A Nottinghamshire man who worked down the mines during World War II is celebrating the formal recognition of his role 60 years on.
Bert Allott stayed on as a miner after his national service
Some 48,000 "Bevin Boys" were conscripted to work down the mines to tackle severe coal shortages instead of serving in the armed forces.
Now the government is honouring their contribution with an official badge.
Bert Allott, 82, from Mansfield, who served between 1944 and 1948, said he was "very pleased indeed".
The workers, whose nickname was derived from wartime Labour minister Ernest Bevin, were often abused by people who wrongly thought they were conscientious objectors because they wore no uniform.
They were also targeted by mining families angry their relatives had been drafted to the front and replaced by other people.
While returning soldiers enjoyed a hero's welcome and medals, the wartime miners received nothing.
Mr Allott said he decided to make his career as a miner after his national service.
Of getting his award, he said: "I feel it's not before time, because everybody else got rewards for their service, we didn't seem to get anything.
"They didn't seem to be bothered about us or anything, but I'm very pleased indeed."
Former "Bevin Boys" wanting to claim their award should contact the Veterans Agency on 0800 169 2277 or 01253 866043.