Wednesday 19 October 2016


On October 21st 1966, 50 years ago this Friday, the village of Aberfan was changed forever.

A coal spoil-tip fell on the school.

Over 1 million cubic feet of industrial waste fell on the village, killing 116 children, and 28 adults.

We remember, and I give my small tribute here:


The heart was hollowed from the land
You left the guts to choke us.

A mountain fell on innocent heads.
You faced no prosecution.

Our children meant nothing to you.
Just a poor man's son, a poor man's daughter.

Our children were killed
By a black heart -
A company, an industry,
which cared more for profit than people.

You murdered them with your neglect.

When we screamed 'Murderers!'
you told us we didn't understand
Inferred we should defer to our betters.
Westminster ignored our anger and our pain.

You expected us to bow our heads,
Mumble 'yessir, nosir, threebagsfullsir,'
and creep away.

A father, speaking for a nation, speaking for a people, speaking for his child
Insisted on the truth.
Died of asphyxia and multiple injuries?

You buried our children alive.

You took the heart from the mountains,
Left the guts to rot on a hillside.
And buried our children alive.

And we remember.
Wales will always remember.

You murdered
the children
of Aberfan.


  1. Wow. I had no idea about this tragedy, but we don't really get taught about Welsh, Scottish, or Northern Irish history and events here. Which isn't right, considering we're all part of the same island and nation. Your poem is beautiful and the link to the father's line was shocking. I'm against coal use anyway, but this... Let's hope nothing like this happens again :(

    1. I can't believe that you've never heard of Aberfan!

      The family's relief fund had to be used for clean-up, and to remove the remaining tips around the village. They were only paid back in 2007 - by the Welsh government, which didn't even exist in 1966, not by Westminster.

      My father was the same age as a lot of the children who died - and was in school less than 20 miles away that morning. If that had been his school, I wouldn't exist.

      Please tell people about Aberfan - it's a lesson about what happens when companies ignore their corporate responsibility, and apart from that, it deserves to be remembered 50 years later.

  2. Wow I've never even heard of this tragedy until today but I feel like I should have because of the mass casualties it caused. 116 children?! That's sickening. It's good there's people like you that will never forget <3

    1. Despite the fact that they should not have put a coal tip above a school, or on top of a stream (which makes the tip fundamentally unstable), and they had been warned not long before that it was becoming unsafe, there were still no prosecutions.

      This is what happens when people's lives mean less than money - please tell anyone who will listen about Aberfan. <3


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