Viewing 36 posts - 1 through 36 (of 36 total)
  • Aberfan: 50 years ago
  • jambalaya
    Free Member

    A terrible day in our history.

    Hugh Edwards documentary last night was excellent. Many things I was not aware of including what was basically theft of £150,000 of Charity funds by the government of the day to pay towards tip removal.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07zk6fj/aberfan-the-fight-for-justice

    rkk01
    Free Member

    My professional mentor made me read up on Aberfan – a very sobering task and deliberately set to emphasise that being a “professional” means taking on real responsibilities.

    I still ask the same of people I work with today

    Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    Funds which the British coal and the British government have never paid back in full, it was only paid back in full by the Welsh assembly.

    mav12
    Free Member

    Terrible tragedy remember it on the tv when it happened

    jambalaya
    Free Member

    rkk01 that’s a very positive outcome of the tragedy

    Nobel I wasn’t aware of that until I saw the documentary, well done to the Welsh Assembly for going some way to righting that wrong

    donald
    Free Member

    One of the earliest news events I remember, probably because my Mother was so upset.

    dragon
    Free Member

    Terrible and a very preventable tragedy. The NCB, and government of the day come out of it very badly.

    ourmaninthenorth
    Full Member

    I shall watch that. Though I expect it to be as sobering as the story told to me by my mother and her mother (my mother is Welsh).

    It is a disgraceful episode in the history of this country, and sadly typifies an establishment attitude which continues to prevail today.

    boltonjon
    Full Member

    Fascinating documentary

    I was quite shocked and staggered that no one from the NCB was jailed – Jesus – no one even lost their job over it

    rrk01 – good call on making people read up on it – a sure way to get young professionals to fully understand the implication of negligence

    milky1980
    Free Member

    Grew up near there, was a big part of the local history syllabus. Many parents of kids I grew up with knew people directly affected or involved in it too.

    If you’re staying over after a day at BPW you can wander down the Taff Trail to the Cemetery, very sobering seeing all those gravestones and names with the same death date. Then the ages. Wiped out a whole generation locally in one day.

    Rockape63
    Free Member

    One of the earliest news events I remember, probably because my Mother was so upset.

    Me too! I was 5.

    crewlie
    Full Member

    Shows the impact it had at the time, I also remember really clearly asking my Mum why she was crying.

    bigblackshed
    Full Member

    My friend at work grew up in Aberfan. The only reason he is alive was because he was ill at home with chickenpox on that day. He lost all but 2 of his classmates.

    slowoldman
    Full Member

    Well it certainly grabbed the attention where I grew up – a mining village with two big pit tips.

    gallowayboy
    Full Member

    One of the earliest news events I remember, probably because my Mother was so upset.

    + another. 3 1/2, radio news on, mum crying over the ironing.

    tillydog
    Free Member

    Decent programme, thanks for drawing attention to it.

    Slightly too young to remember it first hand, but growing up in West Wales (not in a mining area, but in a similar village school), and training to be an Engineer, it has always been an event that has a great significance in my mind. I only became aware of the raid on the charitable funds when the Welsh Asssembly voted to repay it – I was outraged.

    As Rkk01 above, I think it should be essential reading for aspiring Engineering professionals (also Hatfield, but that’s another can of worms).

    Twodogs
    Full Member

    I’d just started school in S Wales…I remember teachers coming into the classroom in tears as the news spread….us kids had no idea what was happening

    CountZero
    Full Member

    I was twelve, and I remember it fairly clearly. The emotional impact of it didn’t really hit home at the time, but I caught a bit of the programme when I got home, and it was really upsetting, the effect it’s still having today.
    I’ve never been there, but I feel somehow that it’s a place I ought to visit. 🙁

    frankconway
    Full Member

    I would like to think we will never see such an awful day again.
    As always, the powerful and responsible face little or no real punishment for their culpability.
    Robens who, at the time, was Coal Board chairman was later appointed to chair the panel which developed new legislation for mines & quarries including spoil heaps.
    The £150k which Robens demanded from the appeal fund was repaid by the first Blair Gov without interest so that says a lot – do the npv or discounted cash calculation and you will see how cynical that gesture was.
    Equally, I would like to think that cynical gestures by Gov are no more – but………….

    jambalaya
    Free Member

    @frank yes Blair paid back £150k in ’97 and the Welsh assembly paid £2m when it was formed (I think). I do scratch my head as to how having decided to repay the money (crime taken in first place and not repaid sooner btw) you pay no interest/today’s equivalent

    Ambrose
    Full Member

    I work in a school 40 miles from Aberfan and for the last week, during morning registration I have been speaking to my class (year 9) about the tragedy.

    On Friday, at 9:15, we will be observing a minutes silence.

    The coal tips in the valley I live in have all been removed and safely landscaped and now you could be hard pressed to tell where the pits were.

    Tinners
    Full Member

    My Dad and a family friend worked a few miles away at the time. Upon hearing the news they dropped everything, put tools and shovels in the boot and drove to the village to help dig for survivors. They were not alone. They stayed until exhaustion and replacement volunteers (there were plenty) took over. V proud of my Dad for that. Unimaginable sadness for the families, community and all involved. Resonates to this day.
    My great grandfather was a survivor of a South Wales pit disaster and mining related tragedy was not uncommon for that generation and it engendered a strong community spirit that, although diluted, still exists in the South Wales Valleys to this day.

    coolhandluke
    Free Member

    Awful day. Shocking ineptitude of the NCB.

    There’s a program on television tonight about it.

    wingnuts
    Full Member

    I was 11 and on a school trip in Derbyshire over our half term. We were staying in a hostel and arrived all exuberant and noisy. We couldn’t understand why the teachers were behaving oddly and wanted us to be quiet and leave the warden and his staff alone. We only discovered a few days later what had happened (no access to radio or TV) at Aberfan and that the hostel staff as experienced potholes and ex miners had all gone to help the effort at the school.

    danradyr1
    Full Member

    Though it was way before I was born I have heard many first hand accounts of the disaster and the aftermath. I’d like to reiterate a point made above that if you are ever going to BPW it is only a 5 mile detour to Aberfan. The beautiful children’s memorial in the cemetery is truly moving.

    . To give you an idea of where the tip collapsed, if travelling north from the M4, 2 minutes before you get to BPW the tip was high on your left and Aberfan and the school is out of sight on your right.

    I think this 60second clip from Vincent Kane sums it all up http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/veteran-broadcaster-breaks-tears-remembering-12051270

    tuskaloosa
    Free Member

    Had never heard of this (didn’t grow up in the UK). But found it very hard to read just now. Such a terrible tragedy.

    jambalaya
    Free Member

    Sky News reporter struggling to hold back the tears (I believe she has a family connection to the tragedy)

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    Glad it has been remembered. A truly terrible event, and shocking aftermath as well.

    If anything, it could be argued that tragedies like this never happened again and some lessons were learned. As always, dreadful that something like this has to happen for things to change.

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    The more one reads about it, the more shocking and appalling it is.

    I didn’t realise BPW is so close – were the slag heaps on the east or west side of the valley?

    danradyr1
    Full Member

    Slag heaps were on the same side as BPW (is that west) and the avalanche would have crossed what is now the A470 (the dual carriageway leading to BPW)

    milky1980
    Free Member

    .

    fisha
    Free Member

    Only just read up on this and it’s nearly had me in tears thinking about the children. The arrogance of using the fund to pay for negligence like that is staggering. It’s just so wrong.

    theotherjonv
    Full Member

    I had to stop the car and pull over at lunchtime listening to the news and the stories. Heartbreaking, in so many ways, but not least for the completely preventable nature of it all.

    I didn’t realise it was so close to BPW. I’ll make that short detour next time I’m there.

    Nipper99
    Free Member

    John Humphrys’ video:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-37722474

    Ambrose
    Full Member

    I’m so proud of the way that the pupils behaved today. They were so respectful, so understanding. And so inquisitive- why had it (been allowed to) happen? It is the last day of the half term, the day before the week long break- so there was a bit of a ‘demob’ atmosphere around the school. Things were even more fluid because last night was Prize Evening.

    9:15 arrived.

    Total stillness.

    Silence.

    Peace.

    Then life continued. Lessons were taught, children carried on being children. The October break has arrived and we can relax. It is pleasing to note that the commemorations in Aberfan today have been so cathartic. Because even this length of time has not yet healed the grief.

    milky1980
    Free Member

    My teacher friends all reported the same thing Ambrose, it must still strike a chord with the young even now.

    This image sums it all up for me:

    Taken a few weeks after the disaster. Must have been hell for the kids left behind, mental torture. Why have I survived? Why did my friends die?

    A generation lost.

Viewing 36 posts - 1 through 36 (of 36 total)

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