My father Jack Newman, was a member of the civil defence and had recently lost his job as a miner when Llanbradach pit closed. He was collected by the civil defence and went there to work with the other miners trained in pit Rescue. One of the first teams to arrive, he helped dig in and pull the bodies out. Bodies of children the same age as me. I was 6 at the time. When he eventually came home, maybe 2 days later, he cried. I never saw him cry before or since. This was a man who fought in WW2, saw the horrors of war at first hand. But Aberfan touched him in a way nothing else seemed to have done. He changed. He was distant, didn’t laugh anymore. He withdrew into himself and never really came back. He gardened, studied for a diploma in horticulture and became eventually a park and garden officer for the local authority. But he, the Dad who went to Aberfan on the 21st of October never came back. Today we’d probably call it post traumatic stress disorder. I’m sure many families also suffered this. The children were the first victims, their familes, the second wave of victims. Then there were the rest. People like my Dad. He died in 1978, aged 59. But I lost him in 1966. This was just my way of marking this 50th anniversary and finally letting him go. And sending love to everyone else who lost someone in or because of Aberfan. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
One Reply to “Aberfan”
I often think of Uncle Jack when I look at the many trees at Morgan Jones Park, some of which I am sure he would have planted. A good man, very much missed…
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