- Contributed by
- Bournemouth Libraries
- People in story:
- Peter Burniston Hughes
- Location of story:
- Birch Coppice Colliery, Warwickshire
- Background to story:
- Civilian Force
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 06 October 2004
My name is June Hughes and I am writing this account of my husband's war-time history.
Peter was training to be a navigator in the RAF and had already bought his uniform, when he was called up to go down the coal mines. If he didn't go he would be imprisoned, so rather than be a prisoner he became a coal miner. His father did attend a tribunal on his behalf, stating the fact that Peter was already trained to be a navigator, but to no avail.
He told me of the absolute terror he felt when going down into the bowels of the earth in a cage. He was put to working with a team of miners loading the coal into large containers on rails, which were then transported to the pit shaft. He went from a banking job into this very hard environment but eventually became used to the backbreaking work.
He found the miners a very tough, closeknit, loyal community and had a lot of sympathy for them during the miners' strikes some 20 years ago. He worked for two and a half years and came out with scarred hands and nails. Needless to say, he didn't go back into banking!
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