he really the pantomime villain of the story?
The Miners Federation of Great Britain led by Chairman Ben Pickard from Yorkshire had long been engaged in a fight for improved working conditions for miners. Central to their struggle was the desire to shorten the working day and at the heart of this lay the issue of safety. Isaac Evans of Neath had long contended that in South Wales the incidence of accidents tended to occur
|Young miners after a long shift.|
Recorded incidents include:
"I feel a particular sentiment in regard to this measure, because, as you perhaps knew, my father, the late Lord Randolph Churchill always supported it long before it had attained the wide measure of popular strength it now has behind it, and I am quite sure he would have been proud to lend his support to an Administration engaged in driving that measure forward to the statute book.
I urge upon you to impress upon your fellow workers in the great cities who are not themselves connected with coal-mining that your cause is a just one, and that out of justice there never came harm to anyone in the world. '. .
. . . If you can show the people in the next few years that they did not suffer by the institution of an eight hour day for the miners, but on the other hand that they gained, you will strike a great blow, not only for yourselves but for humanity in general". (Winston Churchill addressing miners at the Caemawr Fields, Porth)
|D. A. Thomas, owner of the powerful Cambrian Combine.|
|Leonard Llewellyn (left) at the Glamorgan Colliery, Llwynypia.|
|Leonard Llewellyn on site .|
|Checkweighers determined how much a miner was paid.|
|Leonard Llewellyn (seated left).|
|Leonard llewellyn (seated centre) president of Llwynypia RFC.|
|Flood water flows down Wern Street past Cwmclydach school.|
|Locked-out Ely Pit workmen standing by drams.|
|Mrs D.A. Thomas cuts the first sod of the Anthony Pit at the|
Naval Colliery. Leonard Llewellyn in close attendance.
lock out the seventy men involved directly in thedispute but also eight hundred men who were not. The coalowners association rejected an offer of arbitration and on September 1st, 1910 the lockout took effect. On September 5th the Nantgwyn and Pandy Pits stop work in sympathy with the Ely Pit workmen. In lodge meetings held on 7th September it was decided the Cambrian and Glamorgan Collieries would join the strike. On the 1st of November the South Wales Miners Federation declares the official start of the strike. War is effectively declared.
|Coalowners awaiting miners response to their terms.|
Leonard Llewellyn takes centre stage.
|A section of the Glamorgan Police under Captain Lindsay's command.|
|Strikers on the Empire Hill following a mass meeting.|
|Cambrian Colliery, Clydach Vale|
|Strikers gather outside the Glamorgan Power House.|
|The strikers assemble on Tonypandy Square|
|William Abraham M.P was known by his bardic|
|The graves of the victims of the 'Featherstone Massacre'.|
|Major General Macready|
|Metropolitan Police talking to miners after the 'riots'.|
|Mass meeting of strikers at Mid-Rhondda Athletic Grounds|
"You may give the Miners the following message from me:- Their best friends here are greatly distressed at the trouble which had broken out, and will do their best to help them to get fair treatment. Askwith, Board of Trade, wishes to see Mr. Watts Morgan with six or eight local representatives at Board of Trade two o' clock tomorrow, Wednesday. But rioting must cease at once, so that the enquiry shall not be prejudiced, and to prevent the credit of the Rhondda Valley being injured. Confiding in the good sense of the Cambrian Combine workmen we are holding back the soldiers for the present and sending only police." - Churchill."
|Police inside the Glamorgan Power House|
|The inaccurate reporting of the press angered strikers.|
|Shops in Dunraven Street the day after the 'riots'.|
|More police arriving in Tonypandy.|
If a leader is judged by the people he gathers around him then Churchill's appointment of Major General Macready was inspired. Had the coalowners expected the military to 'side' with them in the same manner as the Glamorgan police they were soon to be disillusioned.
|Children walking alongside the troops.|
Despite outraged protestations by Labour M.P. Keir Hardy and the M.F.G.B. that the deployment of troops was an insult to the law abiding citizens of Mid-Rhondda the troops were welcomed by the majority of the community. W. H. Mainwaring, one of the leaders who had accompanied the trumpeter in rousing the strikers to 'draw the fires' at Cambrian Colliery on the first day of the strike had this to say of Winston Churchill and the intervention of the military.
"We never thought Winston Churchill had exceeded his natural responsibility as Home Secretary. The military that came into the area did not commit one single act that aroused the slightest resentment by the strikers. On the contrary, we regarded the military as having come in the form of friends in order to modify the otherwise ruthless attitude of the police force."
"The Police didn't mix with people, the soldiers did you know," observed one eye witness.
|There was no reason to keep the horses underground.|
"I was obliged," he stated, "to take him and his employer severely to task for the exaggerated press reports of which he was the instigator."
I don't imagine Leonard Llewellyn took kindly to this rebuke. He continued to manipulate the press and succeeded in gaining public sympathy to such a degree with regard to the underground horses that the King himself expressed his concern. Conversely the strikers were perceived as uncaring and brutish. General Macready reported that one of the strikers' representatives told him there was no reason to keep the horses below, it being 'a trick to excite public sympathy'. The King inquired of the Home Office as to the state of the horses, which had become an international story in the press. General Macready reported that, "the state of the horses in the Tonypandy pit is satisfactory".
|Stokers from Cardiff inside the Glamorgan Power House|
|Tonypandy and Dinas Stations became flashpoints when Leonard Llewellyn|
imported 'blacklegs' - stokers from Cardiff.
Churchill recognised that given the entrenched position adopted by mine owners and strikers friction was inevitable. One of the most serious instances occurred after Leonard Llewellyn informed General Macready of his intention to import eleven men from Cardiff to keep the mine going at Llwynypia. Somehow the strikers learnt of the plans and congregated at Tonypandy and Dinas station in numbers. A large force of Metropolitan police was dispatched to the scene along with a half company of Lancashire Fusiliers, two companies of infantry (Royal Munster Fusiliers and the Devon Regiment) and a squadron of Hussars from Pontypridd. Meanwhile Chief Constable Lindsay proceeded from Llwynypia through Tonypandy with a body of police. They eventually dispersed the strikers who, having been driven from Tonypandy station, congregated on the square at Penygraig.
"Arrest and prosecution should follow in all cases where evidence is forthcoming against law-breakers. Cases of intimidation clearly going beyond peaceful persuasion, even if they cannot be prevented at the time should be investigated afterwards with a view to the conviction of the offenders. The police should not hesitate to make arrests where 'prima facie' cases disclose, and after every incident of disorder police inquiries and detective work should be rigorously prosecuted. This does not mean that pickets should be hustled or the police force be dissipated and exhausted in futile efforts, and must not be brought in conflict with my general advice to the Chief Constable to go gently in small things. . "
". . . the doctrine of extreme socialism preached by a small but energetic section." He also observed, ". . . in justice to the strike committee in the Rhondda Valley, I must say that when they gave their word to me to carry out any undertaking it was scrupulously adhered to, a line of conduct which the employers might well have imitated."
"We have been deliberately and foully misrepresented by a large section of the public press. We have been bludgeoned by the police. One of our comrades lost his life in contending with the police. Two comrades in the stress of the struggle in illness and privation committed suicide. Many of our fellows have suffered imprisonment. Some are now in prison who have foully had their liberty sworn away, and are as innocent of any crime as any reader of this appeal. If we could only tabulate even a part of this suffering and misery endured by our women and children, we feel sure that you will agree with us that the fight has gone too far and the suffering too great that we should now be handed over to the mercy of the D. A. Thomas Combine. "
|Young Miners receiving their strike pay.|
|Up to 400 children a day were being fed at|
the Constitutional Club, Penygraig
"We have opened our hall as a kitchen, and are supplying from 150 to 200 jugs of soup daily to starving miners and their families. In numerous instances there are large families to be fed, and no money has come into the house for thirteen weeks it is most sad to see how greatly the women and children are suffering. In one home that I visited I found the father by the bedside of his dying wife; they had but one request to make that I would see that the children got a drop of soup."
Soldiers left food outside homes and members of the Metropolitan police were so moved by the plight of the strikers they also brought food to starving families in the Llwynypia 'terraces'.
"The car left the Butcher's Arms. Penygraig, at 9.15 a.m. on Monday, with a hearty send- off, and proceeded over the Beacons to Brecon and Llandovery, down the Vale of Towy to
|Maimed survivors prepare for their day trip.|
The Great War ended his association with Rhondda. He served as the Controller of Materials at the Ministry of Munitions during the First World War and and was awarded even more medals. Inevitably, he received a knighthood, served as Sheriff of Monmouth and became a director of twenty one companies. At the time of his death in 1924 Sir Leonard Wilkinson Llewellyn was living in Llanfrecha Grange.
|Home Secretary Winston Churchill|
"They are the hardest employers I have ever met in my life."
None fitted this description more than D. A. Thomas and his trusted lieutenant Leonard Wilkinson Llewellyn.