I'm the vice-principal and grade six teacher at an elementary school in Springhill, Nova Scotia. As you can imagine, our Music teacher does "The Springhill Mine Disaster" every year with our students. This year she is also doing Maurice Ruddick's "THE SPRINGHILL DISASTER OF 1958". We are also very fortunate to have one of Maurice Ruddicks daughters working in our school as a Teacher Assistant. I showed her a copy of Terry Barr's post this morning, and she was very pleased to see that her father is the topic of discussion on the Internet. She was especially pleased when I explained just what "The Mudcat" was, and the type of people who read and contribute these posts.
I'm posting the lyrics to the song Maurice wrote, but they may not be complete. There may be another verse that Maurice wrote, and Katrina is checking on that tonight. If there are any others, I'll post them tomorrow. The family is very musical, and several of the girls are very well known for their singing ability.
"THE SPRINGHILL DISASTER OF 1958"
(Words and music by Maurice Ruddick)
The twenty-third of October, we'll remember that day;
Down the shaft underground in our usual way.
In the Cumberland Pit, how the rafters crashed down
And the black hell closed 'round us way down in the ground.
Now when the news reached our good neighbours nearby,
The rescue work started; our hopes were still high.
But the last bit of hope like our lamps soon burned dim;
In that three foot high dungeon we joined in a hymn
In that dark, black hole in the ground.
Only God will ever know all that happened down there.
How we watched Percy Rector die gasping a prayer,
And young Clarke had his birthday, he thought, in his grave;
After days of cruel torture we'd no hopes to be saved.
We sang altogether, though racked through with pain.
When they broke through we knew that our prayers weren't in vain.
I crawled through the tunnel, they helped me along.
I said, "Give me some water, and I'll sing you a song
Of that dark, black hole in the ground!"