Badge honours Bevin Boys service

#3
So where are the badges for everyone else who contributed to the effort but not on the front line? The women who held the country together as an example?

Whilst i don't question the contribution the boys made, so did a lot of others at home!
 
#4
Oneshot said:
So where are the badges for everyone else who contributed to the effort but not on the front line? The women who held the country together as an example?

Whilst i don't question the contribution the boys made, so did a lot of others at home!
The point is that the Bevan Boys were conscripted.
 
#5
Too little, too late.

Must declare a personal interest in that I worked in a pit before joining the Army and my father in law was killed in an accident in a pit.

The production of coal was vital to the nation's interest and survival during WWII. Mining the coal was exceptionally hard work and dangerous.

An uncle of mine was Deputy Clerk for the City of Manchester during WWII and he was awarded the Defence Medal. Why was, or is even, there no medal for the 'Bevin Boys'?
 
#7
You had no choice whether to be conscripted to the Armed Forces or to the mines. On one hand you could get rank, medals & social recognition, on the other you got coal dust under your nails.

When all your mates are pulling birds with their service uniforms, then sailing off to far-flung countries to take part in famous battles, to come back with war stories, you are stuck deep underground in Yorkshire for years. I know how I would have felt.

Recognition is overdue.
 
#9
heythrop said:
Surely the Bevin Boys must be entitled to the Defence Medal ?
I find it astounding if they are not.
I quite agree - long overdue. Is there a memorial? If someone can put up memorials to animals and to a load of hats and coats in London then there must be one for the conscript miners?
 
#10
Will somebody who knows about medals please clarify something for me.

For service in WW2 I believe members of the Police received the Victory Medal as well as the Defence Medal.

Firemen received just the Defence Medal I think.
Why did they not receive the Victory Medal just as the police did. In my opinion a lot of those firemen deserved the George Cross, not just a Defence Medal, but the wearers will know what their medal is worth.

And of course, why did the conscripted Bevin Boys not receive the Defence Medal when, if I am correct it was available to Fire Watchers, First Aid Workers, and a host of others.

It does seem something is very wrong here, and I would appreciate it if somebody can throw some light on it.

Not even the 'Commemorative Medal' people have tried to cash in on the Bevin Boys. 'Forgotten Conscripts' indeed.

Thanks
 
#11
My Grandfather was a Bevin Boy. He's been dead for 16 years now, and I suspect that a good few others of them are too.

Talk about late then.

I also note from reading the article that the award is not to deceased men too.

Appalling.
 
#12
Sounds like a thirty-year-late blairite scam to round up a few more "working class" votes.

As someone has mentioned - the whole country was mobilised and millions of people in reality had little choice about where they worked. What about all those in "reserved occupations" who didn't get anything by way of recognition. E.g. my old grandad got no award for being a key engineer in the Merlin engine programme - and just how important did that turn out to be?!
 
#13
4(T) said:
Sounds like a thirty-year-late blairite scam to round up a few more "working class" votes.

As someone has mentioned - the whole country was mobilised and millions of people in reality had little choice about where they worked. What about all those in "reserved occupations" who didn't get anything by way of recognition. E.g. my old grandad got no award for being a key engineer in the Merlin engine programme - and just how important did that turn out to be?!
I would put good money on your grandfather being far better off than the average person, doing a job he was trained for in a comfortable environment. Rather different from being sent to work in a coalmine when you have no previous experience of the environment! Not detracting from the value of his work, but he wasn't forced to do it was he?
 
#14
If you were in a 'reserved occupation' (eg farmer) did that mean (a) you couldn't undertake military service or (b) you didn't have to undertake military service?
 
#15
Dilfor said:
If you were in a 'reserved occupation' (eg farmer) did that mean (a) you couldn't undertake military service or (b) you didn't have to undertake military service?
Dilfor is that a rhetorical question for the benefit of 4(T)?

I'll answer anyway! Being in a reserved occupation meant that you weren't considered for compulsory military service. It did not stop you from volunteering for service. Some civil servants, however, may have been persuaded not to volunteer or found their applications turned down in order to prevent a haemorraging of essential staff to the Armed Forces.
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#16
I agree: long overdue and really they should have received a service medal of some sort. How about the Defence Medal with clasp 'Conscript Mineworker'?

The reality is that there aren't many of them left now. I heard an old boy from their association on the radio the other day: there are only a few thousand who are still alive to receive the badge.
 
#17
An ex-girlfriend of mine's father was a Bevan boy and worked in a pit in South Wales. As he was a Wykehamist, this not unsurprisingly was a bit of a shock to the system. All of his contemporaries seemed to have had "a good war" or at least ended up on an honour roll while he was digging in the pits.

I do not think he would ever have considered voting labour, although having served as a miner he was "working class". He went on to Cambridge and thence became a Headmaster in a private school. So even if he had been alivetoday, Mr blair's badge would not have been vote-catching.

[Edited to remove any implication that I used to go out with bevan boys, particularly Cambridge graduates!]
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#18
Without a doubt the sacrifice made to ensure coal kept the nations foundries working went unrecognised, the secretary of the assoc'n even volunteered for service after his demob in 1946. Defence medal at least is deserved. reserved occupation geberally meant that you would be sent back even if you volunteered and got through the net. Many of the reserved occupations joined the home gd and that was hard work, TA with live ammo 7 days a week and probably unpaid.
It should have been a job for those who objected to fighting, there must have been a few of those. Mind you many RafRegt sqns were transferred en masse to the infantry after D Day due to the lack of Infantry left in the Army! If they were desperate enough for that then the mines probably seemed a little easier in comparison. Not in my book mind!
 
#19
heythrop said:
Will somebody who knows about medals please clarify something for me.

For service in WW2 I believe members of the Police received the Victory Medal as well as the Defence Medal.

Firemen received just the Defence Medal I think.
Why did they not receive the Victory Medal just as the police did. In my opinion a lot of those firemen deserved the George Cross, not just a Defence Medal, but the wearers will know what their medal is worth.

And of course, why did the conscripted Bevin Boys not receive the Defence Medal when, if I am correct it was available to Fire Watchers, First Aid Workers, and a host of others.

Thanks
There was no victory medal for WW2. I think the medal you refer to is the War Medal, usually seen at the end of the bar with all the Campaign Stars. The war medal was issued to all those serving in the armed forces for 30 days between 3/9/39 and 4/9/45. The only Police wearing both the Defence and War medal were probably former servicemen/women who then went into the Police after their military service.

Bearing in mind the medals were not issued until 1948, that is probably why you would see both ribbons on the uniform. The Defence and War would be given for service in non-operational areas such as full time in UK, Aden, India, Jamaica etc.

As for Bevan boys, miners were not liable for call up but conditions down the pits which were still privatised, plus a desire to serve, meant a lot of miners joined up. As the war progressed coal production needed to be increased and Bevan used the Conscription act (National Service) as a means to get miners. If your call up number ended in a 0 you became a bevan boy - end of.

I should also be remembered that even in 1944 at the height of the war the mines in Kent went on strike because of conditions. War did not bring an end to strikes, they continued in industry through the war period. In 1939 -41 they were Communist inspired prior to Germany invading Russia and after that it was on a localised basis.

Reserved occupation status was given to key workers or trades to stop them being called up. This did not stop them volunteering, as pointed out earlier. My father in Law tried to join the Navy after his brother did. Passed the medical etc then was refused as he was an Engineer. I still have his card which he used to carry to show he wasn't a conchie or draft dodger. He spent the war working on a/c gun turrets and did his time with the Home Guard for which I applied for the Defence Medal for him in 1992 as he didn't know he was even entitled! :elephant:
 
#20
Bat_Crab said:
I'll answer anyway! Being in a reserved occupation meant that you weren't considered for compulsory military service. It did not stop you from volunteering for service. Some civil servants, however, may have been persuaded not to volunteer or found their applications turned down in order to prevent a haemorraging of essential staff to the Armed Forces.
My grandad tried to join twice, whilst in a reserved occupation as an apprentice draughtsman. First time, he went with two friends who joined the Navy. They went, he didn't and one of them didn't come home. The second attempt was shortly after the Battle of Britain. A rumour went round the office that apprentices could join as aircrew, as the RAF were so desperate that they'd over look the reserved occupation. Five or six went down, and were promptly marched back to the office by the recruiting sergeant and given a bo llocking by their boss.
 

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