A MINING disaster that killed nine Stevenston men and boys has been commemorated on the 125th anniversary.

The Auchenharvie Colliery Disaster on Friday, August 2 1895 saw 14 workers trapped for three days after the Auchenharvie Pit flooded.

The youngest to have died was just 12-years-old and had only been working in the pits for a few weeks after leaving school.

Just five of those trapped made it out alive thanks to a rescue operation which saw other workers put their own lives in danger to save them.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Engine house for one of the Auchenharvie Pits. Used to house a Newcomen Engine to pump water from underground.Engine house for one of the Auchenharvie Pits. Used to house a Newcomen Engine to pump water from underground.

North Ayrshire Heritage and Cultural Services have paid tribute to the survivors, rescuers and those who sadly lost their lives.

The disaster occurred when a stream of water came off a seam in the coal which had broken through the from the “Deep Shank” in an old unused pit.

Within minutes the water burst on top of the heads of workers, one worker William Jackson escaping, and another Robert Park being trapped as he rushed to warn others of the danger.

An extensive rescue operation was led by manager John Marshall at the Glengarnock Iron and Steel Co. Limited owned colliery.

Rescuers initial efforts were hampered by the rush of water and obstructive debris, and it wasn’t until midnight that the rescue workers were able to start searching for survivors.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The "Deep Shank" pit where the disaster unfolded. The "Deep Shank" pit where the disaster unfolded.

Dynamite with long fuses was used to break into the pit.

By noon the next day the rescue party had managed to stop the flow of water and they started to push through the obstruction.

On the Sunday, the barrier had been penetrated and knocking could be heard by the imprisoned men.

Contact was made and the men were eventually rescued. The search continued for the missing men until mid-day on the Tuesday but it was a fruitless endeavour.

The disaster took many of the same family, four brothers who stayed on Townhead Street, many with children, lost their lives, they were: John Glauchlan, 30, who was married with four children, William Glauchlan, 28, married with three children, James Glauchlan, 22, married, Henry Glauchan, 19, unmarried their brother-in- law Duncan Gallagher, 30, was also killed.

Another family left torn apart by the tragedy were two brothers James Mullen,19, and the youngest victim Peter Mullen, aged just 12.

Robert Conn, aged 16 was holding his father’s hand when a sudden inrush of water swept him away.

Robert Park, 38 was the first survivor out. He was quoted at the time saying, “We never lost hope of being rescued.”

The longest living survivor was Charles Clark, 21 who was the last to come out, he was married and lived in Station Square. Charles died in 1950 aged 77 years.

There is a memorial cairn dedicated to the lost and the rescued situated at Auchenharvie Golf Course. It is placed on the putting green in front of the Clubhouse, which is on the line of the original mine workings.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The Engine House ruin is still there today. The Engine House ruin is still there today.