After some hesitation on the part of all three, the second man, supporting his comrade round the waist, shambled off along the corridor in the direction of the cargo office. I noticed the sick man had an elaborate crucifixion tattooed on his back, the arms of the Christ spread out across his shoulders.

'They're working double shifts,' said Riley. He began to rub at his soiled uniform with a piece of rag.

'You've coal dust on your cheek,' I said. taking the rag from him I offered my handerkerchief. Smiling, he took it and dabbed at his face. It wasn't an entirely friendly smile.