Tuesday 3rd May Ian McMurdo Author of Knockshinnoch The Greatest Mines Rescue in History
Author Ian McMurdo delivered a detailed presentation on the Knockshinnoch disaster, tantalisingly, up to the point of rescue. Time limitations and a humorous request to buy his book, was Ian’s rationale. He began by explaining that the disaster was an event which gripped the Ayrshire village of New Cumnock for three seemingly never ending days. One so momentous that it hit the front pages of major newspapers across the world. On 7th September 1950, after several days of incessant rainfall, a saturated field suddenly collapsed into the state-of-the-art colliery sending almost one million tons of sludge crashing into its underground roadways, blocking mile after mile from floor to roof, trapping all 129 miners. Tragically, Ian continued, a total of thirteen men would perish, with the remaining 116 finding themselves buried alive, trapped on all sides with no food or water and a rapidly deteriorating air supply to sustain them. With the world’s media proclaiming ’very little hope’ for the trapped men and their loved ones left in anguish on the surface, a daring rescue plan was being hatched by the Mines Rescue Brigades.
On conclusion of his presentation, Ian’s large Rotarian audience formed a queue to buy his book, after the vote of thanks by (Dr) Jimmy Begg, a son of New Cumnock.