Bevin Boys dedication at National Memorial Arboretum

I havent seen this mentioned on Arrse yet...

BBC News - Bevin Boys dedication at National Memorial Arboretum

My view is they played an essential part in the war but I`m not so sure as they should be at the Arboretum , many other people had reserved occupations such as farmers who , without , Britain would have starved but I dont hear the NFU calling for a memorial.

They weren't a 'reserved occupation'. Bevin Boys were selected at random from the general conscription call up.
My Dad designed gun camera's in the war as his join up to the RAF was stopped by his boss in Kodak as the gun camera work was deemed more important......where's his memorial? I demand a memorial!!!


It was a lottery. Each week a number from 0-9 was drawn from a hat, if your national insurance number ended with that number, down the mines you went, without knowing why you were selected.
My dad was a miner from leaving school age 14.
He joined up mid 30;s no work darn pit.
When I was 15 my Ma said what do want to do when you leave school.
Don't know go darn pit.
My dad a quite man leaped out of his chair, You Will Not.
When I joined up he never said a word.

[h=2]Notable Bevin Boys [edit][/h]
Can imagine threads on BevanBoys.Com.
'THAT shovel'
'Davy Lamp any good?'
'Did anyone go down with Jimmy Savile? Fnar fnar.'
my grandad worked in tin mines down south (devon?) during the war although he volunteered as opposed to being selected by lottery after failing the RN medical (dodgy ankle) and had then been sent white feathers in the post.

he died before i really got a chance to speak with him about it but i recall him telling me he blew stuff up down pit and i got the feeling he didnt much like it.
I guess then if you lived in a mining town your generally were sent down the pit?
No - you were selected just like any other conscript.

I read this book a couple of years ago - a real eye opener and absolutely fascinating:

I also met an old boy who told me he'd been a Bevin Boy. he said he'd hated every day of it and would much rather have sent into the armed forces to fight. He was still resentful that he'd been sent down the mines instead of being allowed to fight like most of his mates.

'bout bloody time. The missus' grandfather was a Bevin Boy. His trade was farming, and he was intended to go in the RAF. Made no difference, quite literally his number came up, and he was sent down the pit.

Even front line, it was generally only short bursts of danger. Down the mines it was continuous. None of the modern mining automated equipment and safety kit we have now. Plus continuous exposure to noise, dust (silicosis, emphysceima, mesothelioma - silent killers), toxic gas, extremely cramped, hot conditions

Add to that the emotional side - young men out of uniform, doing vital work but with the stigma of not being in the forces. Disappointment of being barred from serving your country in the face of the enemy, and the disdain and contempt of the public who see only a young man not in uniform.
and had then been sent white feathers in the post.
Just read up on this practice. What a nasty and spineless thing to do. I doubt they would have been handed out if the person who presented them also had to accompany the receiver to the front.

From Wikipedia:
World War I
In August 1914, at the start of the First World War, Admiral Charles Fitzgerald founded the Order of the White Feather with support from the prominent author Mrs Humphrey Ward. The organization aimed to shame men into enlisting in the British Army by persuading women to present them with a white feather if they were not wearing a uniform.

This was joined by prominent feminists and suffragettes of the time, such as Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel. They, in addition to handing out the feathers, also lobbied to institute an involuntary draft of men, including those who lacked votes due to being too young or not owning property.

The campaign was very effective, and spread throughout several other nations in the Empire, so much so that it started to cause problems for the government when public servants came under pressure to enlist. This prompted the Home Secretary, Reginald McKenna, to issue employees in state industries with lapel badges reading "King and Country" to indicate that they too were serving the war effort. Likewise, the Silver War Badge, given to service personnel who had been honourably discharged due to wounds or sickness, was first issued in September 1916 to prevent veterans from being challenged for not wearing uniform. The poetry from the period indicates that the campaign was not popular amongst soldiers (e.g. Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est[citation needed]) - not least because soldiers who were home on leave could find themselves presented with the feathers.

One such was Private Ernest Atkins who was on leave from the Western Front. He was riding a tram when he was presented with a white feather by a girl sitting behind him.
He smacked her across the face with his pay book saying: "Certainly I'll take your feather back to the boys at Passchendaele. I'm in civvies because people think my uniform might be lousy, but if I had it on I wouldn't be half as lousy as you."

The zealots were not easily put off. A woman who confronted a young man in a London park demanded to know why he was not in the army. "Because I am a German", he replied. He received a white feather anyway.

Roland Gwynne, later mayor of Eastbourne (1929–1931) and lover of suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams, received a feather from a relative. This prompted him to enlist, and he subsequently received the Distinguished Service Order for bravery.[7] The writer Compton Mackenzie, then a serving soldier, complained about the activities of the Order of the White Feather. He argued that these "idiotic young women were using white feathers to get rid of boyfriends of whom they were tired". The pacifist Fenner Brockway claimed that he received so many white feathers he had enough to make a fan.
The white feather campaign was briefly renewed during World War II.
Just read up on this practice. What a nasty and spineless thing to do. I doubt they would have been handed out if the person who presented them also had to accompany the receiver to the front.
i'm not sure if they were handed to him in person or if it was in the post i just remember my gran telling me he recieved two and that he then joined the only thing available to him (he was an apprentice silversmith so not exactly a reserved occupation).
The Bevin Boys deserve a memorial at the National Arboretum as much as anyone else does. They were conscripted and had no choice. My paternal grandfather was a deep miner, a hewer, before the war and was made to stay in the industry despite volunteering in 1939. He damaged his back in a minor pit fall in 1945 and was off work for two years. His brother, Joe, was TA before the war (DLI) and was sent to France then North Africa. He suffered a below knee amputation in Libya then returned to the pit to work on the surface on discharge.

They both said the conscripts had it hard, drafted in from all over the country to a job they weren't bred to do and often treated as outsiders by the locals. As wireless_barf said all miners risked being treated as cowards. That's the last thing miners are.

Thank **** my dad passsed his 11+ and got my branch of the family out of it.............................

That bloke on BBC News last night that had fought for the memorial deserves recognition for what he has achieved. Savile was scum, don't let him distract from their memory.

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