"Alongside women of the Land Army who kept Britain fed during the Second
World War, I am glad that the ‘Bevin Boys’ who worked deep in our coal
mines will now also get the recognition they deserve and be awarded a
badge. They deserve a medal!" says Michael Fabricant. "Many thousands
worked in the pits during World War Two and have not been recognised
unlike those in the Armed Forces. Many had no choice – they were
conscripted to work down the mines whether they wanted to or not.
"I am now calling on all surviving Bevin Boys – and there must be
hundreds in the Staffordshire and West Midlands area alone – to come
forward to claim a unique veterans badge as a tribute to their
sacrifices during and after the Second World War. These heroes in our
community helped to keep the coal fields running during the war and in
the post-war reconstruction of Britain."
The Bevin Boys scheme was introduced in 1943 by then Minister for Labour
and National Service, Ernest Bevin, in response to an increasing
shortage of labour in the coal mining industry. The scheme ran between
1943 and 1948 and involved recruiting men aged between 18 and 25 years
to work in coal mines rather than serve in the armed forces. Some 48,000
men were either selected or volunteered under the scheme.
All Bevin Boys, be they ballottees, optants or volunteers, are eligible
to apply for the badge. Applications will also be accepted from widows
of Bevin Boys who passed away on or after the 20 June 2007, provided a
copy of the marriage and death certificate are attached to the
The first badges will be issued in March next year, to coincide with the
60th anniversary of the demobbing of the last Bevin Boy.
If you think you may be eligible, complete an application form,
available by calling the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency helpline
on 0800 169 2277 or 01253 866043, or by visiting www.veterans-uk.info.
Michael adds: "It is important that we never forget the sacrifices that
were made both at home and abroad during the war. If you are a Bevin
Boy, or you know someone who is, please come forward to claim this