'The following lines (which are actually song words but can be read as a poem) are based on a love letter to my mother from my father during his time as a Bevin Boy, written while he was sitting on a hill in Wales, which we found it in their belongings after they passed away in 2004 and 2005 respectively (my sister has it now). I didn't set out to write about it; it all just started appearing in my head one night, and I knew I had to write it down.'  Keith Rowley


Bevin Boy

The stars look down at night,
Cast an eerie kind of light,
And the clouds throw their shadow on the hillside.
And I'm looking at the view,
And my mind comes back to you,
And I'm lost in the glitter of the starshine.

Circumstances say
I should be so far away,
While this war that rages on keeps us apart,
But I hope you're safe and sound
While I'm working underground,
Please know I keep you always in my heart.

They took too many miners,
Sent them off to fight the war,
But needed men to keep the coal hoists turning,
Bevin sent us to the pit,
So that we could we do our bit
To dig the coal to keep the home fires burning.

So keep your feelings pure,
For my love for you endures,
Though miles separate us, I'm sincere,
I will return one day
From this valley far away,
And our love will see us safely through the years.

It happened like he said,
He returned, and soon they wed,
And for fifty years were married to each other.
And all I've said is true,
For the story I've told you,
Is a letter from my father to my mother.



Your Farewell from Crynant




Farewell dear comrade, farewell


As you depart for native land


Where you’ll entertain your friends with many tales


Of the time you spent way down in Wales


You came here to help in the battle for coal


Changed from a city boy to a human mole


But I think you never did regret


The changes, because of the friends you met


Friends that will miss you for years to come


For their friendship and confidence you had won


In work, and on the sporting field


Your absence, all brynawell will miss


And most of all we’ll miss you on the corner


Where we all spent many a happy hour


You are leaving now the hardship of the colliery


To your old job in the refrigerator factory


And when you are snug and warm in your new abode


Think of your comrades down in Cefn Coed


Tell the cockneys as they sit around the fire


Of the courage and sacrifices of the miner


So, as I hope that you succeed to reach the top


Let your memory go back to the nights in shanty shop


And if you meet a Welshman, shake him by the hand


In friendship for your stay in that little land.



Skid Bace (November 1947)


(Thanks to John Breeden for this poem which was given to him from a friend when he was demobbed in 1947)


Bevin Boy Veteran Badge


Badge can be issued to men who were conscripted directly into the mines, those who opted for mine work in preference to joining the Armed Forces, or those who were in the Armed Forces and volunteered to become miners during the period 1942-1948.

The Bevin Boys scheme was introduced in 1942 by the then Minister for Labour and National Service, Ernest Bevin. The scheme ran between 1942 and 1948 and involved recruiting men to work in coal mines during and immediately following World War 2.


The badge is available to all surviving Bevin Boys and formally recognises their work in the UK coalfields during and immediately after World War II. The badge can only be issued posthumously to the widows of men who died on or after 20 June 2007 and fall into the above category.


The application form for the badge can be found here:

Or you can contact the Department of Energy and climate change who  administer the badge

on 0300 068 5716

Bevin Boy Commemorate Medal

For the relatives of deceased Bevin Boys who do not qualify for the Government Bevin Boy Badge (those Bevin Boys who died before 2007) a Commemorative Medal has been commissioned by the Bevin Boys' Association.


The Bevin Boy Medal is available to Ballotees, Optants, Volunteers and next of kin called up between 1943 and 1948.


The medal is solid silver and can be ordered here:

Bevin Boy Medal


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© Jaye L Swift

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