Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bevin Boys

WWII conscripts to work in the coal mines - the 'Bevin Boys' - have finally been given a badge to recognise their wartime service. On 25 March 2008, the first batch of 'Bevin Boys' were given a badge marking this service, including the comedian Brian Rix and the disc jockey Jimmy Saville. This link will take you to the BBC story about the presentation by Prime Minister Gordon Brown:

Little as it is, it gives some belated recognition to a group who have long been ignored. There would still seem to be nothing for the full-time miner, however, which many of my closest realtives were during the war.


Blogger Frank mee said...

I believe the difference is they chose to be miners as did all my relatives at New Brancepeth pit. Many Civilian jobs during the war were never recognised for the difference they made to us winning or losing the war because they chose to do it.
Saying that, many were directed by the ministry of labour with no choice as to what they did, much like the Bevin boys.
Many men and women were classed as reserved jobs and unable to join up.
I worked with men still bitter about not being able to join the forces and getting away from the mundane jobs they did.
The Bevin Boys deserve their badge much as we old soldiers deserved our Vets badge, but what do we do about those faceless millions who did what they were told and helped this country to victory without thought of honours or badges.
It makes you stop and think.

Wednesday, 26 March, 2008  
Blogger Tomcann said...

as Frank says - there was nothing for the others who worked in war factories as they were "drafted" into those factories by the Ministry - as my three sisters did in war factories in Birmingham for most of the war - two weeks holiday - lttle else - air raids - bad food - little entertainment - long hours in terrible conditions - nothing extra by way of anything for their comfort - they just had to do their bit ! No medals - no gratuities - nothing !

Wednesday, 26 March, 2008  
Blogger niccar said...


The recognition of the Bevin boys and the women’s land army is long overdue
for the sterling work that they carried out at the time, it seems unfortunate that someone that happened to come from a mining community and was a miner by
occupation was not included in the awards, along with engineers and so many other folks whose jobs were classed as reserve occupations so important that they were not
allowed to go into the services there were also men that claimed to be conscientious objectors on religious grounds and would not be involved in killing, yet had no qualms about driving ambulances in the front lines the country as a whole had a tremendous spirit known at the time as the bulldog spirit that was prominent when the country stood alone. On a more personal note when I was demobbed my father saw me reading a letter marked OHMS and asked me if it was important and why I had torn it up and thrown the contents in the fire I explained it was asking me to claim my medals and I thought how could I justify claiming medals when he and a brother of mine that was unfit for the services had been full time air raid wardens and their job was working in a mortuary in the east end of London collecting the poor souls that had lost their lives in the blitz and the V1 and V2 raids incidentally my fathers hair turned grey in six months like thousands of others no recognition at all how would they have felt seeing a package of medals turn up in the post I hope this doesn’t
sound too morbid but its true

Wednesday, 26 March, 2008  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The badges for the 'Land Girls' and Bevin Boys have been long overdue. As you say, Frank, the 'Bevin Boys' were conscripts. That was what they had to do, whether they wanted to or not.

In what was a "People's War" I have the impression (from personal research) that the role of civilian groups seemed to get somewhat marginalised in the years after WW2. Sometimes 'Bevin Boys' were believed to be Conscientious Objectors although this was of course incorrect.

Thursday, 27 March, 2008  

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