Monthly Archives: February 2015

Churchill on the Miners “Empty heads brought them out. Empty bellies will take them back.”

We were supposed to take turns-each for Sunday dinner at my Nanna’s house but I could run faster than my sister Jillian and I always got there first. I must have hurt my Mam with my, “Why can’t you make Yorkshire puddings like Nanna’s?” comments.

After roast lamb and then custard with some stewed fruit there was World at War, infront of the coal-fire. Grand-dad never missed it. I always asked him questions but nothing he said sank in apart from his hatred for Winston Churchill. If the documentary had a star it was Winnie yet every-time he appeared Grand-dad made a noise.

He did not swear, the noise was more of a disapproving grunt. Nanna explained it all to me a hundred times.

In 1926 they were newly-weds paying off the furniture. The miner´s strike came at the worst possible time for them but it was a case of, “not a penny off the pay and not a minute on the day,” as the miner’s leader A. J. Cook put it.

The strike dragged on after the ten days of hope of the General Strike and the sell out by the TUC but the miners would not go back to work. Nanna was a protestant and Grand-dad nominally a catholic. He sent the priest running form his door when he asked for money for the church during the strike. Grand – dad never set foot in a catholic church again and only attended protestant ones for the weddings of his six children and funerals.

Churchill’s cruel comment was never forgotten by Grand-dad and the fat Tory with the cigar was not the most popular man in our street.