One of a ‘forgotten army’

The village of Troedyrhiw as we now know it came into existence primarily to provide for the housing and other needs of workers in the local collieries. Coal mining has always been a dangerous profession and fatal accidents were once not uncommon. This is sharply illustrated by the following inscription found on a headstone in Saron Graveyard:-

IN LOVING MEMORY OF

JAMES MORRIS

DEAR HUSBAND OF ANNE MORRIS, 26 LOWER

MOUNT PLEASANT, TROEDYRHIW.

HE DIED THROUGH AN ACCIDENT

IN THE PIT FRIDAY AFTERNOON

DECEMBER 6 1912, AT 45 YEARS OLD.

K 23 corrected

The matter-of-fact way in which the circumstances of this sad event are recorded tells us something about the nature of society at this time.In 1912, when the weekly wage for an underground worker could be as little as £1.00 and compensation and welfare schemes were virtually non-existent, the consequences for a family of the loss of their ‘breadwinner’ could be devastating. Ian Winstanley asks us to remember these past lives in this poignant poem:-

FORGOTTEN ARMY.

There is a large forgotten army,

Who for their country have bled and died,

Leaving behind them wives and children,

Brothers and sisters who cried.

*

No bugle marks the passing of these men,

No beating drum or fusillade,

No flying colours, measured tread,

Few monuments of stone are made.

*

No day when flowers are strewn,

At the foot of an inscribed stone,

When men march proudly

With their comrades and memories, alone.

*

This forgotten army of the dead

Have served their country well.

It’s fitting that we remember them,

And their sad story tell.

I.W. 1997

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About davidjcollier

Originally from South Wales I have lived in Nottinghamshire for over forty years. I am married and have three grown up children and two grandchildren. Having worked in education for 43 years I will retire in July 2012. My interests include history (general, local and family), rugby union, swimming, photography, bird watching and gardening. For the benefit of anyone who may actually read this (extremely unlikely, I admit) please do not confuse 'interests' with knowledge or skill. My involvement in a community project which aims to rescue a graveyard from the effects of almost 30 years of neglect. also keeps me quite busy. View all posts by davidjcollier

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