Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Miners and police remember 1984 Orgreave clashes

BBC
Image caption Thousands of miners and police clashed violently at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police will not be investigated over its handling of one of the most violent clashes of the miners' strike, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has said.

More than 120 officers and pickets were injured and 93 people were arrested following the incident at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire on 18 June 1984.

The clash involved 10,000 striking miners and about 5,000 police officers in what became known as the Battle of Orgreave.

Many of those involved have clear memories of what happened on a warm June day.

Kevin Horne, former miner

Mr Horne was one of those arrested at Orgreave and remembers an "atmosphere of doom" among miners on that day.

"When we saw the size of the police presence, we were all very frightened," he said.

"When the horses charged, we were running for our lives. It was a frightening experience."

"I was black and blue with cuts and bruises. First aid was being given to people with broken legs.

"People were unconscious. That's the emotional bit. We had to bandage people with our T-shirts."

John Vipond, Northumbria Police officer

Mr Vipond told the BBC the hot day had led to cans of drink being given to officers.

"Just as you heard the click of the cans, the miners kicked off," he said.

"They started to throw things at us and we had to put these cans down and stand shoulder to shoulder.

Image copyright PA
Image caption About 120 police officers and striking miners were injured

"It became rather nasty after that, with surges back and forward. Bricks flying and people going down.

"I witnessed a policeman going out with his truncheon and hitting one of the pickets. I think his excuse was he'd snapped or the stress had been too much or something.

"Policeman are not supposed to react like that. When things are bad, a policeman is supposed to be calm and rational.

"That's the way I was taught and that's they way I reacted," he said.

Dave Smith, former President of the Dinnington Union of Miners

"Horses came out, short shields came out, we tried to defend ourselves as best we could," he said.

Image caption More than 90 people were arrested during the violent clashes

"It was a hot day and we were playing football until the police arrived and then all hell let loose.

"Most of us were running like hell, we finished up down embankments, on to railway lines with dogs chasing us.

"People were seriously injured and I mean seriously injured, and left by the police.

"That's not helping, that's attacking, and we were attacked."

Chris Skidmore, former miner

"Everybody in our surrounding area worked at the pit, so you could imagine the amount of people heading to Orgreave."

"The officers then broke their ranks and the horses charged.

"It was terrifying having several tonnes of beast galloping at you with a man on top swinging a big stick.

"Everybody was running away looking for shelter.

"I ran to an ice-cream van, which I tried to get under, but there were already four or five people hiding there who told me to get on my way because there wasn't enough room".

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