Authors, Book Review

As I Recall: A Bevin Boy’s Story

by Derek Hollows R.I.P.

This isn’t my usual type of book review. It’s in honour of the Author Derek Hollows who was my Uncle who sadly passed away last week at the age of 92.

RIP Derek Hollows
Take around 1976
as I like to remember him.

He was a remarkable, educated man who loved his family deeply. At the age of 16 he went to join the Air Force as he thought it was his duty to fight for his country, but was turned down and told to go home. Once the war was over he finished his studies and eventually became a teacher.

My uncle only told his sister (my mother) a couple years ago that he had actually been caught in a big collapse at the coal face and that he was only just pulled out in time. During his time down the pit he witnessed some horrific sights and accidents.

Right up until he passed away last week he still had to sleep with a light on at night, as being in the collapse had affected him so much. You wouldn’t think it would still affect him all these year later, but it did.

The Bevin boy’s have never really been thanked for their efforts in keeping the country going, so the factories could carry on making everything that our armed forces need to win the war. To me they are forgotten hero’s and unfortunately we have so few records from these unsung hero’s. I’m glad however that my Uncle Derek wrote this book.

Below is the review I wrote on Amazon when the book was published:

The Unsung Army of Bevin Boy’s Who Were Also True Heroes.

This is a lovely book telling us about the life of Ernest Bevin’s, Bevin Boy`s. It’s a part of our WWII history not many of us have known about or have even heard about.

If it wasn’t for these brave men who risked all kinds of hazards, going deep underground to reach the pit face, and digging for coal, Britain’s power stations would not have been able to keep producing the precious power to keep the country running.

This book tells you of the highs and lows of their lives, how hazardous being a miner really is, but underneath all of this, they had their own sense of humour which kept them going. With short stories and poems bring their lives to life for the modern reader.

A thank you to the Bevin Boy’s who did such a job not many in this day and age will ever have to experience.


The author, having intending to join the RAF, was suddenly, without warning, redirected to the coal pits of Lancashire under an emergency arrangement to keep Britain’s power stations working during the war. Ernest Bevin, then Minister of Labour, gave his name to the scheme which eventually took some 40,000 young national servicemen to work underground. Equally, if not more hazardous than life in the armed services, the Bevin Boys helped to meet the country’s desperate need for coal during the years 1943 to 1948.

“As I Recall” is a tribute to the Bevin Boys and to their mentors, the miners whose courage and unique sense of humour are legendary. This book also honours the memory of those Bevin Boys who tragically lost their lives from 1943 to 1948 and the thousands of miners world-wide who during the course of their labours, have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Pages: 168. Publication Date: 1 November 2007. My Rating:

Lastly I would like to pay my respects to all of the Men & Women who survived and to those who sadly lost their lives to give us the lives we have today. LEST WE FORGET.

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