ON SATURDAY, February 3, 1906, at the Pretoria pit in Clackmannan, belonging to James Fyfe & Company, water rushed into an area in the lower seam where men were working from old mining works.

The mine had opened six years beforehand on the Tullygarth Farm but was not deep.

On that day, most of the men managed to get out but five became trapped.

They were Alexander Forsyth, two of his sons Alexander and David, who had only started working there the previous day, Alexander Forsyth, a cousin, and his son, also Alexander.

As soon as the incident was reported, Robert Fyfe the manager, ordered the source of the ingress to be located.

It was at an old quarry about half a mile west of the pit where a disused shaft had been blocked up but had given way.

Pumps were brought to the site and began pumping the water out, while the other men at the pit tried to stop the water using shovels and explosives at the old quarry.

Thanks to those measures, the level reduced but it was still difficult to reach the trapped miners.

Luckily they were not in an area where the water had reached.

Knocking could be heard by the rescuers.

The pumps continued but instead of the water reducing, it steadily began to rise again.

In the evening, Robert McLaren, HM Inspector of Mines for the East of Scotland suggested boring a hole through the six fathoms, or 36 feet, which separated the upper and lower seams to reach the men.

This work took place overnight, and by this time firefighters had arrived and were drawing off water from the old shaft at the quarry.

This too went on all night and a strong clay embankment was built at the mouth of the shaft by around 50 or 60 men, and completed by the Sunday afternoon.

Reaching the trapped miners, however, would take some time.

Alexander Forsyth and his two sons were finally located, so food and milk were sent down to them, but the other two were around 200 yards further west of them.

The three had tried to reach the others but were blocked.

Their lamps had also gone out on the Saturday, so they were in complete darkness.

It was only on the Monday communication was established with the other two Forsyths.

On the Wednesday morning, the ordeal for Forsyth and his two sons was over when they finally reached the surface.

The other two were rescued the next day.