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VOICES FROM WALES - FOURTEEN OF FIFTY-TWO

2019-06-08
By: Andy Edwards
Posted in: Art

THE FORGOTTEN CONSCRIPTS


These young men could well be described as having served in the secret underground movement during the Second World War, but not in the sense that most people would imagine, for even today many have not heard of the term Bevin Boy.

Sixty-eight years ago on the 2nd December 1943, Ernest Bevin the wartime Minister of Labour and National Service announced in the House of Commons a scheme that was to change the lives of many young men, by being directed to serve their National Service working underground in the coalmines of Britain.

When war was declared against Germany in September 1939, a large number of experienced miners were called up into the Forces, with others leaving to take up work in other higher paid industries. In the years leading up to 1943 various schemes were set up to recruit labour and thus increase coal production vital to the needs of the nation.

The release of ex miners in the Home Forces, the recall of retired miners, unemployed and young boys of school leaving age to make a career in coal mining were all tried, proving to be unsuccessful.

The only way of overcoming this serious situation was to conscript an additional 50,000 men to work underground in the coal mines over a period of eighteen months.

By Warwick H Taylor, MBE,
Former Vice President of The Bevin Boys Association

I first met writer, Jaye when she needed to use The Great War trench system in Pendine to be a location for her screenplay Letters Home .

Letters Home started life as a short play in 2012 at Pontardawe Script Slam and went on to win the audience award. Jaye adapted it to a screenplay, which reached the semi-finals of the London Underwire Festival, and was chosen for a rehearsed reading at the London Screenwriters Festival.

After the success of Letters Home , her next project is Forgotten Conscripts . Jaye has a passion to get the story over and is now in the middle of postproduction of The Forgotten Conscript Trailer, which will act as a proof of concept and hopefully her skill, effort, and energy in remembering The Bevin Boys will be noticed by someone out there in the media world.

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