Further to yesterday’s enquiry from Janet Whittaker, and my subsequent blog post, this evening I went to see if I could find the resting place of John Whittaker, Janet’s grandfather, tragically lost along with 13 other miners in the Grove Pit Disaster of October 1st, 1930. Janet had said that she thought the grave was located in Walsall Wood cemetery, and it turns out that she was right.
Up until this morning, I was under the mistaken impression that all the lost colliers were buried at the main memorial in Brownhills, but had I been more observant, I’d have noticed that the communal memorial, whilst naming all 14, holds graves for only 10 of those lost. It really is true that you learn something new every day.
I found John’s headstone near the path in the older of the two graveyards situated off Brookland Road. In the shade of several conifers and a sycamore, the grave sits in a neatly mowed plot just off the main path through the burial ground.
The memorial itself is in reasonable condition and carries the following inscription:
In Loving Memory Of John Bernard
The beloved husband of Leah Whittaker
Who was accidentally killed in the Grove Pit Disaster, October 1st 1930 Aged 44 years.
Father in thy gracious keeping, leave me now our loved one sleeping
Whilst this has been a sad post to have to write, it’s been very rewarding. In the process of the search I’ve found out much about our area that I didn’t know before, and it’s nice to be able to help a reader. I wish Janet and her family well, and would ask that if there’s anything more I can do, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will be returning to the subject of the Grove Pit and it’s notorious accident later, as the anniversary nears. It’s important that we remember those men who worked in such poor conditions just to eke a living in incredibly hard times. We’ve come a long way since those dark days.
Whist I was looking around the cemetery in Brookland Road, I came upon another memorial to a lost miner. I wonder if any readers can help with the story of Frederick Clews?
Sacred to the memory of Frederick, the dearly beloved husband of Violet Clews
Who was accidentally killed at Walsall Wood Colliery
Sept. 10 1940, aged 36 years
Worthy of everlasting rememberance