Showing posts with label Penygraig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Penygraig. Show all posts

Monday 4 May 2020

Who Were the Real Villains of the Tonypandy Riots?

It is said that when Pathe News was shown on screen in Rhondda cinemas men would stand and jeer whenever Winston Churchill appeared. His role in the Tonypandy Riots was never forgotten and, in many cases, never forgiven. But what was Churchill's role in those turbulent times and was
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.
at the end of a long shift when men became tired and more prone to carelessness. Wales had an atrocious safety record. From 1900 to 1910 a total of 7,811 fatalities were recorded. This did not include the numerous serious injuries. Death came in many forms, often gruesome in the extreme. Rock and roof falls were commonplace inevitably resulting in mutilation or death. The incidents of fatalities involving drams was also high. Men were frequently run over or crushed. Shot firing was another hazardous task that claimed lives on a regular basis where men were literally blown to pieces.

Recorded incidents include:
falling down a shaft
entangled in steel rope, nearly cut in half;
kicked by a horse;
fell out of cage;
fell into machinery;
drowned by rush of water from old workings;
mangled by wheels of winding engine;   
explosions -  which account for many of the major disasters including Senghennydd that is to claim 439 lives and devastate a community.
Many victims are aged between 12 and 15 years, some are even younger. 
Recorded incidents include
Annie Dent, tried to cross a winding wheel in an act of bravado but the wheel
turns and mangles her legs;
Maria Susanna John, - sheltered from rain under a truck and is run over by another truck;
James Robert George, 11 - run over by tram;
Phillip Atkins, - killed by a fall while taking food to his brother;
Edward Evans, - killed by stone tumbling down from tip while picking coal;
Margaret Ann Davies, 10 - horribly mutilated by coal truck at sidings when picking
Thomas Coombes, 9 - killed in an explosion that killed 81 in total;
Thomas Richard Brenton, 9 - found with a heavy pinewood plank across his neck;
Hugh Williams, 9 - falls down an air shaft; 
William John Matthews, 8 - run over by drams while playing on the surface; 
Lilley May Rees, 7 - while playing on the tip is drawn onto the sheave by a haulage
Sutton, 7 - playing on colliery tip and runs into workers fork sustaining horrendous
injuries when the prongs entered his head; 
James Munro, 6 - run over by a truck while playing on the sidings; 
Samuel Wilcox, 6 - run over by truck and cut in two while playing on sidings; 
David Evans, 3 - strays onto the colliery sidings and becomes entangled in ropes
used to haul trucks around sheaves and is terribly mutilated; 
John William Jenkins, 3 - killed at home when father is drying gunpowder for use
in colliery; 
This is by no means an exhaustive list. 

In the July of 1908, Winston Churchill addressed the miners at the Caemawr Fields, Porth
during their annual gala. Like his father Lord Randolph Churchill before him, he is a staunch supporter of the Eight Hour Bill and as a member of Asquith's Liberal government, Churchill is in the vanguard of social reform measures, later dubbed the Welfare State'. Described by miners leader William Brace M.P. as one of the most brilliant statesmen of the day when he stands to speak, he receives a great ovation.
"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)
Although receiving the powerful support of Lord Randolph Churchill the second reading of the Bill in Parliament on May 3 1893 was bitterly opposed and consequently failed to become an Act. Leading the opposition had been D. A. Thomas M.P for Merthyr, who argued against it on
D. A. Thomas, owner of the powerful Cambrian Combine.
various grounds including a claim that support for the Bill among miners was very doubtful! William Brace, explained the situation while addressing continental mine workers in Paris,"All the power of vested interests apparently have been united for the purpose of defeating the miners. . ." Churchill had explained to miners at the Porth Gala that during a recent by-election in Manchester, ". . .a powerful attack had been made on the Government and upon myself as a consequence of that Bill, which the poorest voters were told was going to be a great injury to them in their daily life." 
After a long struggle and despite bitter resistance from the mine owners in 1908 the Bill became law as the Coal Mines Regulation Act although the opposition had succeeded in ensuring it fell far short of what the miners originally asked for.

Leonard Llewellyn (left) at the Glamorgan Colliery, Llwynypia.
Having been frustrated in his political ambitions D. A. Thomas embarks on a mission that will see him become one of the wealthiest industrialists of his generation. Cambrian Colliery manager Leonard Llewellyn will rise to power with him. It is Llewellyn who is appointed General Manager and Agent of the powerful Cambrian Combine Ltd forged by D. A. Thomas following a series of aggressive take overs. These two men are destined to play a pivotal role in events that shake the nation and define a community for generations. These are the real villains of the story.

Leonard Llewellyn bestrides Mid-Rhondda like a malignant colossus. Born in Aberaman in June 1874, Leonard Wilkinson Llewellyn is a man of distinguished pedigree. His father Llewellyn Llewellyn has held the office of High Sheriff of Monmouthshire. His maternal grandfather is the late Colonel Wilkinson of Risca, one of the pioneers of the iron and coal trade in South Wales.
Leonard Llewellyn on site .
In 1898 during the time of the Great Strike, just 24 years of age, Leonard Llewellyn is appointed manager of the Cambrian pits, Clydach Vale. In his book Cambrian Colliery and Connections, Bill Richards questions whether Leonard Llewellyn actually attained the qualifications necessary to qualify for the post of manager. This would have meant he lacked the freedom to implement the installation of a fuel saving device in the No 2 winding house in 1900 at the Cambrian Colliery which resulted in a steam explosion and the death of four men. At the inquest the coroner praised the actions of young William Morris Williams in quickly closing the main safety valve that probably saved lives including that of Llewellyn himself.  In 1905 Llewellyn displays his undoubted courage when an explosion in the same colliery claims thirty-three lives. He is among the first down the pit to help rescue the survivors. Revealing a streak of cold pragmatism Llewellyn, responds to a reporter's question regarding whether the Company's three pits will now be unworkable by declaring,"Unfortunately, yes; and 3,800 men will be rendered idle." 

As colliery manager Llewellyn did not react well to any perceived challenge to his authority. He was continually in conflict with colliery checkweighers. As men elected to this responsible position
Checkweighers determined how much a miner was paid.
by their peers checkweighers were trusted, influential figures who acted as secretaries to the men. The owners regarded them as a threat. Many, like Noah Rees and Noah Ablett, became active in promoting the socialist movement. Leonard Llewellyn was not a fan. In a case brought against a checkweigher for an incident that occurred in Cambrian Colliery, Llewellyn appears in court and is questioned by Mr. Abel Thomas K.C. acting on behalf of the checkweigher in question. Although admitting it is customary practice at the Cambrian Colliery for checkweighers to be secretaries for the men he reveals his antipathy towards them in this brief exchange:

ABEL THOMAS: In many cases you have found them useful?
LLEWELLYN: No, I have not. 

There is, practically no strata of community life in which he does not have a controlling hand. The term 'finger in every pie' could have been penned for Leonard Wilkinson Llewellyn. He is
Leonard Llewellyn (seated left).
president of the prestigious Annual Horse Shows held on the Mid Rhondda Athletic Fields. When the Titanic sinks it is Llewellyn who is elected president of the Gymkhana and Assault at Arms charity event held at the same venue in aid of the families of the two Rhondda boxers, Les Williams and Dai Bowen who went down with the ill-fated vessel. When Princess Louise visits the Rhondda in July 1909 to open the Judges Hall in memory of the late Judge Gwilym Williams, Llewellyn is not only prominent among the guests but president of the Mid-Rhondda Chamber of Trade who present the princess with a silver casket.
Leonard llewellyn (seated centre) president of Llwynypia RFC.
Llwynypia RFC have become one of the foremost teams in the country and it is no surprise therefore that at the height of their powers Leonard Wilkinson Llewellyn is installed as president. The Rhondda Golf Club, first sited at the Gellifaelog farm and now a housing estate, was opened by its president Leonard Llewellyn in June 1910. Soon members are playing for the Leonard Llewellyn Challenge Cup.

Events of 1910, however, might well have adversely affected Leonard Llewellyn's golf swing. In March he is summonsed to the Glamorgan Assizes following a writ brought against him and other officials of the Cambrian Combine on behalf of the victims of the Ely Pit Cage Disaster in
which seven men lost their lives in horrible and gruesome circumstances. He is charged with not having employed a competent person to examine the external parts of the machinery on a regular basis. A spanner bar that controlled the winding gear had broken and been repaired. Mr. Dorman, the mechanic employed by the Combine, contended that the bar had been repaired and submitted to tests: 
DORMAN: No, the brake was submitted to tests and proved satisfactory. I heard Thomas Evans say the brake was insufficient for its present purpose and that it could not hold a bond (a cage full of men). The spanner bar was, I believe, stronger than it was before it was repaired. 
MR. HILL-KELLY: And so strong that it broke a few days afterwards! 

The jury rule against the Combine a verdict that would have adverse financial consequences for the company. Whatever the cost it would represent hardly a dent in profits as under the general managership of Leonard Llewellyn the company was producing half the coal output in the Rhondda thanks to his aggressive policy of maximum profitability and cost efficiency. 

The same year sees another terrible disaster inflicted upon the inhabitants of Clydach Vale
when  a dam in an old disused colliery level above the village collapsed.

Flood water flows down Wern Street past Cwmclydach school.
A torrent of water and debris burst through the mountain and flooded down through the village. The local school housing 900 children was directly in its path and had it not been for the prompt and courageous actions of the teachers more lives would have been lost. Miners returning from their shift came to their aid preventing even greater loss of life. As it was six people died including children. The coroner praised the actions of the teachers and the workmen. At no point was any mention made of Leonard Llewellyn yet years later a local newspaper lists his involvement under the heading 'BRAVE DEEDS' stating: " . . He also displayed rare promptitude and courage when he grappled with the difficulties of the dam disaster at Clydach Vale in 1910 and undoubtedly was the means of saving many lives." 

I doubt if D.Watkins, one of the miners involved in the rescue, remembered it in quite the same way. What he would have recalled was the summons issued on behalf of the Cambrian Combine to
him and the other workmen for absenting themselves from work in order to attend the funerals of the victims. An action that would never have been taken without Leonard Llewellyn's express knowledge and consent. Following widespread criticism and organised protests the summonses were withdrawn by Mr. Kenshole, the solicitor who acted on behalf of the Combine. Mr. Kenshole did however, request from stipendiary magistrate Mr. Llefeur Thomas any costs incurred. This would in all probability be deducted from the men's wages. 

It is during the strike that precipitated the Tonypandy Riots and prompted the intervention of
Locked-out Ely Pit workmen standing by drams.
Home Secretary Winston Churchill that Leonard Llewellyn reveals his ruthless capacity for manipulation and duplicity. The strike begins at the Ely Pit in the Naval Colliery in Penygraig on August 1st 1910 when the management post lock out notices. A dispute had arisen over a new seam called 'the Bute' the management wanted to open. The men contended, because of the difficulties the new seam presented, they could not earn a living wage on the 1s 9d per ton offered by management. The men wanted 2s 6d.

Mrs D.A. Thomas cuts the first sod of the Anthony Pit at the
Naval Colliery. Leonard Llewellyn in close attendance.
Management's response was not only to
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.

From the outset there can only be one winner. No matter how long the strike may last The Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association have reached a prior agreement to
Coalowners awaiting miners response to their terms.
Leonard Llewellyn takes centre stage.
financially support its members in the event of a dispute at one of their collieries. D. A. Thomas will suffer no financial hardship while the miners face a long and bitter struggle despite the support of the newly formed Miners Federation of Great Britain. Starvation and deprivation are the weapons D. A. Thomas and Leonard Llewellyn will wield with utter disregard for the welfare of their employees and their families. For them the main focus is damage limitation. They want to ensure that when the strike is over minimal harm has been inflicted upon the infrastructure on which the Combine depends for its massive profits.

The coalowners could also call on the support of the Chief Constables of the Counties.
A section of the Glamorgan Police under Captain Lindsay's command.
The Chief Constable of Glamorgan was Captain Lionel Arthur Lindsay who had risen to the rank of Major in the Egyptian gendarmerie as part of the British Army of Occupation. His subsequent actions suggest he saw his role in the Cambrian dispute as similar to that in which he dealt with disturbances among the townspeople of the Nile Valley. Provisional arrangements for military assistance had already been made. The strikers were, apparently, in Captain Lindsay's mind perceived as the enemy. Having discussed the situation with the stipendiary and other local magistrates, some of whom were themselves coalowners, Lindsay decided to send for reinforcements to supplement the one hundred officers under his command. They were drafted, mostly into Mid-Rhondda, from Swansea (30), Cardiff (50), and Bristol (63). His brief was to protect the interests of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association and the Cambrian Combine in particular. 

Conflict appeared inevitable given the statement of intent uttered by one of the miners' leaders Will John. During a mass meeting at the Mid-Rhondda Athletic Field he declared: 
Strikers on the Empire Hill following a mass meeting.
"The Combine Workmen's Committee will strain every nerve to bring the fight to a successful issue, and it is our intention to stop any man from doing any work at the collieries. We intend to prevent any of the officials from Mr. Llewellyn downwards from entering the colliery yards." 
The strikers were encouraged to believe they would succeed by the fact that the Trade Disputes Act of 1906 had completely restored the right to peaceful picketing. Police interference in the strikers attempts at picketing was a recurring theme throughout the strike and the cause of persistent friction. 

Picketing was key to any chance the strikers had of securing a settlement that would see them
Cambrian Colliery, Clydach Vale
awarded a fair wage and improved working conditions. To succeed, it was vital they persuade members of other Unions, particularly those in charge of pumping and ventilation to abstain from work. There were also concerns regarding non-union workers and imported labour. Their initial attempts were highly successful. Early on the morning of November 7th members of the SWMF were roused from their beds by the sound of a trumpet being blown through the streets. It was effectively a call to arms led by Noah Rees and W. H. Mainwaring. The fires that heated the water for steam in Cambrian Colliery were drawn by breakfast time and every surrounding lane was patrolled by eager pickets. Work in all the Combine Collieries was brought to a halt. All except one, the Llwynypia Pit of the Glamorgan Colliery. 

Leonard Llewellyn, General Manager and shareholder of the Cambrian Combine
Strikers gather outside the Glamorgan Power House. 
understood the strategic importance of the Glamorgan Colliery Power House. He set about turning it into a virtual fortress manned by himself and around sixty officials and draughtsmen whose task it was to keep the workings open and free from water. From the outset Llewellyn employed the services of an experienced press officer kept in his employ as a secretary and throughout the strike he manipulated a more than willing press to his own ends in a masterful fashion. Understanding the importance of gaining public sympathy one of Llewellyn's first acts was to leave 300 pit ponies underground a week after the strike had begun. Llewellyn also set plans in motion to import surface labour for the Glamorgan Colliery at Llwynypia an action that would inevitably inflame the situation. The stage for conflict is set.

Having successfully stopped work at all the other pits the pickets accompanied by some of the strikers, converge on the Glamorgan Power House at Llwynypia hoping to speak to the men
The strikers assemble on Tonypandy Square
still at work inside. They are confronted by ninety nine policemen and the mounted figure of Chief Constable Lindsay. Requests to meet with the men still at work inside the power house are denied. This refusal angers the strikers who begin to tear down the wooden fencing around the building. From a banking overlooking the power house youths begin throwing stones at the trucks in the yard. It is not long before police reinforcements arrive from Clydach Vale and Tonypandy. A series of baton charges is instigated and the strikers are driven back to Tonypandy Square where they gather until gone midnight. Fifty Cardiff constables make their way down towards the Thistle Hotel and at 1.00 a.m they proceed to drive the strikers from the Square, an operation that takes over an hour. 
Chief Constable Lindsay

Using the previous night's disturbances as the catalyst the provisional arrangements made by the coalowners for requesting military assistance are now set in motion by Chief Constable Lindsay. He sends telegrams to the relevant military authorities and in reply is told that infantry and cavalry are on their way and would arrive at around 9.00 a.m. in Pontypridd. Only when they failed to arrive as anticipated did he think to inform Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, of his actions. Unfortunately for Lindsay, Churchill had already been informed of his request and the subsequent unauthorised movement of troops. Churchill immediately countermanded the order. Instead of Pontypridd the troops found themselves halted at the railway junction in Swindon. The coalowners request for military assistance issued through the channels of the magistrates and Chief Constable had been, for now, thwarted. 

Rhondda M.P. William Abraham ('Mabon') claimed much of the credit for persuading Churchill to halt the troops but in reality there were far more influential factors at play.
William Abraham M.P was known by his bardic
name 'Mabon'
There seems little doubt Churchill's sympathies lay with the miners given his, and his father's, stalwart support for the 'Eight Hours Act'. As a politician however,  there were more immediate and pressing concerns facing the Home Secretary. The growth of the Miner's Federation of Great Britain had witnessed a corresponding increase in the number of Labour M.P.'s from mining communities. With an election on the horizon his Liberal party would need their support to form a majority against the Conservatives. Yet there was an even greater motivation for resisting the involvement of troops in the dispute in Mid-Rhondda, and it had a name, Featherstone. 

Featherstone was a small West Yorkshire pit town where in 1893 a dispute over wages had broken out. Mine owner, Lord Masham, lowered the wages of his workers when the price of coal fell in order to protect his interests. The miners were locked-out until they agreed to the reduction in pay.
The graves of the victims of the 'Featherstone Massacre'.
Churchill recognised the immediate chilling parallel between the Featherstone dispute and the one taking place in Mid-Rhondda. When a large crowd of strikers gathered the colliery manager panicked and sought help from the Wakefield police. On the advice of another coalowner, Lord St. Oswald, twenty-nine soldiers of the 1st Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, under a Captain Barker, were sent to confront a crowd of around 2,000. Later that evening the local magistrate read the 'Riot Act' which meant if the crowd had not dispersed within one hour those who remained could be arrested. At some point the magistrate panicked and ordered the troops to open fire. Eight peoplevwere injured and two young men, James Gibbs and James Arthur Duggan, died of their wounds. Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, then Home Secretary, set up a Parliamentary Commission to investigate what became known as the 'Featherstone Massacre'. No compensation was paid to the injured but following an intervention by Merthyr M.P. Keir Hardy, Gibbs' and Duggans' families received £100. The government accepted no responsibility for the deaths. When the Report was published Asquith's popularity fell and he was thereafter often referred to as 'Featherstone Asquith'. Under no circumstances did Churchill want to find himself saddled with the nickname 'Tonypandy Churchill'. 

Churchill hastily arranged a conference with his officials including Secretary of State for
Major General Macready
War R.B.Haldane who had been one of the Committee of Enquiry into the 'Featherstone Massacre' and did not want to be involved in a repetition of that tragic incident. Also present was Major General Macready, a man who would play an influential role in subsequent events. Years later a miner who had been involved in the acrimonious struggles with the Glamorgan police remembered Major General Macready as, ". . . the finest and most straightforward gentleman you could ever meet." Indeed one of the Cambrian Lodge Committee was adamant that, "Not one word against the military was ever uttered by the Combine Committee." The upshot of the conference was a telegram despatched to Chief Constable Lindsay which stated. "Infantry should not be used until all other means have failed." But that was not all.

Churchill committed a force of 70 mounted and 200 foot constables of the Metropolitan
Metropolitan Police talking to miners after the 'riots'.
Police to the Mid-Rhondda district. Major General Macready later praised the superior skill and training of the Metropolitan Police compared to those of their County counterparts. They certainly created a formidable impression and proved an intimidating presence throughout the disturbances. They were directed to carry out Chief Constable Lindsay's orders under their own officers. One unexpected and unwelcome caveat for the coalowners was that the County should foot the bill. Churchill was clear that he expected the presence of the Metropolitan Police would mean the intervention of the military would not be necessary. However he did commit 200 cavalry to be moved into the district while the infantry remained at Swindon, both under the command of Major General Macready. In response Chief Constable Lindsay phoned the Home Secretary to confirm the force of Metropolitan Police would be sufficient. At this juncture Churchill was entitled to believe he had managed the situation without involving the use of the military. Events were to conspire against him.

That very afternoon in Mid-Rhondda workmen were being paid off by the Cambrian Combine.
Mass meeting of strikers at Mid-Rhondda Athletic Grounds
Some time later a mass meeting was held on the Mid Rhondda Athletic Grounds. Stipendiary Magistrate Lleufer Thomas addressed the men and pleaded with the strikers to help keep the peace. Also in attendance was Chief Constable Lindsay who read out a telegram from Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, addressed to the strikers. 
"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." 
The message, which implied Churchill felt the strikers had not, up until that point, received
Police inside the Glamorgan Power House
fair treatment was well received. The meeting broke up and the men, forming a huge but orderly procession, marched through Tonypandy, Trealaw and Llwynypia towards the Glamorgan Colliery where, like a feudal lord in his fortress, Leonard Llewellyn and his officials took refuge. Police estimates were that the procession numbered around 9,000 men. An hour or so later Churchill's hopes of a peaceful settlement to the crisis had been dashed. But what caused events to spiral so disastrously out of control? 

When the miners arrived outside the Glamorgan Power House they were confronted
The inaccurate reporting of the press angered strikers.
by the Constable and a force of 120 police officers. A request to meet with the Chief Constable inside the colliery yard was refused but a brief meeting was held outside. It did not last long. Stones were thrown by youths from the banking at police taking cover in the yard and what was left of the wooden fencing was torn down. General Macready, reporting on events to the Home Office three days later, dismissed much of the subsequent hysterical reporting of the press stating, "They were not as serious as the reports would leave one to believe - for instance, at Llwynypia, where it was reported that desperate attempts were made to sack the power house, the attack appears to have been confined to the gateway and to the throwing of stones from the road through the windows of the power house. The wooden palings had been pulled down and there was nothing to prevent the mob, if as strong as reported, from swarming over the whole of the mine property and attacking the power house from all sides in overwhelming numbers. That they did not do this is not due to the action of the police but either the want of leading or disinclination to proceed to extremities on the part of the mob on Tuesday night." 

Despite the apparent reluctance of the strikers to actually storm the power house Chief Constable Lindsay, for whatever reason, took the decision to disperse the crowd, with inevitable and unfortunate consequences. A violent hand to hand conflict ensued that lasted over two hours. Lindsay ordered the mounted constables to clear the road with their truncheons as far as Tonypandy. He simultaneously ordered a body of foot constables to attempt the same maneuver towards Llwynypia. Having achieved their objective the police retreated back to the power house where Leonard Llewellyn and his officials had barricaded themselves in as securely as possible. The Glamorgan County Police estimated that, "over 500 hundred persons were known to have suffered injury" in the struggle. This included 80 police officers but the true numbers of injured may never be known as not all the strikers involved reported their injuries. The Glamorgan County Police acknowledged this fact concluding, "of the toll in blood, broken skulls and damaged limbs among the rioters there is no authentic record." There was however, one fatality. Samuel Rays of Partridge Road, Tonypandy died three days later from his injuries. The inquest revealed, "three scalp wounds, (two penetrating to the bone) and that the skull had been fractured over the temple and the right ear." The following verdict was reached by the jury: "That we agree that Samuel Rays died from injuries received on November 8th caused by some blunt instrument. The evidence is not sufficiently clear to us how he received those injuries." 

Events that occurred later in the evening on Tonypandy Square may not have been as violent
Shops in Dunraven Street the day after the 'riots'.
but they gave rise, thanks to sensational press reporting, to the term the 'Tonypandy Riots'. Shops were looted with comparative impunity because the bulk of the police forces were protecting the Glamorgan Power House further up the road in Llwynypia. There was a further skirmish where the cenotaph now stands and up Gilfach Road towards Kenry Street but by the time the Metropolitan Police arrived in Tonypandy later that evening the disturbances had ended. Local religious leaders were determined to refute sensational Press interpretations of events.

"The Press reports concerning the street rioting and shop looting in Tonypandy and Llwynypia have given the reading public the impression that it was carried out by the general body of strikers, whereas the plain truth is that it was the work of a certain small gang of half-drunken irresponsible persons. . ." Churchill himself supported this view and in a later parliamentary debate stated:  "In my opinion the riots were largely caused by rowdy youths and roughs from outside, foreign to the district, and I think it only just to place that on record in fairness to the miners of South Wales, who have been attacked in a general way by people who know nothing at all about the matter." 
Throughout the strike press reports would increasingly turn public opinion against the strikers, not least with regard to the manufactured issue of the pit ponies that Leonard Llewellyn claimed were endangered by the actions of the strikers. Churchill was now between the proverbial 'rock and a hard place'. 

Following events of the previous evening miners delegates urged Churchill not to send the military into Mid-Rhondda stating their belief that the civil forces were sufficient to deal with the
More police arriving in Tonypandy.
situation. On the other side the coalowners indirectly blamed Churchill for the riots because he delayed sending in the troops. Predictably they call for additional military assistance to protect 'life and property' with the emphasis on property. Churchill's response did not please either side: "Mr Churchill hopes and expects that the strong force of police drafted to the scene of the disorder will be sufficient promptly and effectively to prevent riot. If, however, this is not so, we will not hesitate after what has occurred to authorise the employment of the military, and the responsibility for any consequences which may ensue must rest with those who persist in courses of violence." 
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.

Major General Macready accepted no social invitations from the mine owners and warned
Children walking alongside the troops.
his men they were to do the same. By contrast Chief Constable Lindsay had no such reservations and he and Leonard Llewellyn mixed socially throughout the dispute. On arriving in the district General Macready's was surprised to discover the mine owners assumed they held a natural authority over the police who would frequently consult with a manager before taking action. Macready determined, ". . . this state of affairs should cease, and all orders and responsibility for protection rest with the officers in charge on the spot."

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."
Such was the spirit of camaraderie that existed between the military and the miners that
after a meeting between General Macready and miners delegates at the Thistle Hotel, Tonypandy a football match was organised between the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Mid-Rhondda Athletic on the Mid-Rhondda Athletic Grounds. The soldiers won 4-1 each goal was greeted with loud applause from spectators. On another occasion when Mid-Rhondda Athletic were short of players two of the Lancashire Fusiliers took the field for them against Llwynypia, who won 4-0.
"The Police didn't mix with people, the soldiers did you know," observed one eye witness.

General Macready was also concerned with the press and how their frequent inaccurate
There was no reason to keep the horses underground.
and sensational reporting served only to inflame an already volatile situation. Leonard Llewellyn and his secretary, a former press reporter, were specifically singled out for reprimand by General Macready.
"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".

J.F. Moylan, a confidential officer of the Home Office, had been sent by Churchill into Mid-Rhondda to report on events. In a communication to Churchill he explained that the miners
Stokers from Cardiff inside the Glamorgan Power House
leaders ere prepared to co-operate with the magistrates to prevent further rioting of which they did not approve. They would not, however, take responsibility for any actions of the men while the blacklegs remained in the power house and if any more were imported. Leonard Llewellyn was already intent on importing stokers from Cardiff thus laying the foundation for further conflict. The leaders sought permission to send four men into the power house to speak with the blacklegs in an attempt to try and persuade them to leave. Leonard Llewellyn absolutely refused this request put to him by the stipendiary magistrate D. Llefeur Thomas, and also refused to meet them over the 'question of the horses'. The miners leaders had proposed to supply sufficient trustworthy men to bring them up. The men also complained that police were interfering with pickets. As a result of Moylan's telegram to Churchill, police were instructed not to interfere with authorised pickets who would be identified by wearing white badges.

There was no person better suited for taking an even handed and unbiased approach under
Tonypandy and Dinas Stations became flashpoints when Leonard Llewellyn
imported 'blacklegs' - stokers from Cardiff. 
these extremely difficult circumstances than General Macready who retained the full confidence of the Home Secretary throughout the disturbances. Churchill reminded Macready that while the mine owners were within their legal rights they should be required to, ". . . inform you beforehand of any importation of outside labour in order that disturbance may not be unexpectedly provoked."
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.

Churchill's response to this latest incident typified his approach throughout the crisis. His telegram to General Macready stated:
"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. . "
Instances were reported where the police ignored Churchill's advice. In Parliament Kier
Keir Hardy
Hardy, supported by William Abraham ('Mabon'), repeatedly pressed the Home Secretary to open an official inquiry into the actions of the police in Mid-Rhondda citing individual instances where the police had overstepped the mark. Churchill remained steadfast in refusing this request. As Hardy stated, there was no love lost between the two men, and their conflict reflected a greater political struggle. Older leaders and members of the S.W.M.F. still looked towards the Liberal Party as the party of the working people. They were more inclined to follow Mabon's maxim that half a loaf was better than no loaf at all. Younger leaders like Will John and John Hopla looked towards a more confrontational approach where worker solidarity was key. The emerging Labour party reflected the views of this new breed of leader and Mabon and the Liberal Party were destined to fade into obscurity. General Macready, although exemplary in his even-handed approach, believed that the cause of the rioting was,
". . . 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."

An attempt was made by the Miners Federation of Great Britain and The Board of Trade to impose a ballot asking strikers to accept the revised terms negotiated by them with the owners. Not only were the terms rejected by 7,041 to 309 the strikers were angered that this vote had been forced upon them in the first place. The Cambrian Combine Committee issued a statement that throws light on the intensity of the struggle being waged in Mid-Rhondda between strikers and owners.
"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.
While the press continued to depict the miners as a lawless mob Leonard Llewellyn was being feted in the same newspapers as a national hero. Events at the Glamorgan Power House had been portrayed almost in the same light as the Siege of Mafeking. When the horses were eventually 'rescued' newspapers lauded the actions of Llewellyn and under-manager Evan Williams. Both were awarded medals for their 'brave deeds' described by Lord Arthur Cecil of the Polo and Riding Society, ". . . as one of the most heroic ever performed in connection with the saving of animal life." Rubbing salt into open wounds Leonard Llewellyn responded by stating, "As a Welshman I very much regret such a thing should have happened in Wales. The men, no doubt, lost control of themselves. . ." At the annual meeting of the R.S.P.C.A. the Countess of Bective personally pinned the silver medals on each of the 'rescue' party and heartily shook their hands. Earlier that year, at the inquest following the Ely Pit Cage Disaster, Llewellyn had vowed to bring the courageous actions of James Vaughn and Philip Pascoe to the attention of the King, stating he would do everything in his power to see they were awarded the King's Medal. They are still waiting.

Up to 400 children a day were being fed at
the Constitutional Club, Penygraig
In June a pivotal moment occurred in the strike. It was to tip the already weighted balance decisively in favour of the coalowners. At a special conference of the M.F.G.B., despite the pleas of William Brace M.P., a resolution was passed that, having previously secured 'the object sought for' in 'the proposed terms', "the conference now agrees to accept no further responsibility in this dispute." It was decided that the grant of £3,000 per week made to the strikers would be paid for three more weeks and then cease. The Mid-Rhondda strikers were now effectively on their own. As the dispute dragged on Captain McCormack, of the Williamstown Corps of the Salvation Army, reporting on the strike in the 'War Cry' declared:
"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'.

John Hopla
Will John
The coalowners tactics bore bitter fruit. Two of the foremost leaders, Will John and John Hopla were imprisoned and sentenced to a years' hard labour. After six months the new Home Secretary Mr.  McKenna, in an act of 'clemency', reduced their sentences by four months. Hopla, of Ardwyn Terrace, Tonypandy died not live long after his release. Inevitably the strike, that had lasted 12 months for the Ely workmen officially came to an end, and from August 1911 until October men returned to work having been forced to accept the original terms of the settlement. Leonard Llewellyn attempted to build bridges. He attended the funeral of John Hopla where his presence must have been as welcome as Banquo's ghost. In a distasteful public relations exercise he sent some of the maimed survivors of the Ely Pit disaster on a day trip in his car which was duly reported in the press.;
"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.
Llandilo and Carmarthen, thence to Swansea and back to Penygraig. The elements were most favourable, and the trippers, who included Messrs. Morris, Matthews, Davies and another, declared that they had never spent a more enjoyable day. The whole of the expenses in connection with the trip were borne by Mr. Leonard Llewelyn, and the were loud in their praise of his generosity."

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
Ironically Churchill and Tonypandy have become synonymous. Down the years politicians on both sides of the political divide have held up Tonypandy to either depict Churchill as a rabid imperialist sending troops to suppress ordinary citizens, or the strikers as violent militants with revolutionary aspirations. It is conveniently forgotten that despite his personal and political flaws Churchill was a member of Asquith's great reforming governments and stood in the vanguard of that push for change as is evidenced by his support for the Eight Hours Act. Yes, there were those among the strikers, like W. H. Mainwaring who saw the strike as part of a bigger picture in their fight for a minimum wage, yet they had no criticism of Churchill and nothing but praise for General Macready and the military. 

But, for the majority of men involved, that is not really what the conflict in Tonypandy was all about. Most were not concerned with bigger pictures or political agendas they simply wanted a fair wage and a decent standard of living for their families. They were not a lawless mob bent on
anarchy but part of the vibrant community of the Rhondda Valleys. A society where the chapel and the principles of the Christian doctrine held sway in almost every household. Valley people still possess a keen sense of social justice even though the chapel and its influence is fading fast. In these valleys, in the oppressive shadow of the tips, men and women created a rich cultural and sporting heritage that exists to this day. They believed 'a workman was worthy of his hire' and when the coal owners demanded they make bricks without straw they said 'enough'. The coal owners espoused the doctrine of Mammon where profit was all. W. E. Harvey had negotiated with coalowners all over the country. He said of the Welsh coalowners:
"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.

Phil Rowlands

For those interested in this turbulent period of Rhondda's history I recommend the following books:
South Wales Miners 1898-1914 by R. Page. Arnot
The Tonypandy Riots 1910-1911 - Gwyn Evans and David Maddox 
Cambrian Colliery and Connections - Bill Richards
Coal, Carpets and Choirs - Bill Richards