Letter: The forgotten labour of men

All my young life was a matter of bed and work.
All my young life was a matter of bed and work.

There has been national newspaper coverage of the Bevin Boys.

Re “The forgotten labours of men underground,” I served from early 1943 to 1958 at Waterloo Main Colliery, Temple Newsam, Leeds 9, as an apprentice electrician and through the ranks to the UNIT Electrical Engineer at Methley Savile Colliery.

We worked seven days a week as the only time we could get at the coal cutting/underground equipment etc, was when the miners were not working.

We covered the screening/washing and separation plant on the surface and anything else which needed maintenance.

Sunday was from 7.30am to 1pm and this carried on when in January 1947 the National Coal Board was formed.

So all my young life was a matter of bed and work.

It was a good grounding for my subsequent work as qualified electrical and mechanical engineer.

Referring to Wilfred Owen’s poem “Miners” written in Scarborough in January 1918 - he was recovering from war wounds in Scarborough when he wrote that poem. Before he went back to war, he asked his mother if she would see that all his poems were printed after the war ended - she was true to her word, with help from Sassoon and the Sitwells.

I thought of all that worked dark pits

Of war, and died

Digging the rock where Death reputes

Peace lies indeed...

But they will not dream of us poor lads,

Left in the ground.

Norman Brownridge

Holbeck Hill