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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2007, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Special honour for 'Bevin Boys'
Bevin Boys
Bevin Boys, such as these in south Wales in 1945, were conscripted
Thousands of conscripts who worked down coal mines in World War II will receive a special honour, Tony Blair has said.

The prime minister told the Commons the "Bevin Boys" would be rewarded with a commemorative badge.

Some 48,000 were conscripted to British mines to tackle coal shortages in a scheme named after Minister of Labour and National Service, Ernest Bevin.

Mr Blair said: "I think it would give them some recognition for the tremendous work that they have done."

The PM said the country owed the Bevin Boys a "sense of gratitude".

Survivors' badge

Energy minister Lord Truscott said the first lapel badges would be awarded in March 2008 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the demobilisation of the last Bevin Boys.

He said those conscripted directly into the mines - known as "ballotees" - those who opted for mine work in preference to joining the armed forces and those who were in the armed forces and volunteered to become miners were eligible.

Lord Truscott said: "The Bevin Boys badge is a survivors' badge and I would encourage Bevin Boy veterans to wear it in public in order visibly to raise awareness of the important role they played during World War II and in the post-war reconstruction of the UK."

Applications for the badge will begin later this year.


SEE ALSO
Badge honours Bevin Boys' service
08 Feb 07 |  North West Wales
World War II miners hold reunion
11 Apr 05 |  Coventry/Warwickshire

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