Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:15 PM
My family where coal miners in Wigan, Lancashire. The families were large, my gt grandfather was one of 11 and his father was one of 15. All the men worked in the pit, the single women worked in the mill or where pitbrow lasses. After researching several families in the area they all seem to follow a similar pattern. This pattern is as follows, if the father was alive and well & could support the family almost all of the young men over the age of 19 in that household attempted to enlist. If the father was unwell or injured then up to 50% of the young men (19) stayed behind. If the father couldn't work the family wouldn't be able to pay the mine the rent and would be turfed out onto the street. Once conscription came in and all men where to enlist you often see patterns where a man attests one year and is mobilised a year later.
Pitmen joined all arms of the army. Some can be found in the RAMC, a great many ended up in Pioneer, Royal Engineer, Royal Artillery or ASC, AOC. The miners weren't just handy with a pick or shovel. The mines utilised ponies to pull the coal wagons so a lot of miners became Drivers. Some could use winching gear so their skills could be used by the ASC/AOC.
Hope this helps.