Aberfan - 40 years on, Children of the Valley TV doc

Discussion in 'Wales/Cymru' started by editor, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. editor

    editor hiraethified

    This looks interesting - it's a documentary following American photojournalist IC "Chuck" Rapoport, who recorded the disaster for Life magazine, as he returns to Aberfan to meet adults he photographed as children.

    I can still remember the events of Aberfan vividly and it never fails to get the tears welling up.

    I was at school when the disaster happened and we all felt the loss. It was a dark and dreadful day for south Wales.
  2. Gavin Bl

    Gavin Bl terrible awful baaad

    thanks for that ed, I'll stick a tape in for it - we still have a photo from the front of the Financial Times shortly after, with my dad walking along in front of the collapsed tip/school - as he'd just started working for Merthyr council, involved in clearing the site, after the initial attempts to dig the children out.
  3. editor

    editor hiraethified

    Fucking hell it's sad stuff alright....
  4. Johnny Canuck3

    Johnny Canuck3 Well-Known Member

    I recall the disaster and the photo article in Life magazine; I was in grade school. I believe it was my first exposure to the idea that children could die like that.
  5. editor

    editor hiraethified

    The program is about the Life photographer coming back 40 years later and talking to the boys he met.

    You can see all the survivors have been deeply scarred for life: they're strong miner's sons yet they're still fighting back the tears when they recall the terrible thing they lived through.

    One guy only survived because he was sent out on an errand. When he came back his entire class had been killed. How could you ever get over that?
  6. Johnny Canuck3

    Johnny Canuck3 Well-Known Member

    These sorts of things will undoubtedly affect you for life.

    There's a similar news story here in Canada, that has some of the same things happening.

    Back in 1985, an Air India flight from Canada was destroyed by a bomb. It went into the sea off the Irish coast.

    The relatives of the dead went to Ireland to identify remains, etc. They formed a close bond with the Irish people who took them in, who retrieved remains from the sea, etc.

    Some of these relatives return yearly to Cork; it's a highly emotional time for them and for the people of Cork.
  7. bendeus

    bendeus Bellend Tagline Generator

    Aberfan was truly terrible. A number of the people living in Bryncynon (where I work) walked over the mountain to dig them out. An equal number from the same place will never, ever forget that day.

    They're apparently thinking of an Aberfan silence at one of the upcoming home City games. I truly, truly hope that the opposing fans don't do anything like Bristol City did on that infamous day when they started chanting the name to rile the home support :(
  8. bendeus

    bendeus Bellend Tagline Generator

    I remember that, alright. Some of the bodies were washed up on our local beach due to the prevailing currents. Again, horrible. :(

    RIP, everyone.
  9. cesare

    cesare don't mourn, organise!

    My uncle was there, with everyone else, trying to dig to recover the victims.

    I missed this programme, if anyone taped it I'd be really grateful pint/server fund etc if I you could let me have a copy.
  10. editor

    editor hiraethified

    It's still on now. They were just talking about a guy who went out to work and came back to find his house destroyed and his wife and two children dead.

    He was known as the man who lost everything - he didn't even have a picture to remember his wife and kids by. :(
  11. ddraig

    ddraig dros ben llestri

    well that got me blubbing at least 4 or 5 times :(
  12. LilMissHissyFit

    LilMissHissyFit Disturbed in a pink bra

    Ive just blubbed
    not only is Mr Fit a press photographer, his Bampi was at aberfan, he drove his truck up and helped to dig out the kids and adults who were trapped.

    all he could tell my 10 year old was " its was terrible, awful, terrible" before he died( almost 2 years ago now) and he eas a man who was never short of an opinion on anything he fekt strongly about

    Ive watched that programme and seen a tiny touch of what I think he saw when my 10 year old looked into his face and said " Tell me what it was like bampi, tell me"

    They were doing it as a history project:(

    Off now to have another blub, Mr fit has already fucked off to bed muttering...we have kids just like them, fucksakes. The kids who survived are only a few years older than Mr fit, it happened 5 years to the day before he was born
  13. editor

    editor hiraethified

    I was the same age as some of the younger kids that died. My Dad had only died three months before and everything seemed pretty bleak.

    It was huge news in Cardiff - everywhere seemed affected by the tragedy - and we had special services in school and held collections for the Aberfan kids.

    It still reduces me to tears when I think about it now, so I can't even begin to imagine what it must do to families and survivors.

    And to add insult to injury:
  14. LilMissHissyFit

    LilMissHissyFit Disturbed in a pink bra

    I think its been tough because friday I stood with others from our village at the universal colliery memorial service:(

    there wasnt a house here where someone didnt die. Now we see this which seemed nothing when it was a history lesson, now I have kids that age and so many connections its not just a history lesson, its reality which hurts for people who live with us, the lady in the corner shop, the pensioner 5 doors down who lost her dad and so on.
    I think the assembly should make up the shortfall or force the government to make up the shortfall they effectively stole from the disaster fund of aberfan for the removal of the tip. They paid it back years later, minus inflation and interest
  15. nightowl

    nightowl hamster wheel called life

    there was a bbc programme on a while back which covered a few uncomfortable truths. many of the workers responsible for the tip itself knew it was dangerous but didn't say anything for fear of the pit being closed down. i remember learning a lot about the tragedy while living in troedyrhiw which is only a mile or so along the road. it was always scary to look across to the hills above aberfan and think of those dark tips. apparently there was one guy with kids at the school who was walking his dog on the hills above troedyrhiw/merthyr vale, looked across and saw the whole thing coming down.
  16. cesare

    cesare don't mourn, organise!

  17. munkeeunit

    munkeeunit sumptuous lushness

    People usually wait more than 4 minutes before they feel ignored :confused:

    You must mean this...

    "Saturday the 21st of October marks four decades since Wales' worst disaster.

    Following heavy rain, and just hours before schools broke up for half term, a coal tip above the mining town of Aberfan began moving.

    It collapsed, destroying all in its path. It ending up covering a school, Pant Glas Juniors. The pupils were at their desks being taught by their teachers.

    The slagheap from the Merthyr Tydfil Colliery towered one thousand feet about the houses. For years, a stream had flowed through it. While on the surface, everything had looked safe and stable, underneath; the coal was being turned into black slime.

    When gravity took hold, it began racing down the hillside reaching speeds of fifty miles an hour. It was the width of a three-lane motorway.

    In total, 144 people were killed, 116 of those children."
  18. LilMissHissyFit

    LilMissHissyFit Disturbed in a pink bra

    I think it might be nice for all of us to make sure we remember in some way
    for me its going to mean explaining what bampi could/would not to my children.

    Im not going there on the day itself, that would be insensitive but I believe welsh kids should know what happened. Its their living history and important.
  19. tangerinedream

    tangerinedream Density of Sound

    I'll have a look on UK nova* and if it there is will rip it to disc for you for next week. I think it is important stuff like this is remembered and am sort of looking forward to it. This sort of history is the kind that gets lost because it belongs to 'normal' people and doesn't involve kings, queens or wars. It's also kind of odd how something like Aberfan is less remembered than say Mary Bell.

    I am willing to bet if you took a straw poll of 15 year olds and asked them to explain the connotations of the words 'Dennis Neilson' or 'Hillsborough' more of them would know Dennis neilson. I wonder why that is. I bet very few kids in Wigan know what The Maypole Disaster was.

    *sadly it's not. I was hoping to watch this myself.
  20. niclas

    niclas Active Member

    The FAW, in a rare moment of sensitivity, is holding a minute's silence before every Welsh premier league match this Saturday.

    I missed the programme but read up about it on the net today - have to admit I blubbed over the bit that said: "It was 9.15am and the children had just finished singing All Things Bright And Beautiful".

    But it was a scandal not a disaster - a scandal that it was allowed to happen, that nobody was punished for the neglect and that Wilson's govt made the villagers pay for the tips to be made safe.
  21. cesare

    cesare don't mourn, organise!

    That's a pity, but thanks so much for offering t'dream :)
  22. ZIZI

    ZIZI From 1-10 = 11

    The pupils of Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, Caerphilly, have dedicated a room in memorium to the victims of Aberfan. My daughter who is 12 has taken great pride in taking part.

    It is a fact that this Labour Government whilst paying back what was stolen from the funds raised for the people of Aberfan, have not payed back the true full amount that should have been returned.

    I was, very young at the time; I remember my uncles, who were miners, dropped everything and rushed up to Aberfan to help. When They left, they were strong muscular men who stood tall, big and powerful. Weeks later when I saw them next, they were broken men who sat down in their chairs and cried and did not speak. My aunties knew not to ask questions.

    I remember speaking to one of my uncles 30 years after, how did he cope with what he witnessed. He cried, and I never asked again because I think his tears said it all. All of my uncles are now dead and none of them spoke to anyone of what they saw. They returned to work, down the mines and dug for the very thing that had killed so many and life for them continued.
    ddraig, planetgeli and shygirl like this.
  23. editor

    editor hiraethified

    I'll merge this with the other thread.
  24. ZIZI

    ZIZI From 1-10 = 11

  25. Gavin Bl

    Gavin Bl terrible awful baaad

  26. editor

    editor hiraethified

    This photo is so unbelievably sad.

  27. LilMissHissyFit

    LilMissHissyFit Disturbed in a pink bra

    and only about 1/2 the victims are buried in the village cemetary... that row of arches is sad enough:(
  28. nightowl

    nightowl hamster wheel called life

    the ones that always get to me are those with the little photos inset on them
  29. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Ahead of the 50th anniversary in a few weeks Karl Jenkins has done a piece - there's a documentary about it on S4C tonight at 9-35 and the performance is on tmw at 7-30. On sky that's 134. I don't think S4C is on freeview outside Wales. Obv on 4 in wales. Online live is here though.
  30. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

    S4C is definitely on FreeSat in England.

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