On Saturday, 18 May ‘It’s Our Heritage’ celebrations were held at venues across Denaby Main and Conisbrough, including Conisbrough Castle, St Peter’s Parish Church, Conisbrough, Gray’s Court, Denaby Main, Conisbrough Library and St Alban’s Catholic Church, Denaby Main
The focus at St Alban’s Church was a celebration of our mining heritage and a commemoration of our parish war dead and those who served in World War I and World War II.
Doncaster MBC’s ‘Heritage Doncaster’ displayed a dozen pit signs plus the main entrance sign from Cadeby Main Colliery. The signs were rescued during the demolition of the colliery in 1987. They were complemented by a slideshow of 360 photographs of Cadeby Main Colliery taken between March, 1986 and March, 1987.
Louise Jackson from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Ruth Carrington from the Pit Sense Project participated in the celebration. Gary Clarke promoted Wasteland, a dance theatre production portraying an insight into Grimethorpe when the colliery closed in 1994. There was also an art exhibition of work by Trish Stafford. The event was supported by Jeff Lovell, Chair of Cadeby Main Colliery Memorial Group, and his committee. Penny Lloyd Rees from Conisbrough Forward coordinated the programme across all the locations.
A significant number of people attended the event at St Alban’s Church including many former Cadeby Main miners, along with Rev Martijn Mugge, Vicar of St Peter’s Church, Conisbrough, Cllr Lani Ball, Cllr Ian Pearson and Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture, parishioners, members of the community and visitors from as far afield as the West Midlands.
The pit signs and slideshow brought back memories of an era that has disappeared. Pat O’Neill, former Cadeby Main NUM Branch Committee Member, said, ‘’It was great to have these pit signs back in our community after an absence of over thirty years. To miners they were a familiar sight when the colliery was operating. It felt like old friends were visiting us again. These signs should now be on permanent display in public buildings across our community.’’
There were also two booklets on display in the Sacred Heart Chapel. The first booklet was dedicated to the St Alban’s War Dead. The second booklet listed men and women from the parish who served in World War I and World War II and those from the parish who were awarded gallantry medals or were mentioned in despatches.
There are forty six men recorded on the World War I Memorial in the Sacred Heart Chapel who made the ultimate sacrifice to give us peace. Their memorial was dedicated on 11 November, 1922 by Rt Rev Dr Joseph Cowgill, Bishop of Leeds.
The paintings of St George and St Joan of Arc in the Sacred Heart Chapel represent the friendship between England and France.
As a result of recent research a further ten men will be added to a new memorial in November.
During World War I over 350 men from Conisbrough and Denaby Main were killed in the conflict.
From the Second World War there are eleven servicemen who are recorded on our church war memorial commemorating their ultimate sacrifice to give us peace.
P/KX84056 Leading Stoker George William Atkin, Royal Navy, serving on HM Submarine Grampus, was lost at sea on 24 June, 1940. The submarine was sunk by Italian torpedo boats Circo and Clio off Sicily. He is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Monument.
101269 Private Ronald Bingham, 73rd Company, Aux. Mil., Pioneer Corps, died on 17 June, 1940. He was killed when the troop ship Lancastria was bombed by a Junkers JU88 and sunk off St Nazaire with 3,000 to 5,800 fatalities. He is buried in Escoublac La Baule War Cemetery, France.
7596570 Sergeant Frederick Thomas Cox, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, was killed on 27 April, 1943. He is buried at Medjez el Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia.
4749953 Lance Corporal James Davey, 1st York & Lancaster Regiment, was killed at Anzio on 3 June, 1944. He is buried in Beach Head Cemetery, Anzio, Italy.
2764063 Lance Corporal John Dolly, 16th Durham Light Infantry, was killed in the Salerno landings on 11 September, 1943. He is buried in Salerno War Cemetery, Italy.
4694721 Bombardier Leslie Arthur Dudhill, 72nd Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery, was killed by mortar gun fire on 21 April, 1943. He is buried in Enfidaville War Cemetery, Tunisia.
1724932 Gunner Dominic Fallon, 108th Battery, 29th Lt AA Regiment, Royal Artillery, was killed on 11 March, 1944. He is buried in Massicault War Cemetery, Tunisia.
4617239 Private Francis Judge, 1st Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment), was killed on 29 May, 1940 at Dunkirk. He is buried in Dunkirk Memorial Cemetery, France.
4692958 Corporal Thomas Kelly, 1st Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was killed on 11 July, 1943 in Sicily. He is buried in Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily, Italy.
14418365 Private Ronald McGrath, 1/4th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, aged 17½, was killed on 26 June, 1944 near Caen. He is buried in Fontenay Le Pesnel War Cemetery, Tessel, France.
1057362 Corporal Patrick Reel, Royal Air Force, was killed on 27 April, 1945. He is buried in Calcutta (Bhowanipore) Cemetery, Kolkata, India.
Fr Desmond Edozie, Parish Priest of St Alban’s Church, stated, ‘’Later this year we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the founding of St Alban’s Parish by Rev Thomas Kavanagh.
“Our priests have always been closely identified with miners and their families who worked at Denaby Main Colliery and Cadeby Main Colliery, as well as supporting those who served in the armed forces especially during the World Wars.
“Mgr Donal Bambury was Parish Priest during the 1984/85 Miners Strike and the closure of Cadeby Main Colliery in 1986. Former miners and their families still hold Mgr Donal in high esteem.
“From 1951 to 1973 he was an Army chaplain. Major Donal Bambury served in Yorkshire Territorial Army units including Duke of Wellington Regiment, Yorkshire Volunteers, 467 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Leeds Rifles and 466 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment.
“On 18 May we celebrated our mining heritage, remembered those who made the ultimate sacrifice to give us peace, relived our collective history and told our story. It was great to see so many people visit our church.’’