Full text of Roy's interview
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Unwillingly down the pit... mp3 sound clip - 384k
Unwillingly down the pit...
They sent me these calling up papers, and about a fortnight after I got the buff paper that come through the door saying that I had to go to the pit, so that were it then, all pit work. And we were called the World War Two Forgotten Heroes. After having signed up to go and fight for my country, a number was drawn at random by the Government Secretary. I was deemed to spend the rest of the war in the mines. We were named Bevin Boys after Ernest Bevin, the Minister of National Service and Labour. I felt I was missing out, because I had done five years in the Sea Cadets and trained on several naval ships. I wanted to follow my family's tradition of naval service, of forty years, but I had to go in the mine. You couldn't refuse, or you were sent in prison. So I went to Ifton colliery, my wage was 52 shilling a week, and my lodgings was 30 shilling a week, not much left to live on. I worked alongside vicar's sons, college students, all the time I were there. After all these years the government have decided to recognise us with a service medal. We had to pay for it ourselves! But servicemen released from the Army or the Navy or the Air Force had de-mob suits, paid leave and medals, we had nothing. The Bevin Boys were given no rewards at all, and all the information was destroyed in 1950.