A seismic jolt, known in miner terms as a “bump,” occurred in the No. 2 colliery mine at Springhill. There were 174 men working 1,200 metres underground at the time. Seventy-five were killed. Nineteen men who had been trapped were found alive a week later (twelve were found on October 29 and seven on November 1). Forty-six-year-old African Canadian Maurice Ruddick was one of the seven last miners to be found alive. He had a broken leg, but helped his companions keep their spirits up by singing and leading them in song. The men had been rescued from depths as deep as 3,960m – the deepest ever conducted in Canada. On the 31st, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, visited the site of the disaster and spoke with survivors in hospital where he heard first-hand accounts of the ordeals. Later Virginia Bluegrass singer Bill Clifton was personally touched by a remark made by Maurice Ruddick when his rescuers’ reached him and he made a phone call to Ruddick, who was in the Springhill Miners Hospital, asking him if he would write his story. Soon Clifton received a poem from Ruddick. With permission, Clifton expanded the poem with local friends and musicians and recorded The Springhill Mine Disaster in Nashville on November 5, the day before the last body was removed from the Springhill Mine. It was immediately released in both Canada and the United States and received extensive airplay, including on the “Western Airs” hit parade at CHNS Halifax. Ruddick is listed as a co-author of the song and donated his share of the royalties to a fund for the families of the men lost in the disaster. The mines were sealed shortly after the Big Bump. Ruddick died in 1988. (Photo: Maurice Ruddick after the Springhill Mine disaster, 1958. Photographer, Robert Norwood. N.S. Archives.)