A Bevin Boy was one of the young British men conscripted to work in coal mines during the Second World War. At the beginning of the war the Government, underestimating the value of experienced coal-miners, had conscripted them all into the armed services. Later it became evident that the miners would need to be replaced. Ernest Bevin, the Minister of Labour and National Service, first devised a scheme for volunteer miners which proved unpopular, so in 1943 a compulsory scheme was introduced.
Nearly 48,000 conscripts, about one ninth of the number sent into military service, were chosen by ballot. The job was disliked, and the Bevin Boys received little recognition for their valuable work. Unlike demobilised servicemen, they were given no help on returning to civilian life. In 1995 the Bevin Boys were finally thanked in a speech by Queen Elizabeth II.
"Bevin Boys", by Albert Gee - KURG Research Report No.7 (http://www.ap.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/bmd/bevin.htm)
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