What Was the Bevin Boy Scheme?

The Bevin Boy Scheme

From 26 September, 1942, men under the age of 25 could opt for underground work in mining as an alternative to military service. THESE ARE KNOWN AS OPTANTS.

CAB 102/399 (41)


From 18 September, 1943, registrants eligible for call-up were specifically asked if they wished to be considered for placing in coalmining instead of in the Forces. AGAIN THESE ARE KNOWN AS OPTANTS.

CAB 102/399 (42)


By 25 September, 1943, 13.078 opted or volunteered for mining. Of these 4,146 had subsequently withdrawn or proved unsuitable, 3,530 had been placed in coalmining, with others still under consideration.


On 19 October, 1943, the Minister of Fuel and Power announced that men with previous underground mining experience who were serving in the army at home were to be released for coalmining. THESE ARE KNOWN AS VOLUNTEERS.


It was now proposed to direct 50,000 men compulsorily to the coalmines in the course of 1944.


Subsequently a statement was made by the Minister of Labour & National Service in the House of Commons on 2 December, 1943 outlining compulsory recruitment of men for coalmining by means of balloting. THESE ARE KNOWN AS BALLOTEES.

LAB 8/734


On 14 December 1943, the first of 33 fortnightly ballot draws took place with the last draw being cancelled due to the end of the war with Germany.

LAB 8/147

Thereafter men being called up for National Service could still opt or volunteer for work in the coalmines in lieu of services in the Services. This scheme continued until 1948 and consisted again of OPTANTS AND VOLUNTEERS.

LAB 45/96