Jack Anson 1921 - 2001
My father, intelligent, well-read, with a compendious memory and a real mathematics whizz, worked in coal-mining from the age of 14 for the next 22 years, eventually leaving the industry in 1962. Yet it still got him. He developed 'miner's lung' much later in life and was invalided by it several years before it finally killed him in 2001.
I have two treasured, fragile, yellowing letters he received formally acknowledging his bravery in saving the life of a man who had had his arm ripped off in machinery underground.
2003 - The final betrayal...
My family finally received formal notification of the adjudication of the claim for my father's illness (and death) from the agency responsible. The claim could only be allowed for the period from 1956 to his leaving the pits in 1962, they said.
1956 was the date set down by the government legislation and seems arbitrary to say the least.
Dad was assessed 82% disabled by the disease but, as he had been a smoker, (like almost everyone of his generation), it was decided that this was a major contributory factor and that, therefore, the claim would be reduced proportionately. I shan't bore you, suffice it to say that it was calculated that Dad ought to pay back £4,500 of the interim payment he had received but the agency magnanimously suggested that it would be unlikely that repayment would be demanded! I wish they had, it's three years after his death....maybe we should have invited them to contact him!!!
It's not the money for us, although Dad died thinking he would be leaving us a substantial legacy, eventually. For me it is the cold, analytical way this wonderful man's life, prolonged illness, and death - a life of exemplary service and incredible bravery and humanity - has been reduced by some faceless anonymous, pen-pushing, number-crunching suit in London to an accounting exercise!!!
I'm glad Dad never lived to suffer this final insult!!!
David Anson MA Hons