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Bevin Boys - Ernest Bevin 1881 - 1951
Bevin Boy's Emails, Page 15
Contact Bevin Boys Association

Taken from the BBC's Archive of WW2 memories 
Written by the public, gathered by the BBC - See Copyright

Bevin Boys Recognised

‘Bevin Boys’ was the term given to the group of young men who were conscripted to work down the pits during the Second World War. Nearly 48,000 Bevin Boys performed vital but largely unrecognised service in the coal mines, with many not being released from duty until years after the war.

On Wednesday 20th June 2007, former Prime Minister Tony Blair informed the House of Commons that the thousands of conscripts who worked down coal mines in World War II would receive a special honour. The 'Bevin Boys' would be rewarded with a commemorative badge.

The contribution they made was vital to the country’s war effort, yet only in recent years have they been recognised for the significant role they played.

At the beginning of the war the Government, underestimating the value of experienced coal-miners, had conscripted them all into the armed services. By 1943, the effort was taking its toll and the severe shortage of able-bodied men working in the country’s essential industries had to be addressed.

The then Minister for Labour and National Service, Ernest Bevin, decided there was only one option. He conscripted men who had signed up to fight for their country to serve in the mines instead. Those who signed up for military service and whose name was picked out of the random ballot, were destined for the mines and there was no choice about it.

The program remained in place until 1948 yet, despite their significant contribution and sacrifice, Bevin Boys returning from service received no medals. Unlike ordinary conscripts, they were not allowed to return automatically to their previous pre-War professions.

The Bevin Boys Association is trying to trace all 48,000 Bevin Boy conscripts, optants or volunteers who served in Britain’s coal mines during and after World War Two.

  • Were you a Bevin Boy?
  • Were you or anyone of your family or friends a Bevin Boy?

Claim Your Bevin Boys Badge

This Badge is sponsored by the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). All queries pre application or regarding the policy should be made to:

Jeremy Cousins
Dept for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR)
Bay 137
1 Victoria Street
London SW1 0ET
Telephone 020 7215 6145

Bevin Boys badge can be issued to:
Men who were conscripted directly into the mines, those who opted for mine work in preference to joining the Armed Forces, or those who were in the Armed Forces and volunteered to become miners during the period 1943-1948.

The Bevin Boys scheme was introduced in 1943 by the then Minister for Labour and National Service, Ernest Bevin. The scheme ran between 1943 and 1948 and involved recruiting men to work in coal mines during and immediately following World War II.

The badge is available to all surviving Bevin Boys and formally recognises their work in the UK coalfields during and immediately after World War II. The badge can only be issued posthumously to the widows of men who died on or after 20 June 2007 and fall into the above category.

Badges are currently being issued on a rolling basis.

Click Here to See The Bevin Boy Badge Q&A (PDF File)

The application form for the badge is now available and can be obtained by calling the Veterans-UK Helpline 0800 169 2277 or the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency helpline on 0800 169 2277 (same number) or by visiting

Click Here To Download Application Form


Pit Terminology - Glossary