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A short multi cache set round the beautifully kept church of St Giles. The walking is all on gentle terrain, most of it tarmac. Please be sensitive and respectful at the various stages. There is plenty to see so please have a wander round.
Stage 1 takes you to a poignant and interesting place of Rememberance. Some info is provided below.
For 33 years the extensive coalfield of Warwickshire had been free from serious disaster. Tragically this impressive record was marred by a calamity that took place at the Exhall Colliery near this site in the early hours of 21st September 1915.
A paraffin lamp was overturned, causing the headgear of the down shaft to catch fire. The lives of almost 400 men in the workings of the pit that night were put at risk. Fumes and smoke quickly filled the tunnels and sadly fourteen men suffocated. However one man’s prompt action in closing the separation doors to limit the amount of smoke that entered the workings helped to save the rest of the men.
The official statement made by Mr. C. F. Jackson, Manager of the Colliery, tells the story of the disaster in stark language:
“The fire occurred at this colliery in the early hours of this morning, the gear of the downshaft being in flames. There are haulage wheels near the pit top and it is necessary that these should be oiled during “snap” time. The man entrusted with this work went to oil them this morning, taking with him a paraffin lamp, which was accidently dropped. This set fire to the woodwork at the top of the shaft, and as the ventilation fan is situated half a mile away the fire got a fairly good hold and damaged the timber about 20 yards down the shaft. The discovery was made at 2.20am and by 4.20am the fire was out and the men were being rescued up the upcast shaft at Black Bank. Almost 400 men were in the workings and all these were safely recovered with the exception of fourteen who were found at the foot of the hill and whose dead bodies are now being brought up.
On my arrival at the pit-head fifteen minutes after the outbreak,” said Mr. Jackson, “I at once ordered the ventilation fan to be stopped. The men underground have had instructions as to what steps to take in case of fire, and the foreman in charge, remembering those instructions, at once closed the separation doors, short circuiting the air and preventing smoke in any volume getting into the workings. It was due to this prompt action that we have been able to rescue the great number. As soon as the fire was extinguished the working of the fan was resumed, and this at once made the underground conditions practically normal.
Rescue parties at once descended; simply walking into the workings and finding the men who had been suffocated. The men who met their death must have taken a different way to their comrades, walked into the fumes, and been immediately overcome. Their end was very peaceful, and not a single dead man has received any actual injury to the body.
This was the beginning of a solemn and lengthy task, with body after body taken from the cage at intervals of about 20 minutes and carried to the improvised mortuary a few yards away. The sight of the sad burdens, roughly wrapped in felt and carried gently by their cold, begrimed fellow miners, brought tears to the eyes of even the strongest men".
The only matter to bring some elation in their grief was when young Bert Pearson was found alive under a pile of dead bodies. Apparently he had taken a fall when tripping on some loose rock or wooden blocks. The other falling miners then apparently fell on top of him as they were rendered unconscious and protected him from most of the toxic fumes. When the ventilation was reopened he regained consciousness and called to the rescuing miners. He was a very, very lucky young man.
To find the cache and my interpretation of his 'lucky block' you need to collect the following info:
At stage 1 - The number of Survivors = ABC
At stage 2 - There is nothing to collect but turn right here. Also look round to see who is spying on you! Makes me jump every time.
At stage 3 - This item was returned to the church in 198D
The cache can be found at :
N 52 27. (B+C) (C+D) (B+D)
W 001 30. (C-D) B (A+B)
Ybbx sbe Oregf yhpxl oybpx va vgf jbbqra ubyr.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum