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Remembered Today:

Coal-miners during the Great War


rmtruby

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Historian,

I wish I could give a definitive answer for you but I can't.

I do note though that you remember a relative? in the 7th Royal Scots.

My Uncle served with the 8th Battalion which became a Pioneer one in 1915.It is logical to assume that because the Battalion was based in East Lothian many of its members were miners.My Uncle was killed in 1918 and lived in Haddington.I cannot recall my Father ever saying though ,that his Brother worked in the pits.

The Battalion History records that it was selected as a Pioneer Battalion.

"In recognition of the excellent work the Battalion had done,and by reason of their adaptability for the work,the Battalion was selected,on 27th July 1915,to be a Pioneer Battalion"

Now there's a sentence to conjure with!

There is nothing in the History to suggest that the Battalion was employed on true mining work.It did spend a lot of time digging trenches,etc but was also employed quarrying,wood-cutting,erecting stables and even building the G.O.C's fireplace!

As the History records "The Pioneers are the handy men of the Division".

The answer seems to be as you record in your question "men who were used to hard manual labour in civvy street" and clearly pitmen fit the bill.

George

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George,

My father's uncle Robert was in the 7th RS and was killed in the Gretna Green disaster. He now lies in Bannockburn cemetery.

I remember having a book on the pioneer battalions out of the library recently, but can't remember the author's name. He did say that these battalions weren't usually employed on mining jobs, but as "divisional handymen" as you say. I remember him saying they had more chance of being converted if they had a high proportion of manual workers in the ranks than clerks, but even units with exceptional fighting records weren't immune.

Regards,

Gordon

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  • 4 months later...

I've attached a photo of my grandfather, Lewis Truby, of Wednesbury. I believe he was a miner during the Great War. However, this is where my knowledge begins and ends.

Thanks

Ray

post-3469-1112388119.jpg

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per ardua per mare per terram

Ray

Miners served in the Royal Navy, particularly as stokers, so you could try the medal roll in ADM 171/117.

Fred

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Ray

Would I be correct that here are pit records showing those men who were working, their wages, contributions to the "Friendly Societies" run by the mining companies etc?

On a slightly different note, but connected with miners, anyone know of how the troops on active service in both World Wars reacted to the news that miners had gone on strike in the UK, as they did during both conflicts. I am particularly interested to hear if there was any residual bitterness between those who went & those who stayed, only to go on strike at a time when this action could have had a very detrimental effect on all aspects of the war effort? I ask as I understand families are still divided following the strikes in the early 1970's & the Scargill strike of 1983-84.

Cheers

Mark

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Thanks Fred for that tip. I'll try to follow that up.

Thanks Mairk for the tip on the Friendly Societies. I don't really know how to go about finding such documents. The line of enquiry into soldiers' reactions to strikes at home is an interesting one. Worth pursuing.

Thanks

Ray

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Try this site. www.cmhrc.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk

John

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In 1940 all miners in the armed forces mainly territorials and volunteers were given the option on leaving the the services and going back to the mines, many did

In 1918 some of the crack British divisions were recruited from mining areas. many of the battalions in those divisions were not allowed to go to Germany as part of the occupation forcess. because of the high mumber of miners in them. Miners were demobed first so their battalions had to be replaced by ones with no or few miners.

Arnie

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