It mentions a soldier, John LEE of 16th Queens Lancers but I was most interested in the note concerning John CURTIS of St Hilary, who apparently wrote the inscription 'without A hand' at 'York Steeplechases 4th April 1864'. There is a John CURTIS, miner, in the 1861 census. It seems to me that it is very likely that he was injured, maybe losing one hand or both, in the mine, and was earning a living by selling these elegantly-written inscriptions at fairs and race meetings. Is there anything known about him, or are there any other opinions?
Thanks for the link to the index of mining names from A. K. Hamilton Jenkin's 'Mines and Miners of Cornwall'. Looks interesting, but I will need to follow it by reference to the series of books themselves. I have a facsimile of Hamilton Jenkin's 1927 publication called 'Cornish Miner', but that didn't get me very far.
I guess further research will have to wait, unless some kind soul can look up the reference in the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth or the Library of the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, where the website reckons they can be found.
If that's possible, the reference to John CURTIS is 'Mines and Miners of Cornwall' vol 4 page 19 (at least I think it must be John although the index omits the first name), and I would also be interested in what it says about James DUNN, vol 5 page 17 and vol 10 page 7.