Stout defence of the area’s miners
Colliers contributed to‘glorious record’
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.”