Photo-a-Day (Sunday, 11th November, 2018)
Photo: David Long (Sony RX10)
A very common sight...............once :(
"At Letup (p.m.)."
Sarge had little to say, as he sidled through:
" From the mines, lad?"
- He'd seen my expert heave -,
Then Fancy, our Gunner,
And by fortune more fluent than the said,
Told of Keats, Burns, and 'tutors rather good.'
The weather was biting cold,
And in no small way
Responsible for the loss of my Number 4,
Trodden, soon, deep into the filthy mud.
"Here," said Fancy, "take half of mine, old boy."
"Thanks, mate." said I, "you're a good 'un."
Not very Poppy Dayish Rev
I have a photo of this that a dear friend gave me, taken from the ground looking up at the pit-head, under a lowering sky....very atmospheric and much treasured. How silent the area is now compared with how it would have been when my brother worked there in the 1950s.
The men who worked in the pits were needed to mine coal, Mick. The rev. is not forgetting the soldiers on poppy day, but remembering the men who didn't go to fight because they were needed here.
Hero’s all, the miners always had their own battles to fight, hurendous working conditions, black lung, mine explosions.
The war effort was served in many different ways.
Irene, I wish I could claim such an intention - but the pic was submitted many days ago - and we photographers have no say in when they appear on here.
As for miners and the Great war - many had joined the Territorial Force pre-war, perhaps for the sake of the 'holidays' they'd get from the pit to go on training camps. When war was declared, they were naturally mobilised, along with former soldiers, reservists, who'd taken jobs in the pits - they were not exempt. Many Wigan miners, and their bosses, who served as officers, were in the 1st/5th Manchester. They died by the score at Gallipoli.
When conscription came in only those miners who had been in the pits pre-war were automatically exempt, and the pits were 'combed' regularly to get as many men into uniform as possible.
Whilst researching the 19 plaques installed by the Wigan Coal and Iron Company at its pits and works, I learned that the Company undertook to take back all who served - including finding suitable work for the wounded. That was quite a commitment
I was aware you may not have put it on intentionally, Rev, and I am also aware that submitters of photos have no control over when their photos will be shown, but there was no need for Mick's comment....he finds it impossible to say a good word about anybody....and whether the photo was intentional or not, it DOES represent, on Poppy Day, the men who served their country by supplying coal. And we must also not forget the men and women who worked at home in other vital jobs. My own Dad served in The Home Guard, so I really CAN think of him and his mates as "Dad's Army"! xx.
Rev David, on researching my own Family I have noticed that a few of them were turned down for the Army on the grounds that they were unfit for service and yet these men were working as colliers in the Mines. Was this a regular occurrence? Given the work they were doing it seems strange that they would be unfit to serve.
A nod to the Bevan Boys even - not mentioned much and they were vital to the war effort I believe.
DT - I doubt there was much of a medical for miners in WW1 times. Some miners might have already contracted lung diseases which rendered them unfit for the army.
The situation in WW2 was different and, paradoxically, the Bevin Boys did have to pass a medical to become miners. The need for coal, and an army which was largely going nowhere in 1943 when conscription into the mines began, brought the Bevin Boys into existence. They were chosen almost randomly, and were not released until 1948, whereas conscripts in the services were mostly demobbed in 1946. There was also no promotion in the pits - bright lads who might have become officers had no chance to shine.
I watched a really good documentary 'They Shall Not Grow Old' on BBC 2 it will be available on 'Catch Up'.
A few years in the making from Archives. It was slowed down, coloured and words put in the soldier's mouths by expert lip readers - it was so updated it could have been yesterday when it happened. It certainly brought home to me what they went through. An exceptional documentary.
I watched the film as well last night, and as you also mentioned found its technical wizadry to be remarkable - I'd also seen many of the film's scenes in their original b/w.
Veronica,I watched it,it was almost like you were there..the soldier who told about one of his comrades being blown badly and he had to shoot him..then he said "And that hurt me"
then he sobbed..I heard a terrible sob come from my throat..I could never bear hearing a man cry..in fact I'm sick of crying this weekend...May God bless em'all.
Yes it has been a memorable weekend -words can't express. It was quite intense to watch and the humour that shone through in their 'free time' was unbelievable! The poor souls had to live with their experiences for the rest of their lives. That must have been dreadful. xx
Thank you for that information Rev David.
I've also noticed that many recruits to WW1 were rather small in stature, around five foot four to five foot six. Men of a similar age today all seem to be around six foot or more. That seems quite a big change in a relatively short time.
I broke surface at 2:15? this morning and just managed to catch the last 10 mins of a 30 min programme called 'What Do Artists Do All Day'. This latest episode shows how Tom Jackson had applied wizadry to his film 'They Shall Not Grow Old'. And it's up and running on Catchup.
I must watch that Philip - thanks for letting us know. It really was a good documentary- one thing did strike me about the soldiers,without being disrespectful, our soldier's teeth were'nt very good and there was some handsome lads amongst them.
Thank you Philip,I did watch it and wasn't it brilliant..it brought everything to life.
Veronica,I suppose there wasn't a great amount of dentists around in those days..or maybe I'm wrong,plus the lads did smoke an awful lot to deal with the stress God luv um' which would soon affect their teeth..they certainly put today's thugs to shame.
It wan't so much the colour of the teeth Maureen it was the crookedness I noticed
( which runs in families) as you say dental treatment wasn't available then as now. Children have braces to prevent it happening. I believe It was said during WW2 that British soldiers had the worst teeth of all. They were lucky if they had straight teeth. The documentary was an eye -opener anyway. I am glad children learn about the World Wars these days- something I don't remember much from school. You are right they put the 'thugs' of today to shame. x