From the TUC

Remembering Aberfan

21 Oct 2016, By

Fifty years ago today at 9:15am a massive spoil tip slid down the mountain behind Pantglas Junior School, engulfing it completely. 116 children and 28 adults were killed.

It’s difficult to find words to properly express the anger and sorrow of this completely avoidable tragedy, however on the 70th day of the tribunal, Desmond Ackner QC, representing the people of Aberfan completed his closing argument to the undivided attention of all present:

“Those who died in this disaster lost their lives not because of the occupational hazards which are ever present in these mining valleys, there was no sudden collapse of an underground working, no unforeseeable or unforeseen explosion. This was a slow growing, manmade menace, fed by the indifference of those who should have never had permitted its existence.

That, is the horror of this disaster. There can be no more bitter reminder of the truth and wisdom of Bernard Shaw’s condemnation. ‘The worst sin toward our fellow’s is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: for that is the essence of inhumanity.'”

Today at 9.15am, we observe a one minute silence to remember those who lost their lives. Please join us.

ANDERSON, Carol, 9
ANDERSON, Linda, 10
ANDREW, Kelvin David, 10
ANDREW, Malcolm, 8
ARSCOTT, Dennis, 8
BARNARD, Merrill, 11
BARRETT, Royston, 10
BARTLETT, Edwina, 9
BATES, Margareta, 35
BEYNON, David, 47
BOWNS, Kay, 10
BREEZE, Robert, 10
BROWN, Jeannette Lynne, 10
CARPENTER, Carol Ann, 9
CARPENTER, Desmond, 10
CARSTON, Evan George, 64
CARSTON, Margaret Jayne, 61
COFFEY, Robert, 14
COLLINS, Gwyneth, 34
COLLINS, Michael, 10
COLLINS, Peter, 10
COLLINS, Raymond John, 14
CROTTY, Susan Mary, 10
DAVIES, Brian, 8
DAVIES, David Gareth, 10
DAVIES, David Morgan, 9
DAVIES, David Trevor, 10
DAVIES, Edwin, 8
DAVIES, Michael, 21
DAVIES, Paul, 8
DAVIES, Royston Carl, 9
DAVIES, Terence Malcolm, 10
DONOVAN, Sandra Pauline, 10
DRAGE, Yvonne, 11
ENGLAND, Anthony Wayne, 8
EVANS, Gareth, 3 months
EVANS, Howell Lloyd, 7
EVANS, Jean Winifred, 10
EVANS, John Morgan, 65
EVANS, Katherine Elizabeth, 3
EVANS, Marjorie Christine, 26
EVANS, Maureen Mary, 8
EVANS, Patricia, 32
FUDGE, Daphne May, 8
GEORGE, Christine, 10
GOLDSWORTHY, Richard Philip, 10
GOUGH, Brian Michael, 9
GOUGH, Gillian, 8
GRAY, Trevor Timothy, 9
GRIFFITHS, Dwynwen, 9
HAINES, Jennifer, 8
HANSON, Frederick, 78
HARDING, Lynn, 9
HARRIS, Brian, 24
HAYES, Roger Dyfrig, 9
HEAMAN, Pamela, 10
HILL, Anthony David, 8
HODGKINSON, Royston, 9
HOPKINS, Angela Vaughan, 7
HOPKINS, Stephen Vaughan, 10
HOWELLS, Maralyn Carol, 9
HUGHES, Annette, 9
JAMES, Mecia, 9
JONES, Catherine, 75
JONES, Eryl Mai, 10
JONES, Evelyn Mary, 61
JONES, Gillian Irene, 11
JONES, Glenys Gabriel, 46
JONES, Janet, 9
JONES, John Islwyn, 10
JONES, Kevin Thomas, 9
JONES, Lewis, 46
JONES, Michael, 13
JONES, Paul, 9
JONES, Richard, 48
JONES, Robert Garfield, 9
JONES, Robert Orville, 8
JONES, Susan, 9
KING, John Anthony, 9
LEE, Ann Catherine, 8
LEWIS, Sharon, 9
LEYSHON, Sandra, 9
MEREDITH, Susan Lewis, 8
MINETT, Carl, 7
MINETT, Maralyn, 10
MINNEY, Barbara Eileen, 9
MINNEY, Robert George, 10
MORTIMER, Cheryl, 8
MUMFORD, Edward Clive, 11
MUMFORD, Norma, 10
MUMFORD, Phillip, 9
MYTTON, Albert, 64
MYTTON, Lucy May
NEEDS, Jeffrey, 9
O’BRIEN, Arthur, 8
O’BRIEN, Karen, 8
OWEN, Valmai Mary, 8
PARFITT, Jill Elizabeth, 9
PARFITT, Vincent Clark, 12
POWELL, Jacqueline, 8
PROBERT, Patricia, 12
PROBERT, Thomas, 7
PROSSER, Christine, 9
PROSSER, Howard David, 9
PRYCE, Julie, 8
REAKES, Corwyn Thomas, 10
REAKES, Layton Kerrie, 9
REES, Andrew, 14
REES, Marjorie Ann, 22
REGAN, Julie Jeannine, 9
RICHARDS, Lorraine Rosa Isabel, 10
RICHARDS, Sylvia Francis, 9
ROBBINS, Megan Owen, 10
ROBERTS, Paul David, 10
RUSSELL, Graham, 26
RUSSELL, Sidney, 53
SHORT, Martine Anne, 9
SMITH, Annette, 9
SULLIVAN, Anthony John, 10
SULLIVAN, Avis Elizabeth, 9
SUMMERS, Roger Colin, 7
SYMONDS, Victoria Marie, 10
TAYLOR, Tydfil Jane, 73
THOMAS, Charles, 60
THOMAS, Myrtle Irene, 54
TUDOR, Randolph, 10
WATKINS, Anthony Joseph, 10
WAYNE, Anthony, 8
WILKSHIRE, Joseph, 8
WILLIAMS, Angela, 8
WILLIAMS, Carol, 8
WILLIAMS, David William, 8
WILLIAMS, Graham, 8
WILLIAMS, June Margaret, 10
WILLIAMS, Keith, 9
WILLIAMS, Nancy, 44
WILLIAMS, Peter, 10

7 Responses to Remembering Aberfan

  1. Sandra Greenwood
    Oct 21st 2016, 12:00 pm

    I remember it well. As a daughter, and granddaughter of miners, 16 yrs old and living in a mining village in the NE, I walked down hill, past our heap on the morning after. I remember looking at it and realising how easily it could also move, although luckily it was at the side of the village rather than above. We all cried that night watching the footage.

  2. John
    Oct 22nd 2016, 2:25 am

    Yes, this was a shocking, terrible tradgety. Like the other reader comment by Sandra Greenwood, I also can remember this with it being shown on the then black & white television news.

    Thankyou for this worthy article Gareth Hathway.

  3. Will Powell
    Oct 24th 2016, 11:22 am

    A tragedy that should never have been allowed to happen. Every individual who was aware that the loss of these 144 lives was avoidable should have been prosecuted for manslaughter.

    They should also have been prosecuted for attempting to pervert the course of justice at the tribunal. The intentional exacerbating of the grief of bereaved parents and families was also despicable.

    To accept fault and then come to the conclusion that no individual was to blame was an insult to all the victims and their families.

    RIP x

  4. Gareth Hathway

    Gareth Hathway
    Oct 24th 2016, 11:33 am

    Will Powell- Yes, completely avoidable tragedy, brought about by extreme complacency and the failure of the NCB to heed any warnings.In March 1964 an engineers report warned that the heap “is likely to be of danger to Pantlas school” The NCB failed to take any meaningful action. There’s a number of other examples of such correspondence, and still nothing was done.

  5. Will Powell
    Oct 24th 2016, 11:51 am

    Hi Gareth, thanks for your response. I watched with much sadness the Aberfan BBC documentary last week with Hugh Edwards ‘The fight for justice’. The report highlighting the risk of the tragedy happening was called the ‘Powell Memo’. I wonder what action these officials would have taken if the tip had been towering over their childrens’ school and/or their homes?

    Having suffered an ongoing 26 year cover up of my 10 year old son’s needless death I know exactly how lies, after a tragedy, exacerbates grief.

    Thank you for writing the article in memory of the disaster.

    Lest we forget! :(

  6. Gareth Hathway

    Gareth Hathway
    Oct 24th 2016, 12:00 pm

    Hi Will,

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss.

    Agreed, it was a powerful documentary and certainly worth a watch for anyone who hasn’t had the chance.

  7. Will Powell
    Oct 24th 2016, 12:08 pm

    Thank you Gareth.