The Aberfan Disaster- Wales – 1966.

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  • #8999
    Tom Dalpra
    Tom Dalpra
    Participant

    21 st October 1966

    abs

    So here we go:

    ”The Aberfan disaster was a catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip in the Welsh village of Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil, on 21 October 1966, killing 116 children and 28 adults. It was caused by a build-up of water in the accumulated rock and shale, which suddenly started to slide downhill in the form of slurry.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberfan_disaster

    Embellished with details like it happened at 9:15 and no body was pulled out after 11.

    Complete with: ”The public demonstrated their sympathy by donating money, with little idea of how it would be spent. Donations flooded in to the appeal and within a few months, nearly 90,000 contributions had been received, totalling £1,606,929[18] (2008:£21.4 million).

    The management of this fund caused considerable controversy over the years. Many aspects of the aftermath of the Aberfan Disaster remained hidden until 1997, when the British Public Records Office released previously embargoed documents under the thirty year rule. These documents revealed new information about the machinations of Lord Robens, the NCB and the Charity Commission in the wake of the Aberfan Disaster.”

    Well, I’ve put this in here under ‘suspicious media events’ because I haven’t really looked at it to say with complete conviction. What I would say is that this little gem ( if I may call 116 dead children that?) looks like a complete set-up.

    Look at that 1966 – 116 children wow. That was a lot.
    Quite how they’d simulate 116 children I don’t know, but my instinct is that in 1966 Merthyr Tidfil was pretty wild. Maybe you could lose a hundred in those days. Families were much bigger then.

    ”Where are they?”
    ”Under the mud, gone!”

    Shades of 9/11 on the pile there.

    My absolute highlight on first viewing of this short film, was the lady at 2:48. . I recommend anyone listen to her good humour and nice smile and manner, in telling the nice man from the television about her son ”It’s a boy” who is currently- ”under the rubble”. Classic.

    Can we move this thread to definite psyOps yet? 🙂

    116 dead children? NOT say I!!! :-))

    DalTampra

    #9002
    Tom Dalpra
    Tom Dalpra
    Participant

    Now I’m a bit tentative posting this but it’s just an irresistible little bit of Aberfan brain-storming, if you will.

    Aberfan – 116 children dead? That’s huge. Why did I not really know about that one? It’s – dare I say – buried, a bit.

    But yeh, Aberfan. Ten years after the Aberfan tragedy, many teenagers in Britain were Abba fans. They were THE NO.1 pop band in the UK.
    It sounds perhaps tenuous, but the phrase ”ABBA fan” was inserted, I think. Deliberate or not, that expression was inevitably often heard as the number of their fans became huge right across Europe (ABBA made more per annum more than Volvo or Electrolux one year – or something)

    Is this possibly another subtle reference? A mass subliminal?

    When we look at the figure of 119 dead children in mirror image we see 911.
    The ABBA name was always portrayed with the B’s back to back – this suggests a mirroring.

    This is me just riffing. It may well be a crazy idea… but I’m open to it.

    There is no doubt that the expression Abba Fan has been used many many times in relation to people who enjoy the music of that group over the last 40 years. I’d never heard of the other Aberfan. Those 119 children. That’s very powerful…people try and forget…they bury it…and then they’re nudged back to it by suggestion and they don’t realise it…just maybe…

    Will some Abba fans reading this ever hear the expression in the same way again?

    The other thing I was trying to find out was when the term ‘land-slide victory’ came into popular usage for elections. A land-slide, in real life, is never a good thing really. We’re comfortable with the term for a decisive Election victory but what if that was popularised say by Harold Wilson’s 1966 Election victory…surely not? I couldn’t find the newspapers from that election easily.

    The earliest reference I’ve got so fa is this one:

    nix

    Edit: Just to show it wasn’t popularised by the 1966 election! I had to check 🙂

    ike

    DalTampra

    #9003
    Tom Dalpra
    Tom Dalpra
    Participant

    This BBC ‘on this day’ page is a little thin all round, notably on credible witnesses, several who appear to have migrated.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/witness/october/21/newsid_3194000/3194860.stm

    ‘Highlights’? My eye caught this first-hand account:

    ”Then over the next few days, miners were coming home to my village, Dowlais, in tears – I’d never seen such a sight.

    Grown men, hard men distraught and tales of limbs being found.

    One of the lads at school, his father was the headmaster and he died”. Alan UK

    Ah yes, we have the classic – ‘even-the-hardest-men-were-weeping uncontrollably-like-babies’ line.

    And, the headmaster perished. That’s always a tidy one. Text book.
    This story holds-up like a chocolate fire-guard.

    DalTampra

    #9018
    Carole Thomas
    Carole Thomas
    Participant

    mmm – there doesn’t seem to be much interest in it locally. Someone from Merthyr Tydfill started a forum topic on how to commemorate the disaster and didn’t get very far. Even the list of names of the victims seems to be missing here.
    http://oldmerthyr1.proboards.com/thread/68

    Whatever reality is, it's not that.

    #9019
    Carole Thomas
    Carole Thomas
    Participant

    Here is a list of victims from the online memorial site “Gone too soon”.
    http://www.gonetoosoon.org/memorials/aberfan-disaster
    Again- there seems to be very little activity.
    Interestingly the children are listed alphabetically by first name.

    Whatever reality is, it's not that.

    #9020
    Carole Thomas
    Carole Thomas
    Participant

    Curiouser and curiouser – seems like the birthdates of the children who died in the Aberfan disaster are unknown according to Find-a-Grave
    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=vcsr&GSvcid=132050 😕

    Whatever reality is, it's not that.

    #9021
    Carole Thomas
    Carole Thomas
    Participant

    More details from the South Wales Police museum. What’s up with the missing class register(s)?

    http://www.southwalespolicemuseum.org.uk/en/content/cms/history_of_the_force/the_aberfan_disaster/the_aberfan_disaster.aspx

    The police painstakingly determined the final fatality roll by arranging for press and television publicity asking all persons to notify either the police or Bethania Chapel if they knew of any missing persons who might have been involved in the tragedy. A check was then made on such persons via house to house inquiries.

    Only two class registers were available for the staff and children at Pantglas Junior School. In order to determine the numbers of deceased, it was necessary to rewrite the missing registers by checking on all possible pupils in the school’s admission book.

    A count was also carried out on all the pupils in Pantglas Senior School, where all the class registers were available.

    The class registers were checked with three surviving teachers and the borough education department. No discrepancies were found.

    A count was carried out for the occupants of the demolished houses, and checked with the electoral register, health executive list, the school list and the Reverend K Hayes who kept his own list. There were no discrepancies.

    Whatever reality is, it's not that.

    #9024
    Tom Dalpra
    Tom Dalpra
    Participant

    A count was carried out for the occupants of the demolished houses, and checked with the electoral register, health executive list, the school list and the Reverend K Hayes who kept his own list. There were no discrepancies.

    Mmmm…interesting Carole, identification by lists, including the Reverand’s own personal list…

    The victims and their addresses were actually listed in the newspaper at the time.
    I do wonder how it would all work?

    http://www.alangeorge.co.uk/Images_A-H/Aberfan_NamesOfTheDead_ME-28-10-1966_adj.jpg

    I have a personal experience of Merthyr Tydfil from 1991. I went there to do a gig with my band in the town club.

    Before the gig the management ( a 90 year old woman) was rolled out to meet us and we were warned to expect bottles to be thrown at us because that was ‘normal’. We weren’t to be offended. It was some sort of sign of appreciation!

    I’ve done a lot of gigging all over the country but that never happened anywhere else! Merthyr Tydfil won the prize for the wildest place to play.

    Our impression was ‘a bunch of neanderthals’. We had a good gig and we loved it there for the people and it’s wildness, but it perhaps gives an insight into what a place like Aberfan may have been like in 1966.

    It would have been pretty poor, rugged and ‘unsophisticated’, I think.

    aber3

    ‘Like a fairy Grandfather’ was a quote from the time regarding BBC paedophile Jimmy Saville’s visit to Aberfan in 1967.
    savab

    Father Michael St Clair from St Mary’s Church had these words to say on the occasion of the 40th anniversary.

    “Why do we commemorate so many things? Because we are a people who remember.

    “Why are we here in these valleys? Coal is responsible.

    “In those days they didn’t realise what they were doing, in our days we are so concerned with global warming and the effect on the environment.”


    Mmm, changing times.

    DalTampra

    #9122

    xileffilex
    Participant

    Really not many images available. Some survivor articls on anniversaries. Is that the building in the photos, looking like a school, which was buried by “10 metres of slurry”?

    http://www.codex99.com/photography/60.html

    Survivor stories:
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/exclusive-40-years-on-the-children-645120
    the blond haired boy survivor story seems very odd – like if he had coal black hair he wouldn’t have survived…. [wouldn’t his hair have been black from the slurry?]

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-23439430

    http://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2011/10/21/remembering-the-aberfan-disaster-45-years-ago-today/

    http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/182/6/532.full
    2003

    A register of 145 survivors from the primary school, aged 4–11 years at the time of the disaster, was compiled using the admission records of the Afon Taf comprehensive school in Aberfan, which almost all of the survivors subsequently attended. Of those survivors, 115 were traced to their current addresses with the help of the Bro Taf Family Health Services Authority and current general practitioners….41 agreed to take part in the study (36%; 28% of total). Of the 115 who were invited to take part, 25 declined, 1 had died and 48 did not reply….Unfortunately, definitive claims about the group’s representativeness cannot be made. Ethical restrictions prevented us from obtaining any information about the survivors who had not consented to take part in the research. However, some of the survivors were seen by a psychiatrist after the disaster at the request of solicitors requiring medico-legal reports. As these records are now in the public domain, we were granted access to them.

    That seems like a lot of survivors from the junior school.

    #9123
    Tom Dalpra
    Tom Dalpra
    Participant

    afr

    http://www.codex99.com/photography/60.html

    Excellent link there xilef.

    Visibility in the town was so poor that morning that no one could see up Myndd Merthyr, but as the children later recalled, they could hear the landslide – it sounded as if a jet was crashing.

    It appears that no one saw it coming. Visibility was that bad. Well, that’s tidy. There’s your smokescreen. I don’t know how misty, or smoggy it got around there back then and how controllable that may have been – ie could a local industry output guarantee these conditions – but it certainly looks like a tidy smokescreen within the psyOp scenario.

    Now this is telling I think.

    ”The town of Aberfan was founded sometime in the early 1900s and by the 1960s nearly 80% of the men in the town worked at Merthyr Vale.”

    ( sometime in the early 1900’s’??)
    The thing that really struck me was that ‘80% of the men in the town worked at the pit’.
    So, most of the men of course, were out of town at 9:15 the morning of the disaster. The town would normally be, if not deserted, considerably quieter during the day. 80% of it’s men leaving en masse early morning for the mine.

    That’s a daily in-built evacuation in itself.

    So now we have a Smokescreen and a partial evacuation without even trying.

    News spread quickly and in many cases people simply dropped what they were doing, grabbed a shovel, and went to Aberfan. By the next day the town was overrun with nearly 2000 volunteers, most of whom were just in the way of the organized rescue. But by then it didn’t matter – no child was pulled out of the school alive after 11:00 am on Friday.

    The 2000 volunteers just got in the way of the ‘organised rescue’? Mmmm keeping the hordes off the controlled pile of shite. Still, it makes it seem ever so dramatic.

    The media scrum that descended on Aberfan was unprecedented, and much of the coverage was sensationalized and exploitative. One rescue worker recalled “…a photographer tell a kiddie to cry for her dead friends, so that he could get a good picture.” It was also one of the first tragedies in Britain that was nationally televised. The images here were photographed for Life magazine by Terence Spencer and Marvin Lichtner.2

    Unprecedented media scrum. You’d think there’d be quite a lot of photos and footage. I’d like to see those Life photographs. 911 -119 foreshadowing – you betcha.

    Mining the South Wales Coalfield has always been particularly dangerous; 259 men died at the Prince of Wales Colliery in 1878, 290 at Albion in 1894, 439 at Senghenydd in 1913 and 266 the Gresford in 1934 to name but a few, but Aberfan was something else altogether. In an inconceivably horrible twist of fate, the disaster had completely spared the miners and instead killed their children. In the span of five minutes the town lost an entire generation.

    Perhaps a look back to 1913 and Gresford would be a good idea…

    DalTampra

    #9126

    xileffilex
    Participant

    One thing which stood out looking at the survivor stories and the lists of the dead – the Collins family. A fourth Collins, Michael Patrick, was listed as dead and living at the same address as the others in Moy Road. Yet his parents were different Collins – Gerald was the father, not John.
    There’s some interesting detail online here:
    http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/28th-october-1966/1/nuns-and-priests-dug-out-dead-at-aberfan

    The Welsh valleys were I think predominantly non-conforist Protstant hence the numbers. Some names here:

    Another child, Christopher Gerlach, was in hospital with a fractured skull. Eight Catholic children were brought out unharmed from the rubble of the village school.

    Several Catholic children from nearby Mount Pleasant who were pupils at the Aberfan school escaped because their bus was late. An Aberfan boy, Simon Rees, was sick at home. Some children had also stayed at home to go to the dentist. Anne Lee a pupil at the school, was saved by being pushed out of a window.

    Those are quite strong survival stories. I don’t see any other reference to the boy Gerlach [b.1959, who would have been 6 turning 7 at the time].
    He had a sister Claire, b 1961 who would have been 5. Parents Lawrence [b.1934] Gerlach and Marlene nee Jones. There’s someone with that name now in Weston-super-Mare where the parents also seem to have moved via 192.com. The sister married there in 1984. He would be an important living witness. Yet there is (online at least) silence about the serious incident.

    This online archive is a good source of info:

    Fr Patrick Kerrisk, priest at Aberfan at the time of the disaster, now at Holy Family in Cardiff, had only been in the parish for 11 days when disaster struck. “On the Sunday after the disaster a parishioner, John Collins, now dead, approached me and welcomed me to my new mission…then he asked me to bury his wife and two sons who had been killed while he was at work. It was a humbling experience I shall never forget.”

    [1991]
    http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/18th-october-1991/1/aberfan-joins-to-recall-dead

    It would be interesting to dig out printed copy from 1966 from mainstream newspapers.

    #9127
    Tom Dalpra
    Tom Dalpra
    Participant

    This is a 2006 documentary from the BBC. I find it wholly unconvincing.
    It’s a shame there only seems to be 26 minutes of it on the web but there’s enough here to unconvince me.

    We’re told at the start we’ll meet many witnesses, but we don’t really.

    We meet a couple of people who were children at the time. One girl who escaped the school with a broken leg ‘just hanging’, tells us how there was an arm sticking through the wall from the next classroom, which she kept pinching to see if there was any sign of life, but there wasn’t. This seems highly unlikely. Her whole testimony is unbelievable, delivered as it is in a fairly upbeat tone for something so presumably nightmarish.

    Cledwyn Davies, who casually mentions ”you know I lost one boy” doesn’t get much time on camera. I’m not surprised. He, again seems a totally unconvincing witness.

    We hear little details like how Harold Wilson visited Aberfan. It’s said when he returned home he still had what he called ‘murderous muck’ on his shoes which he couldn’t face cleaning off for weeks.
    You’d think as prime minister someone might do it for him? It was obviously another made up little story to paint a picture.

    Looking at the mass grave in the film I was struck again by the thought that ‘this is quite strange’. Would real families want their children to be buried with other children in this way? En masse? Maybe they would, but I would suggest, no, they wouldn’t. Surely many would want to bury their children somewhere they could join them one day. This mass grave doesn’t feel right to me.

    What it would do, of course, is keep it simple for the perpetrators if they’d made it all up. Just pretend to bung them all in a mass grave, after a mass funeral and have a mass-memorial on the mountainside to stand forever as a symbol of the death of the mines. Job done.

    grav

    hbg

    DalTampra

    #9128

    xileffilex
    Participant

    Witness Fr Kerrisk died in April 2012 aged 85
    http://www.bmdsonline.co.uk/16152924-obituary-patrick-kerrisk

    http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/28th-october-1966/1/nuns-and-priests-dug-out-dead-at-aberfan
    October 28 1966

    The parish priest of St. Benedict’s,[Nixonvlle, Merthyr Vale] Fr. P. Kerrisk, and his predecessor, Fr. J. Rohan, gave every help.

    Witness Fr John Rohan died in 1994 at the comparatively young age of 61.
    http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/24th-june-1994/3/obituaries

    Obituary Canon John Rohan:

    He will be remembered for his active participation in the rescue operation after the Aberfan landslide disaster in 1966, when he was a supply priest in the area….becoming parish priest at Our Lady of Penrhys, Ferndale, in 1964.
    From 1966, he became parish priest at St John Lloyd, Trowbridge,[Cardiff] for the next 19 years. In 1985, he moved to St Mary’s, Merthyr Tydfil, where he oversaw centenary refurbishments.
    His funeral was at Merthyr Tydfil, and he was buried at Maesteg.

    From the Alan George site – the tips

    #9129

    xileffilex
    Participant

    An image here of the mass interment here from across the valley
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=D1MEAAAAMBAJ
    page 105

    Some interesting narrative here:
    http://www.christian-moral.net/pdf/aberfan.pdf
    Dr David C.F. Wright

    Notice what he writes about Howard Rees, George Williams,Kenneth Davies, and also the gang at the top of the tip, the private funerals (not ennumerated) the heart attack victim, aged 19 and the soldier (don’t quite understand that) The wrecked school was demolished…
    Notice the warning at the end of the article threatening legal action for copy breach, a strange thing to write in this context. I’m not sure what interests Dr Wright about Aberfan – he’s a musician and composer on the Isle of Wight
    http://www.wrightmusic.net/pdfs/david-wright.pdf
    who was only 21 at the time he wrote his piece now online, perhaps utilising contemporary news reports.

    Howard Rees was prominent in the video.
    Enos Sims died in 2009 agd 69
    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/local-news/farewell-aberfan-campaigner-enos-sims-2070925

    He was one of the first rescuers on the scene of the Aberfan Disaster in 1966 and helped set up the Tip Removal Committee.

    Gaynor is a well quoted survivor….
    http://www.caerphillyobserver.co.uk/news/24222/ron-davies-meets-aberfan-survivor/
    February 2011

    Ron “moment of madness” Davies:

    “Gaynor was pulled from the school as an eight-year-old and we were both in tears when I presented the cheque back to her father, who was the treasurer of the fund. It was very emotional to see Gaynor again after all these years.”

    Gaynor Madgwick lost her 10-year-old sister Maralyn Minett, and seven-year-old brother Carl. She was rescued from the wreckage of the school
    with two broken legs
    BBC video, 2010:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00c3jmp

    “All I could see was this black mass shooting through the window”

    Gerald Tarr is mentioned here:
    http://www.john-summers.net/aberfan1.html [Telegraph 1967]

    Families of the 116 dead children are to get £5,000 each, but the rest of the huge Aberfan disaster fund [£1.8 million] sits at Merthyr Tydfil, where the man who launched it says: ‘Even when all the survivors are dead, still most of the fund will be unspent. Then it will go to the Exchequer.’

    http://www.mymultiplesclerosis.co.uk/interesting-documentary/aberfan.html

    Chuck Rapaport, then aged 29, was one of them. He flew in from New York to photograph the incident for Life Magazine. He expected to be coming to a town without children. But, as Rapaport discovered, some children had survived.

    Children like 10 year old Philip Thomas, sent on an errand that may have saved his life. He had been sent, with his friend Robert, down to the senior school to fetch Robert’s dinner-money from his sister, when they heard the loud rumbling. Hugh Watkins, a teacher at the senior school remembers that he thought a plane had crashed into the mountain-side. He recalls “I looked up and saw, coming down, this huge mass of slurry, boulders and trees, welling down as if the mountain had opened up and exploded”.

    As news of the disaster spread, families rushed to the scene, digging with their bare hands to try and save their children. Out of a class of 35 children, Philip Thomas was one of only two who escaped death. It was young survivors like him that Chuck Rapaport had come to photograph.

    Rapaport didn’t get to meet the most seriously injured, because these children, like Philip Thomas, were in hospital for months. Thomas recounts “I lost three fingers from my right hand, I lost my spleen, had a fractured pelvis and numerous scars from my knees to my head. I had a skin graft on the left hand side of my face, my ear was off and had to be sewn back on”

    [No, the video’s not convincing]

    #9133
    Tom Dalpra
    Tom Dalpra
    Participant

    Oh yes, Gaynor ( It’s a kinda magick ) Madgwick- She could blow the whole thing apart single-handedly – Check this version of her story out. Strap-in:

    “The first I knew there was something wrong was when I heard a horrific, terrifying rumbling noise getting louder and louder,” says Gaynor. “People were frozen to their seats with fright. I tried to run to the door, but then I saw the black coming through the windows.

    “I don’t remember anything else until I woke up. I had been impaled at the back of the classroom. Underneath me were two boys who were dead; one was foaming at the mouth, the other’s head was cut open.” (Woah, slow down here. How did you know they were dead? And how come you didn’t mention them in the other account I heard you give?) Foaming at the mouth? Was this a rare case of rabies. How unlucky could one boy get? A land-slide and rabies.

    She found a severed arm on her shoulder.(!!!???) “It was strange. (yeh, funny that. A severed arm) I was convinced it was my brother’s arm. He had been in the next classroom, and it gave me a feeling of peace to think it was him.( Is anyone following this? It’s completely ludicrous! haha) I couldn’t see or feel my legs. I think a radiator must have fallen on them. (I think one fell on your head, a big one)

    “I sat there looking at everyone. (Everyone? You sat on top of the two dead boys, one frothing at the mouth, and one with his head cut open and you had a severed arm on your shoulder that you thought was your brothers and you had a radiator on your two broken legs. We get the picture) We’d been engulfed in stuff that had the consistency of cement. It had steam coming off it. I picked up a book called Through the Garden Gate. It was full of blood, but I started to read it.” (Through the Garden Gate? Oh yeh, Janet and John. They were big back then. Handy that you had something to read at that point. Imagine the boredom?)

    Eventually rescuers began to appear. “The first person I saw was my granddad. Then I started to cry. I never forgot the look on his face.” (her Grandad was the first person there? Really?)

    Later in hospital, she asked about her brother and sister. “My Dad said they had gone to heaven and my Mum started sobbing.”

    In common with many other survivors she did not talk about that day for years.(this seems like a cover for the lack of credible real witnesses) “There was no counselling in those days and people assumed because we were children we were resilient,(Hello! It’s that resilient word) but we were suffering.” When she was a teenager, however, Gaynor underwent psychiatric treatment (I’m sure she did) – even then, neither she nor the town were ready. “That was humiliating. It was a stigma back then.”

    The tragedy continues to have a devastating effect on those involved. “Some have died young, some have been constantly depressed. Some have been in and out of psychiatric hospital. One person has become a recluse. Most people have handled it by not talking about it, but I don’t think that’s the right approach,” she says. ( Again this seems a planted excuse for the lack of real witnesses. They’ve either, gone mad or become a recluse or died young or just handled it by not talking about it).

    The writer Laurie Lee, who visited Aberfan a year after the disaster, later remarked that the surviving children were part of the “unhealed scar tissue of Aberfan”. That’s still true. ( Oh dear)

    Gaynor Madgwick – (In The Independant) What an absurdity.

    DalTampra

    #9135

    xileffilex
    Participant

    Methinks Gaynor’s outpourings need more scrutiny.

    For the moment….
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YHFrOhRA3jcC&pg=PA57
    The Aberfan Inquest was concluded in four minutesThat was because a crafty tribunal sat under Sir Herbert Edmund Davies LJ, PC, which had produced the answer required.
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19670929&id=Dn9AAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vaMMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6722,5066964
    September 29 1967

    http://centenary.llgc.org.uk/en/XCM1957/book/4/1/1.html

    Davies posed the four broad questions that the Tribunal would look into.
    ?
    What exactly happened?
    ?
    Why did it happen?
    ?
    Need it have happened?
    ?
    What lessons are to be learnt from what happened at Aberfan?
    136 witnesses were interviewed, 300 exhibits examined and 2,500,000
    words heard. The Tribunal sat for 76 days. It was the longest Inquiry of its
    type in British history up to that date.
    How the Topic was Handled
    Before the tribunal began, the Attorney General imposed restrictions on
    speculation in the media about the causes of the disaster. This, together
    with the accusations that earlier public inquiries into pit disasters were
    often whitewashes, exacerbated
    the already tense and difficult circumstances of the Tribunal.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/86405/InquiriesIncidentTheAberfanDisaster21October1966.pdf

    Thus neatly sidestepping the inquest into the deaths one imagines. A bit like the Hutton Inquiry into the Dr Kelly “death”, which was all about the Iraq war, with only a fraction of the time spent on inquest related areas, which it managed to replace.

    null
    How did this damage pattern come about?

    http://blogs.agu.org/landslideblog/2011/10/21/remembering-the-aberfan-disaster-45-years-ago-today/

    However, conditions were exceptionally difficult – the landslide mass had drained almost as soon as movement ceased, leaving a dense, cohesive mass that was difficult to excavate.

    cf….

    Pathe news footage:
    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/this-is-tragedy

    #9141
    Tom Dalpra
    Tom Dalpra
    Participant

    However, conditions were exceptionally difficult – the landslide mass had drained almost as soon as movement ceased, leaving a dense, cohesive mass that was difficult to excavate.

    Water seems to have been very important in giving this crap its’ fluidity.
    Looking at this aerial photograph it does look like there was a sort of channel higher up the hill. There’s a groove in the hillside.

    grv

    The point is always raised that there was two days of rain, but the natural spring that the pile was built on is also referenced.

    The spring could well be real and could have had an effect, BUT it might just also be a good excuse for the fact that the slide was started by running water into the pile and having a pre-prepared shoot into which the slide was controlled and aimed at the school.

    (The aerial photo shows some kind of diversion coming from the end of ‘the groove’ (or ‘the shoot’).

    BACK TO SURVIVOR STORIES

    I thought this was quite a good one from Milkman’s son and now retired Lawyer (he did well) David Davies. It’s a good story to cover for any actors playing dead perhaps being caught moving.

    Milkman’s son David Davies, now a retired lawyer, was at first dug out of the school wreckage and declared dead. Now Chuck says: “His dad was digging and digging, they would pass bodies from man to man. They passed David and said, ‘This one’s dead too.’ But his dad recognised him even though he was covered with mud and he broke out of line to carry him down to the nurse.

    “The nurse ushered him towards the row of bodies to put his boy down there but they noticed he was alive when he moved his foot.”

    David says: “Obviously the knowledge that I was brought out dead is going to have an effect for better or for worse on one’s life. ( Oh obviously Dave, one of the two) Thankfully in my case, it has had a positive effect.”

    Gaynor Madgwick gives a different version of her unlikely story here. She’s even got a book out. I wonder what version of her story that’s got in it? Here she says she was unaware of the sex of the owner of the hand poking through the wall. Previously she’s said that it was a severed arm that she was reassured to think, was her brothers’ and in another account was an arm poking through the wall which she thought was her brother and kept pinching to see if they were alive.

    Gaynor wrote an account of the day, saying: “It was all like a dream. Bodies lay crushed and buried. I could see a child’s hand through a gap in the wall – I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. I squeezed the hand and pinched it. I didn’t know if it was alive, but it was dead.”

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/exclusive-40-years-on-the-children-645120#ixzz30xa0TBL0

    This is Gaynor here. Circled bottom right, delighted to see Jimmy Saville on his school visit to Aberfan in April 1967 just 5 months after being seriously injured in the disaster. I haven’t found out how long she was supposed to be off school for, but she looks well.

    gayns

    Gaynor’s not in this one. Unless she’s buried…squeezing an ‘arm’. Sorry.

    sav

    DalTampra

    #9143

    xileffilex
    Participant

    Tom – read the DCF Wright online pdf which I mentioned a few posts back – it talks quite a bit about the water. I think though that Wright has drawn heavily on the official narrative as put across at the Aberfan Tribunal. I am guessing that these people were witnesses. I’d love to see the full report.
    These are the key players up the mountain which Davies mentions:
    Charge hand Leslie Davies; the Unit Mechanical
    Engineer at the colliery, Vivian Thomas; Gwyn Brown, the crane driver, and David Jones, a “slinger”

    Alarm bells ring from this part of the story – the men went into the cabin to have tea and thus were saved from the downward mud slide….

    #9144
    Tom Dalpra
    Tom Dalpra
    Participant

    So, flooding was a real problem. In Mining towns. Aberfan and Methyr. Properties were regularly flood-damaged. Specifically here, it seems drainage off the mountain down to the town needed sorting out.

    The slip meant that that lingering problem of bad drainage from the mountain got sorted out in 55 days…

    So, what’s that got to do with the slip? That contributed to it, I assume? The bad drainage. I’m not really up-to-speed on coal waste spill science…there had been slips before. The bosses knew it happened and what the physics were.

    I’m trying to get a grip on whether this was actually a credible danger before it happened. Mining disasters and land slip science are things I need to brush up on for that!

    Meanwhile, back at the pit head here’s Gwyn Brown at the base of the pile, I assume, around 9:15am 21st October 1966.

    ”I was standing on the edge of the depression and what I saw I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was starting to come back up. It started to rise slowly at first. I still didn’t believe it, I thought I was seeing things. Then it rose up pretty fast at a tremendous speed. Then it sort of came up out of the depression and turned itself into a wave -that is the only way I can describe it…down the mountain…towards Aberfan…in the mist…”

    That’s the only direct witness of the collapse we have I think. Gwyn Brown the crane driver remained, ‘on the edge of the depression’. There’s no mention of anyone else witnessing it there. There’s reference to a ‘gang’ who helped move the crane back and these are the same ‘men’ who went to tea, I assume, Jones the slinger, included. So yeh. That would be convenient if something was done at that point to get it going.

    Quite why they didn’t consider the situation an urgent matter, I don’t know.
    It certainly doesn’t look very far from the bottom of the original pile down to the village. I’m quite happy to accept that this was a Health and Safety shambles. It wouldn’t be the first time. But…

    They had a 10 foot subsidence at 7:30am. A crane rails section at the base of the pile had broken. They sent a message down the mountain (by foot as the phone was out) to the guy, Thomas at the colliery but not to the village. All that happened was a decision was made to move the crane back and tip somewhere else on Monday. Correct me if I’m wrong but the phone lines being stolen wasn’t the reason the villagers weren’t warned. It wasn’t considered a serious risk it seems.

    As I read it. The ten foot subsidence was considered a concern, but not a grave one and no warning was sent.

    The gang moved the crane back and sorted out the rails and then went for tea just after 9. Then it went.

    Excuse my perhaps meandering thoughts. I wanted to post at least Brown’s statement and a bit of that 1967 story as the DCF Wright article is un-cut-and-pastable and as you suggest, xileffilex, it does give a (fresh-to-1967) – official narrative version of some of the basics, not often seen elsewhere on this thread, at least.

    I don’t want to get lost in irrelevant detail, in the psy-op scenario they could say what they like. The best we can perhaps say is that there wasn’t any undue panic and they conveniently were all on tea break when it went…

    http://www.christian-moral.net/pdf/aberfan.pdf

    ————————————————-

    Aberfan lays claim to being THE FIRST BIG BRITISH TELEVISION PSYOP. Tv was new in the Uk then, I think? I was born that year. I didn’t live it as such.

    Multi-media, of course, 1967 style, with the pictures in the oh-so-lush and advert packed pages of 1967 LIFE magazine. Magazines like that were emerging too I guess.
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=D1MEAAAAMBAJ

    All smiles :-))
    liz

    DalTampra

    #9145
    Tom Dalpra
    Tom Dalpra
    Participant
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2 thoughts on “The Aberfan Disaster- Wales – 1966.

  1. Pingback: ABERFAN DISASTER. Was It The UK’S 1st Televised PSYOP? | WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE??

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