A butcher in Ferndale

By Bryn Caddick, Ferndale

I was one of eight children, four girls and four boys. When I was 11 years old I started working part time as an errand boy for a local butcher during the war. He had the contract for all the local pit canteens, which were Ferndale, Maerdy, Tylerstown and Wattstown. I used to deliver sausage rolls and pasties and ham and pork for sandwiches. I worked three nights in the week and a Saturday

At Wattstown, which was a Standard Colliery, it was easier to get to the canteen across the pit. I became friendly with the banksman who let the cage up and down.

I had never been down the pit, but one day he was sending an electrician down and he gave me the opportunity to go with him. I was dressed in a white butcher's overall and striped apron. I was told that the bottom of the pit was the best part. I didn't agree. I came straight back up and decided there and then that I would never be a miner like my father.

I left school at 14 and went to work for the butcher until National Service at the age of 18 in 1948. I was in the Royal Artillery and became a PT instructor. When I was in Germany I was seconded to the Parachute Regiment and made 122 jumps. All the boys in the family joined the army.

There has been a Caddick in the army since 1914. We haven't had any sailors or airmen. My younger brother served 35 years.

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