Francis Cornelius Chivers (1909-1942)

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An ongoing project to commemorate and research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the local area, who served in the military, or whose deaths were linked to conflict.

Biography

Francis "Frank" Cornelius Chivers was born on 7 April 1909, the son of coal miner Edward John Chivers and his wife Lily Elizabeth.

He died aged 32 on 2 April 1942 after being "hit by a dislodged girder" at Barnburgh Main Colliery.

He is commemorated on the Huddersfield Town A.F.C. Roll of Honour:

Francis Cornelius ‘Frank’ Chivers moved from Barnsley to Town in January 1936. He went on to make 50 appearances and score 17 goals for the club. Chivers was exempt from military duty due to his experience as a coalminer, a role that was classed as an important ‘War Service’. He died in an accident at Barnburgh Main Colliery in the spring of 1942.

Extracts

Huddersfield Examiner (04/Apr/1942):

Frank Chivers (32), before the war a half-back with Blackburn Rovers, and who previously played for Huddersfield Town and Barnsley, was killed on Thursday in an accident at Barnburgh Colliery, near Doncaster. He joined Barnsley from Drybrook, Glos.

Yorkshire Post (04/Apr/1942):

Frank Chivers (32), before the war a half-back with Blackburn Rovers and previously played for Huddersfield Town and Barnsley, was killed on Thursday in an accident at Barnbrough Colliery, near Doncaster. Throughout his career he played in so many different positions that he was known as the utility man.

South Yorkshire Times (11/Apr/1942):

RIPPER KILLED

Caught By Fall At Barnburgh

A verdict of "Accidental Death" was recorded by the Doncaster District Coroner (Mr. W. R. Carlile) at a Goldthorpe Inquest on Saturday on Francis Cornelius Chivers (33), ripper, of 3, Claycllff Terrace. Goldthorpe, who was killed in the East Fours Main Gate of the Barnsley Seam at Barnburgh Main Colliery last Thursday morning.

Dr. J. K. D. Mills said death was due to multiple injuries, caused by a broken neck and crushed chest and would have been instantaneous.

Thomas Brady, ripper, 43, Nora Street, Goldthorpe, said Chivers himself and three others were on the night shift on Wednesday, and were extending the belt and building packs on each side. There had been a fall four or five yards away from the working place a few days previously. The place was well girdered and strutted. No timber was moved during the shift and additional timber was put in. They got some ripping down and then set up girders. Everything was quiet then. Witness was finishing building the pack and Chivers was getting him clog wood for building a chock. The chock narrowed down at the top and small pieces of wood were needed for it. Chivers and another man named Hudson began sawing wood for this purpose. Witness heard a bump and then a crash. Witness saw that a girder and some wood had been brought down, but did not think anyone was underneath. The second girder from the face, set the previous night, had come down. He went to see what had happened but his leg was trapped by a piece of stone. The girder came directly over the place where Chivers was working. The ground was a little shaky because they were coming to an old level.

Amos Hudson, ripper, 32, Ladycroft, Boulton, said at the time of the accident he was helping Chivers to saw some wood. When the fall came he was knocked aside.

Walter Ruddlesden, ripper, 226, Furlong Road, Goldthorpe, said he did not hear the bump and was going back to the face when the fall came without warning. He ran towards Chivers and shouted for help. He found Chivers lying on the ripping shield with a girder across the back of his neck. It took them about 15 minutes to release Chivers.

Percy Atherton, deputy, 1, Manor Avenue, Goldthorpe said he had made visits to the place more or less all night. He paid particular attention to this place on account of the previous fall, and the bad condition of the ground. He did not actually see the girder set but about 4.20 they appeared to have completed setting it and were tightening it up. The girder which fell and the girders immediately behind it were well strutted. About 4.40 p.m. there was a fairly large bump followed by a fall.

Coroner: The accident occurred about seven minutes after you left them. Would they have completed the work? — Witness: If they had not completed the work they would have nearly completed it.

In answer to the Coroner, Atherton said if the girder had been strutted the struts would have offered a great deal of resistance, and from the position he saw it in he formed the opinion that it had not been strutted between the girder which fell and the face. He drew that conclusion after examining the place following the accident.

Brady was recalled, and in answer to the Coroner said the girder set that night and the one which fell were definitely strutted.

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