Aside

TRIUMPH AND DISASTER

How far back can you remember?

My earliest memory is of 1966, I was 3 years old.

Most people in the UK are aware of the importance of 1966 but not necessarily for the reasons you may think!

For England, 1966 was a sporting triumph, winning the FIFA World Cup, but, to the people of Wales, in particular the people of a small mining village in the heart of the south Wales valleys, 1966 brought disaster of monumental proportions.

On the 21st October 1966 at 9:15am, just when first lessons were about to start in primary schools through-out the Country, a slag-heap above the village of Aberfan, south of Merthyr Tydfil, came crashing down, engulfing the local primary school, a farmhouse and some terraced houses, claiming the lives of 144 people, mainly children, not much older than me.

I recall in, vivid detail, standing outside the front-door with my mother, watching the lorries trundling up the road with their cargo of spoil from the disaster area. There was no talking, no idol chit-chat, just silence, as they made their way to the steelworks where the spoil was to be burnt in the mighty furnaces, no talking, no idol chit-chat just a deep sadness for the loss of 144 souls, 116 of whom were children, all of whom had been engulfed by this very same spoil.

Some 15 years on, I was working for a furniture manufacture and helped deliver a three piece to a home in a village near Aberfan. The home-owner had her elder sister with her, she was suffering from mental illness. The home-owner explained how her sister was a survivor of the Aberfan disaster. She had been buried up to the chest, her cousin, who was with her at the time, lost her life.

A mind damaged and a generation lost.

 

jsb

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2 thoughts on “TRIUMPH AND DISASTER

  1. Oh I so remember Aberfan. It was a terrible thing and I was older than you, 8 at the time and it deeply upset me.

    I agree with your last sentence so much and though I was miles away and young I really did think of you all there.

    Saw a programme a while ago and well it really did leave scars on the young.

    I really hope it will never happen again. We have dumps here but they are solid as it was tin they were after but maybe that’s why it had so much impact on me.

    Glad I bumped into your blog by the way. Cris x

    Like

  2. Thanks Cris, glad you could relate to this post and I too am glad you found the blog; have you seen my other post about Aberfan, it’s entitled ‘What’?
    Keep well, hope this cold weather doesn’t add to the pain levels!

    John

    Like

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