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Ex Hibs player killed

William Dornan killed at Pumpherston


william dornan

Photograph courtesy of the Hibernian Historical Trust


William Dornan, far right in the front row, played 357 times for Hibernian from 1914-1927. Only a handful players, including Pat Stanton and Arthur Duncan, have exceeded that number of games. Twice in the 1920s he reached the final of the Scottish Cup, losing both times - to Celtic and Airdrie.

Residing in Pumpherston he went to work at the Pumpherston Oil Works & Refinery. At 3am one morning in May 1937 he was working on top of one of 20 oil tanks. A sudden explosion blew the top off the tank Dornan was standing on. He was either thrown from the tank, or jumped the 40 feet to the ground. He was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in the works ambulance but died of his injuries. He was buried in the Kirk of Calder cemetery in Mid Calder, and his gravestone notes the unfortunate manner of his death.

The explosion led to the destruction of 22,000 gallons of oil and the fire lit up the sky as far away as Carstairs.

Scotsman, 29 May 1937


oil tanks

The oil tanks at Pumpherston after the fatal explosion that killed William Dornan
Note the roof of the tank, which has been blown off.



William Dornan's gravestone. Used by kind permission of the Gravestone Photographic Resource.












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