World War One Miners to be Commemorated

160 miners who served during World War One are to be commemorated nearly 100 years after they fought and gave their lives for the war effort.  The miners are all from a mining village in Staffordshire, northern England. The memorial will be made from Portland stone and will be built in Chadsmoor which is near the town of Cannock, north of Birmingham.

The four foot high memorial was commissioned to list every single serving soldier’s name after the local council launched a campaign to have the memorial built.  The local campaign has raised more than £12,000 for the memorial, which will be opened in April. The unveiling will include a march of thanks and commemoration for the service men.

The men came from a working background and all would have worked at one of the 17 coal mining pits in and around Cannock.  Many of the descendants of the men still live in the area and have donated significant funds to have the memorial put in place.

Thomas Brough died on Christmas Day in 1915 at the age of 47 from an enemy’s sniper bullet.  Today, his family own a large recycling business in the area and it has donated a great deal in order to ensure the construction of the memorial takes place.

The committee which has been the driving force behind the memorial has been overwhelmed by the donations. The area has never been wealthy, even when the mining pits were open and working. According to the committee, none of the men were officers and these were ordinary working-class men who made the ultimate sacrifice, the Birmingham Post reports.

The local church, St Chad’s, and its vicar, Rev Jane Nash, have also been central to the campaign and fundraising. In addition, local teacher Paul Bedford is researching and writing a book to tell the individual stories of the miners who served — their lives, families, and war time experiences.

The entire community will be gathering to unveil the memorial and remember the men who gave their lives 100 years ago.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE