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Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary - 21 Oct 1966

15 Oct 06 - 07:37 PM (#1859774)
Subject: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: bradfordian

"On the 21st of October 1966, 144 people, 116 of them children, were killed when a man-made mountain of coal waste slid onto the village of Aberfan in South Wales.   The elementary school building was the first structure in its path and the school was demolished by a thousand tons of black mud". Words from this website
I know there is a thread for Aberfan songs, but I just thought that as many of us Brit 'catters are of the baby boomer generation, this event had a major impact on us at the time even though we were very far away. Think of the everlasting impact on Aberfan & the mining communities. I just thought it would be appropriate to provide a space for folks to give vent to their feelings/emotions/thoughts. The song Grey October mentioned in the thread "Songs About Aberfan" was the one I heard & related to.
Bradfordian


15 Oct 06 - 07:49 PM (#1859782)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: bradfordian

Some links:
one
two
three
four
There will be others of course.
Brad


19 Oct 06 - 05:40 AM (#1863005)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: bradfordian

bbc website
and here
Also see "Songs about Aberfan" thread
brad.


19 Oct 06 - 07:46 AM (#1863052)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: sian, west wales

I was living in Port Colborne, Ontario and within days of my 14th birthday. My father was Welsh, but from North Wales, at a time when there was even more North/South divide than today.

But within minutes of the news hitting the Canadian media, people were phoning our house. They knew Dad was Welsh and there seemed to be a desparate need for people to make personal contact with Wales. And to offer help.

Fortunately, we were fairly active in the Welsh United Church in Toronto and we directed people to it. I think the church co-ordinated a lot of the offers of help - financial for the most part.

I know that when I was working in Penrhyndeudraeth in summer 1991 a number of people referred me to a house in Porth Madog called "Toronto". The people who lived there had been aid co-ordinators after Aberfan and were so overwhelmed by the support from Toronto, they named their home in rememberance.

Personally, thinking about the positives, I think that the experience also made my Dad think about his 'relationship' with the South and he was less them-and-us thereafter.

A small 'positive' but ...

sian


19 Oct 06 - 07:48 AM (#1863054)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: karen k

My friend from Aberfan was with me in Connecticut when we got a phone call about the mudslide. Carol's two brothers and a sister were in the school and lost their lives. It was a terrible tragedy. Two years ago I was visiting some friends in England and they took me to Aberfan. We walked through the cemetery and the garden. I found the children's graves and saw their names on a memorial cross in the cemetery. It was a very powerful, moving and emotional experience for me. I've always felt that I needed to go there and 38 years later I finally did. Thanks for starting this thread brad.


19 Oct 06 - 08:05 AM (#1863063)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: GUEST

Aberfan is in Wales not England.


19 Oct 06 - 08:21 AM (#1863075)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: GUEST,buspassed

'Friends in England TOOK me to Aberfan'

Comprehension not your subject?


19 Oct 06 - 08:23 AM (#1863078)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: Divis Sweeney

A sad day for all the families. It may have been 40 years ago, but today the memories will be as fresh as yesterday.
God be kind to them all.


19 Oct 06 - 08:26 AM (#1863082)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: bfdk

The version of the song Aberfan (Thom Parrot) that I have on an old LP with the Danish group "Paddy Doyles" starts out with this moving poem/recital. Don't know who wrote it, though.

And now they will go, wondering
Away from cold, black earth
The clean, white children
Holy as the Easter Rose
Away from the empty, slag-filled desks
Away from the imprisoned spring
That opened its mouth to breathe air
And moved a black mountain to find it
So, away they shall go, the children
Wandering, wondering
More loved, more wanted than ever
I don't burn coal anymore..


19 Oct 06 - 08:29 AM (#1863086)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: Paul Burke

The Coal Board reduced the compensation paid by the amount that the families had received from the disaster fund. They also got the disaster fund to subsidise the job of making the remainder of the tip safe. Weaselly, slimy bastards. I wish there was a hell for them to rot in.


19 Oct 06 - 09:13 AM (#1863135)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: Mr Fox

bdfk, I'm almost certain that the poem you quoted was written by Spike Milligan, but I can't find a cite.


19 Oct 06 - 09:45 AM (#1863170)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: eddie1

Paul – I agree totally with your feelings about the Coal Board and the way they were allowed to influence how the millions – and there were millions – collected were spent.
Over the past few days, there was another thread on the source of the song "Scotland The Brave". The words were by a guy called Cliff Hanley. I was not taken by the song and, having met him a few times, not really taken by him either. Stereotypical case of the smallest dog making the most noise.
But – and it's a big BUT – he had a little spot on Scottish Television, a 5-minute thing called "Cliffhanger" when he sat in a chair and talked. A couple of weeks after Aberfan when the whole world seemed to be contributing to the disaster fund, he had the temerity to suggest that perhaps this was not the answer. He made the point that we were not talking about families left without breadwinners or children without parents where money could be a real help. No amount of money was going to bring back lost children but perhaps the best use for our cash would be for it to go to a children's charity in memory of the children of Aberfan – it would then go to help other children in need and help them have the future that had been denied the Aberfan children.
As it turned out, a lot of the disaster fund was sidetracked to pay for something that was the responsibility of the Coal Board, it took years to sort out levels of compensation and (if my memory serves me correctly) a big community centre was built that was basically a white elephant.
What he said, and having the guts to say it at the time, changed my opinion of Cliff Hanley.

Eddie


20 Oct 06 - 04:36 AM (#1863952)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: sian, west wales

In searching for something else, I came across this Aberfan site. Some may find it interesting.

There's also a cartoon here which is pretty good reflection on the individuals involved at the Coal Board.

sian


20 Oct 06 - 05:57 AM (#1863990)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: Leadfingers

I will be singing Bernie Fairlamb's song tonight !


20 Oct 06 - 10:25 AM (#1864238)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: Megan L

We lived under the shadow of a pit bing our whole school gathered when the news broke to pray for the familes


20 Oct 06 - 02:17 PM (#1864434)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: GUEST

More fascinating stuff (historical)


20 Oct 06 - 02:19 PM (#1864438)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: GUEST

Sorry, maybe not that fascinating after all!


20 Oct 06 - 04:23 PM (#1864546)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: Gervase

For me it's one of those defining moments - I was the same age as many of those children who died, and I remember watching the black and white television footage with my grandfater (who had been a miner) in stunned fascination.
I also remember reckoning the 30 in my own class against the over 100 who died. It just seemed such a huge number that I couldn't quite grasp it. And the idea of a rain-sodden mountain creeping down its own hill to devour the children and fill their classrooms with a horrible black, choking slurry seemed really scary.


21 Oct 06 - 04:32 AM (#1864902)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: bradfordian

Deepest respects to the innocent lives lost
What the papers say 40 years on.
Daily Mail
Daily Telegraph
The Times
The Guardian
the Independent
The governments behavior was apalling
Have lessons been learnt? Judging from other emergencies, I think sadly, the answer has to be no.


21 Oct 06 - 07:49 AM (#1864966)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland

Today the people of Aberfan are holding a service for those who died and for those that can still remember it.

I said a wee prayer for them last night.

Tom


21 Oct 06 - 11:35 AM (#1865073)
Subject: RE: BS: Aberfan 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: John MacKenzie

I was in Swansea when it happened, and I went up next day to help, and waded through slurry in my cuban heeled boots, and my grey striped flares to volunteer. By then there was nothing I could do but stare in disbelief at the black slurry than ran like a river through the playground, over and round the school, then through poeple's back doors out the front doors, and down into the street. It was a very very sad sight indeed, and I shall always remember it.
Giok


19 Dec 08 - 10:39 PM (#2520336)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: GUEST,Paul Todd

I wrote a poem for the 40th Annivesary.
If you like, you can see it here

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/aberfan-october-21st-2006/

Paul Todd
pauljtodd@gmail.com


20 Dec 08 - 04:11 AM (#2520409)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: Leadfingers

Paul's Poem


20 Dec 08 - 11:35 AM (#2520649)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: GUEST,old girl

This has opened so many sad memories for me, I can't relate just how I felt, All the men in my family went to help out and never forgot that day. Terry & Ann Parsons wrote a wonderful song about it that is based on a true story told by a policeman that had to attend there.
Rose


24 Jan 09 - 03:56 PM (#2548085)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: GUEST,Anon

In drama at my school we are doing pieces of work based on what it must of felt like to be in the school and the parents reactions outside of the school waiting for their children. My teacher read a poem from one of the mothers whos daughter had died, it was awful and terribly sad.
This is one of the saddest stories i have heard.


29 Jan 09 - 08:14 PM (#2552452)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary 21/10/66
From: Derby Ram

Well, I've only just caught up with this thread and it all brings back vivid memories for me. It became the focal point of my first brush with performing arts and fund raising. I had just formed a trio called the Waysiders - I was 15. The news so knocked me sideways that I galvanized my new group and a few other local performers, like Jack Hudson, The Harvesters (John Squire's first group with his sister Jane and cousin Keith Sudbury who was is in fact brother of Dave Sudbury of 'King of Rome' fame - what a tangled web we weave)and The Lonesome Travellers and put on an 'Emergency Fund' charity concert. It all happened in a matter of days and we filled the hall (in those days it was perfectly possible to do that entirely by word of mouth!) and as I recall - we raised £123.10s - a princely sum in the mid 60's.

To my shame, until I bumped into this thread - I'd forgotten all about that...not the disaster...just the fund-raising effort. And I just felt the same shiver I felt when I first heard about it on the radio all that time ago.


31 Jan 09 - 08:57 AM (#2553610)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary - 21 Oct 196
From: Canberra Chris

I was 16 then, thirty years later that 'shiver' returned for me too, I found myself struggling to get my next breath, and I wrote:

Aberfan

The men who had mined it out
Dug back into it
Blind under searchlights
In the still descending rain,
And scraped wet coal dust
From the mouths
Of their crushed children.

Thirty years on
I suddenly remember
And the next breath
Refuses to leave my throat.

Chris


31 Jan 09 - 09:06 AM (#2553617)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary - 21 Oct 1966
From: goatfell

but that is what the the westminster government does for you


31 Jan 09 - 09:15 AM (#2553622)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary - 21 Oct 1966
From: Leadfingers

What the Hell is the point of THAT remark Goat ??


31 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM (#2553694)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary - 21 Oct 1966
From: richd

Hey Sian,
Just noticed you post of three years ago...you raised money for Ty Toronto....good one. You must've met Erastus and Lyn Jones in north Wales. Lovely people. They retired there after leaving the village. there's still a Ty Toronto in Aberfan. You helped to pay for it. All the best.


22 Oct 16 - 05:29 AM (#3815959)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary - 21 Oct 1966
From: GUEST

I was 7 years old at the time. I remember my brother and I packing up a box of our toys to send to the children left behind. I gave them my favourite sooty and sweep glove puppets. My mum asked me if I was sure about giving them. I said yes. I stil remember that. I still makes me cry with sadness at what happened. I hope our toys gave some comfort. God bless their souls.


22 Oct 16 - 07:05 PM (#3816026)
Subject: RE: Aberfan disaster 40th anniversary - 21 Oct 1966
From: GUEST

Close the coalhouse door lad, there's blood inside-
Blood from broken hands and feet,
Blood from hearts that know no beat,
Blood that's dried uplike meat...

Close the coalhouse door lad, there's blood inside.

Close the coalhouse door lad, there's bones inside-
Splintered broken mangled bones,
Buried neath a mile of stones
And ther's none can hear their groans..

Close the coalhouse door lad, there's bones inside.

Close the coalhouse door lad, there's bairns inside-
Bairns that saw the blackness slide
Bairns that had no time to hide
There's bairns beneath the mountain side..

Close the coalhouse door lad, there's bairns inside.

Close the coalhouse door lad and stay outside.
Big business has destroyed the dole
And all you bastards, crowd of fools,
Complain about the price of coal..

Close the coalhouse door lad, and look outside.