The funerals of all of the men took place on the following Wednesday
the 2nd February 1938 and the photographs above show the funeral procession
of 7 of the men who were Catholics processing from St Patrick's Church
through Market Street (left) and onto the cemetry via the Howe Road
(right). The funerals of the other two men Joseph Kelly and Peter
Walker who were Protestants, took place on the same day from their
homes to their family burial plots.
Matt O'Neil in his book 'Dumbreck: a private
inquiry' says: "In Kilsyth early on Tuesday evening,
the coffins of the 7 Roman Catholic victims were taken to St Patrick's
church to lie before the altar overnight. The processions made their
way from the homes of the deceased, the coffins being carried by relays
of men through the streets to the church in Low Craigends. A great
many people followed behind each of the coffins. The bodies of James
Martin from Croy and his brother Robert from Queenzieburn were brought
in by hearse.
On the Wednesday morning three Masses were held
in St Patrick's church with the 10 o'clock service taken by Canon
Macnamara, having by far the largest congregation. The funerals of
the victims took place on Wednesday afternoon..."
The Kilsyth Chronicle published on Friday the
5th Februray 1938 said "...seven deep in parts it (the funeral procession) took nearly fifteen minutes to pass
any given point. There were no conveyances in this mournful procession
- everybody walked. Neither were there any flowers. Many Catholic
Clergy came behind Croy Parish Band, which led the procession... ...as
well as the Provost and Magistrates. Mr Tom Cassells, MP was there.
It was expected that the funeral procession would
start at 3:45 pm but it was well after 4pm before St Patrick's Church
was left, so great was the throng which wished to accompany the cortege.
The procession took almost an hour to complete the tragic journey,
there being periodic stoppages for the changing of pallbearers. The
majority of householders in the streets had drawn their blinds as
a mark of respect and all places of business had ceased work.
Peter Walker's coffin was carried from Kirklands
Crescent to the cemetery, the Salvation Army band accompanying. The
main procession was so late that the graveside service, which was
conducted by Mr James Reid, superintendant of the Westport Hall Sabbath
School, was practically concluded before the arrival of the other
Joseph Kelly's remains were brought by hearse from
Twechar, a short service having been conducted at the house by Rev.
Gordon Ewan, Twechar Pipe Band and Kilsyth Burgh Band accompanying
the march. At the graveside Rev. Ewan conducted a short service and
the pipeband played the lament.
The seven Catholics were interred in one grave,
while separate graves were used for the the burial of Joseph Kelly
and Peter Walker. Thomas Martin who escaped the tragic fate of his
comrades, was able to attend the funeral and even assisted in carrying
one of the coffins.
All the local ministers, except Mr Kelt, who
was far from home, were present. Canon
Macnamara took the service in St Patrick's church and Rev.
Father Dolan, Croy officiated at the graveside. Canon McManus,
Stirling, was also present in the church.The Catholic clergy
in the procession included Rev Fathers
Harold and Kerr, Kilsyth,
Fathers Dolan and O'Brien, Croy, Fathers Murray, McSparran
formerly of Croy, Father Quill, Bonnybridge; Father McHugh,
Falkirk and Father
The children from St Patrick's School, which was
closed for the afternoon, chanted at the graveside as the coffins
The Scotsman Newspaper on the 3rd of February
1938 said “Scottish Pit Disaster - Funeral of Victims
at Kilsyth - The nine victims of the Dumbreck Colliery disaster were
buried in Kilsyth Cemetery yesterday. Almost all the public works
and places of business were closed for the afternoon. The coffins
of the seven Roman Catholic victims were carried from St Patrick 's
Church to the graveside by miners and relatives, and were interred
in one grave. Several thousand people lined the funeral route. The
funeral of the two Protestant victims, James Kelly, of Twechar, and
Peter Walker, of Kilsyth, took place from their homes. A service which
was held in St Patrick's Church was presided over by the Rev. Father
Harold*, who descended the pit on Sunday evening, and administered
the last rites. The funeral procession of the Roman Catholic victims
was preceded by Croy Band. The mourners included relatives, Magistrates,
and other members of the Town Council of Kilsyth miners' Union representatives,
and mining officials.”
*In fact we know that it was Canon
Macnamara who took the funeral service at St Patrick's and not
as was misreported by The Scotsman, Fr
Fr Harold was at that time the Parish Priest of St Marie's
in Kirkaldy in Fife but had returned to Kilsyth on the Sunday after
hearing of the disaster. He had been the assistant priest in St Patrick's
Kilsyth during the period 1923 to 1928 when a previous mining disaster
had hit the town in July 1923. Then eight men had been killed and
three injured in an explosion in the Gartshore no. 3 pit and he knew
first hand of the trauma and emotion that another such tragedy could
bring. So it was Fr Harold who upon his arrival at the pit head was
asked to don protective clothing and a hard hat and decend into the
pit with the rescue workers to administer the last rites to the men
who had by that time already been found dead, overcome by smoke.