Bevin Boys: We thought reunion last year would be our last, but now we’re back together again (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Bevin Boys: We thought reunion last year would be our last, but now we’re back together again
A GROUP of Britain’s forgotten wartime heroes got together last week a year after what was feared to be their last ever reunion.
The Bevin Boys Veterans gathered at the Miramar Hotel in Bournemouth for lunch and a chance to reminisce about their years spent in Britain’s coal mines, fuelling the fight against Nazi Germany.
With their numbers diminishing over time, the group believed their get together last year to be their last, but such was the demand that Warwick Taylor MBE – who attended the unveiling of an official memorial to the Bevin Boys earlier this year – arranged a new gathering.
“It was going to be the final meeting last year, but it just shows the popularity of these reunions, and of Bournemouth, that they wanted to do it again,” the 87-year-old said.
“The same old faces come along every year, although less one or two of us due to age.
“But one lady contacted me this year to ask if she could bring along her father who had never been to any Bevin Boy reunion before. That is what it is all about.
“I love organising them so I will keep doing it as long as people want to come. I am already organising next year’s event.”
Mr Taylor, from Poundbury, was selected by lottery to work in the mines in South Wales as both conscription and volunteering took a heavy toll on Britain’s wartime domestic workforce.
Some 48,000 Bevin Boys, named after Minister for Labour Ernest Bevin, were conscripted to work in the collieries between 1943-48 – replacing more than 36,000 coal workers who went to fight in the early part of the war.
During the war, and since, many were thought to be conscientious objectors, and they have struggled over the years to get the recognition they deserve for their vital role in the war.
Only 41 conscientious objectors worked in the mines during the war, with many being sent to carry stretchers on the frontlines.
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