ones, and children from the town will make their way to the church with lanterns they made at school.  

Major Derek Jones, Divisional Leader of The Salvation Army in South and Mid Wales, said: “It is important to look back and honour these long-loved members of this community who lost their lives in the midst of a normal working day. We think at this time of the impact the disaster had, and continues to have, upon the village.

“The Salvation Army continues to support victims of tragedy and loss in both practical and prayerful responses. We are working in many communities in Wales and indeed around the world to bring hope and help in the name of Jesus.”