Stout de­fence of the area’s min­ers

Col­liers contributed to‘glo­ri­ous record’

Stirling Observer - - READERS’ PICTURES -

Stir­ling area’s min­ers – and their con­tri­bu­tion to the war ef­fort – was de­fended in the Ob­server of 100 years ago.

Mak­ing the case for the col­liers was Pte Charles Martin, a for­mer miner, who was serv­ing with the 3rd A&SH in Kin­sale, Ire­land.

Pte Martin, from Bruce Street, Ban­nock­burn, was re­spond­ing to ear­lier crit­i­cism in the pa­per about the min­ers and their role dur­ing the war.

Pte Martin ac­cused some crit­ics of be­ing “grossly ig­no­rant” and ex­plained that con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief there had not been a min­ers’ strike since the start of the war “not with­stand­ing they have re­ceived less re­mu­ner­a­tion that any other class of war worker”.

The pri­vate also pointed out that the min­ers had “given a large per­cent­age of their best men to the Army”.

And that was be­fore the so-called ‘comb out’ when the Gov­ern­ment sought to draft into the Army min­ers fit for mil­i­tary ser­vice and sub­sti­tute them for older men ca­pa­ble of work­ing down the pit.

Pte Martin said many for­mer min­ers had contributed to the “glo­ri­ous record” of the coun­try’s fight­ing forces. That scotched the myth among many that min­ers were in­dif­fer­ent to the fate of the coun­try dur­ing the war.

He added: “There is no class of war worker who has to toil so hard and un­der such un­com­fort­able or nerve-wrack­ing con­di­tions as the miner. Let (crit­ics) try the work in pits such as Mill­hall Col­liery.

“The min­ers are work­ing hard and will do their best to meet the dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion caused through the mis­man­age­ment of the Gov­ern­ment and Coal Con­troller in the coal in­dus­try.

“But when the min­ers look round and see other war workers (grow­ing fat) off war bonuses, etc, they have good cause to grum­ble at their own mea­gre share.”

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