The No.26 Mine Disaster



The Men of the Deeps, Diamonds in the Rough: Twenty-Five Years with the Men of the Deeps, Waterloo Music Company, 1992.

An anonymous recording of a woman singing the song is available here.


One winter’s morn in seventy-nine
While the snow lay still without,
’Twas four o’clock on a Twenty-Six wall
As the sixteen moved about.
An explosion ripped and it rocked the pit,
And smoke from the bottom began to spit.
And the silence left would now admit: There are ten men gone!

1st Chorus
Ten men gone—
No time to cry or bid farewell;
But the mind of Glace Bay long will dwell
On her ten men gone.

Down to the depths in the frozen dawn
A clergyman was led.
There in a fright his eyes were drawn
To the sight of the burned and dead.
With courage bold he did unfold
The grace of God in the tunnel’s cold.
Then the town was sadly told
Of her ten men gone. (1st Chorus)

In the days that were to come,
Great thousands grieved as one.
For the mourning and the mourned,
What could be done was done.
Poor Ward and Young were laid to rest,
Anderson, Cooke their mem’ries blest.
Ev’ry man will long be missed
Of the ten men gone. (1st Chorus)

’Twas far from home the survivors waged
Brave battles for their lives.
Help from many sources pledged
Brought comfort to their wives.
But, ere the churches hushed their hymns
In sad and solemn requiems,
News from Halifax was grim:
There are twelve men gone!

2nd Chorus
Twelve men gone—
No time to cry or bid farewell;
But the mind of Glace Bay long will dwell
On her twelve men gone.

Oh, the collier’s life is a cruel life,
As the times so lately tell.
Peace to those who’ve gone before;
To the rest: grow strong and well.
May God be with you, ev’ryone –
The miner and the miner’s son,
The women and the babies yet to come,
And the twelve men gone. (2nd Chorus)

SourceO’Donnell, John C.  The Music of the Men of the Deeps: Selected Songs from the Repertoire of North America’s Only Coal Miners Choir.  Antigonish, NS: Amberglade Music, 2009.

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