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At Last ! - Memorial to Bevan boys

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A memorial has been dedicated to thousands of young men who worked in British coal mines during WWII.

They were known as the Bevin Boys and they carried out the dangerous, vital, work of keeping coal supplies flowing during the war.

Former miners and the Countess of Wessex were at The National Memorial Arboretum at Staffordshire for the unveiling

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Many of these young men wanted to join the military but were forced down the coal pits - some under the excuse they were flat footed or that if they were left handed they wouldn't be able to fire a Lee Enfield 303 rifle.

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By the summer of 1943 more than 36,000 men had left the coal industry.

The British Government decided that it needed around 40,000 men to take their places.

They became known as Bevin Boys when, in December 1943, Labour and National Service Minister Ernest Bevin devised a scheme whereby a ballot took place to put a proportion of conscripts into the collieries rather than the armed services.

Alongside the ballotees were also men who volunteered for service in the coal mines rather than military.

Between 1943 and 1948, 48,000 young men were conscripted for National Service Employment in British coal mines.

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