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Mine workers during the War


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#1 Eve11

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:22 PM

I was wondering if anyone knows what happened to the workforce in UK collieries at the beginning of WW1? I have read that many men who volunteered c1914 were miners and mine workers so who was working to produce the coal?

#2 kenf48

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:14 PM

There was a recent thread on this topic here
http://1914-1918.inv...1

the short answer to your query as to who was producing the coal is the very young and those too old to enlist, which given the conscience of some recruiting officers wasn't many.
The official recruitment age was 18 for the Regular Army and 19 for Kitchener's volunteers, and although many under age soldiers enlisted, many more boys aged 13 and up were working in the mines.

Ken

#3 tharkin56

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:26 PM

Those that left the mines from Bedworth, many seem to have ended up in the Royal Engineers back down the tunnels

#4 Gingerfreak

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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.

#5 bclivingmuseum

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 04:44 PM

Some of the local miners from the Black Country ended up joining the Royal Engineers and then joining tunnellers.  Walsall Local History Centre holds oral history records of such a man. 



#6 Petroc

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 04:15 PM

Hi Eve,

 

Further to trawling the Web, utilising the LLT site and searching this Forum, which will undoubtedly provide a great deal of information, it might be worth contacting the National Association of Mining History Organisations;

 

www.namho.org

 

 Andy



#7 Bob G

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 08:02 PM

My wife's dad born 1898 was a 'pit mon' in Hindley, Wigan. As he would be say 18 in 1916 would he have had to declare his occupation to the conscripting authorities ? Or would he be classified as essential labour automatically?

Thank you

Mrs Grundy's husband.



#8 centurion

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 08:07 PM

My wife's dad born 1898 was a 'pit mon' in Hindley, Wigan. As he would be say 18 in 1916 would he have had to declare his occupation to the conscripting authorities ? Or would he be classified as essential labour automatically?

Thank you

Mrs Grundy's husband.

I don't think anyone was automatically exempted, given the non automated nature of records at the time the 'authorities' wouldn't have a handle on who was a miner and who wasn't - he'd probably have to claim exemption to be sure.



#9 rolt968

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 08:27 PM

If everyone can wait until Tuesday or Wednesday, when I get back to one of my days at the local archives and my current research I will try to get more exact information about the exempt status of coal miners.  I have seen a series of booklets listing the exemption status of all occupations which seemed to indicate unusually that all underground workers of whatever age or marital status were exempt. However I would prefer to re-read the preamble at the beginning of the booklets to get dates and conditions.

 

My grandfather worked as a miner throughout the war as far as I know. His nephew (more or less the same age) a mine engineer (or on the way to being) was on the RE reserve from about 1916 and was called on very late and I don't think he actually got overseas before the end of the war.

 

There was an interesting article in an IWM Review many years ago about the recruitment of mining engineers and miners for RE Tunnelling companies with fairly minimal military training. I remember it said that the military powers that be occasionally got their selections wrong, in one case failing to understand that a mining engineer used to hard rock coal mining would not know much about driving a tunnel through soft sand.

 

I have seen it stated somewhere that in some coalfields (I think Northumberland and Durham was quoted, that so many miners volunteered that some men had to be sent back from the army, but I have never seen a respectable source to substantiate this.

 

Roger.



#10 centurion

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 08:50 PM

I wasn't arguing that they weren't exempt - but rather that one might have to claim that exemption



#11 rolt968

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 08:54 PM

I wasn't arguing that they weren't exempt - but rather that one might have to claim that exemption

Many thanks for the clarification.  I'll refresh my memory on Tuesday or Wednesday anyway. I really should be able to remember these things in detail. Age creeping on I fear!

 

Roger.



#12 rogerpopeye

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 09:02 PM

My granddad who was a miner before the war, and served in a Pioneer battalion, was released early from the army to return for essential pit work in December 1918, he got a weeks leave and had to report back to his own pit on new years eve, talk about out of the frying pan into the fire.

Cheers Roger.