WE MUST REMEMBER
As we reach Remembrance Sunday, the Nottinghamshire Mining Museum wishes to remember all those who lost their lives working in the coalmining industry in Nottinghamshire, all those who died as a result of industrial accidents and diseases and all those who lost their lives in their reserved wartime occupation as coalminers. We also remember the suffering of their families.
On the 3rd September this year a short service of dedication was held in the grounds of the National Memorial Arboretum to mark the opening of a new Miners Memorial.
Built in Derbyshire stone, the memorial has a bronze frieze depicting the history of mining including recognising the colliers’ contribution to the two world wars.
Research shows that 45 miners were awarded the Victoria Cross following the Great War, whilst two who served in the Second World War were awarded this honour.
Former miners, including Alan Spencer, General Secretary of the Nottinghamshire NUM, attended the Memorial Service.
Panels on the £100,000 tribute, designed by artist Andrew DeComyn, were funded by donations from mining heritage groups in Kent, Leicestershire and the north-west of England and show the aftermath of a roof collapse.
West Midlands volunteer group Chase Arts for Public Spaces (Chaps), based in towns within the former Cannock Chase Coalfield, raised the sum.
Chaps member Len Prince, a former miner, said it was “only fitting” that the miners’ memorial was near others honouring the RAF Regiment and an Army artillery regiment.
“The Industrial Revolution was bought on the backs of the hard work of miners,” Mr Prince said.
“In the First World War, half a million miners volunteered to fight and a lot of them were sent digging trenches, but a proportion of them were sent tunnelling under the German lines.
“It was top secret work and one of the most dangerous things you could do – so the memorial has got plaques representing that.”
Annually, the Nottinghamshire NUM Ex and Retired Miners Association holds a Memorial Service at a pit in Nottinghamshire. This is Eric Eaton, Chair of the Association, and Alan Spencer, General Secretary of the Nottinghamshire NUM at the wreath laying ceremony at the Annesley Pit Wheel, in November 2020.