Page last updated at 23:23 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 00:23 UK

Honour for 'conscripted' workers

Bevin Boys. Pic by Getty Images
The workers, aged between 18 and 25, were known as the Bevin Boys

Workers who served in reserved occupations such as mining and farming during World War II are to be given the Freedom of Falkirk.

The honour will be offered to those in the area "conscripted" to maintain essential services at home as part of the war effort.

A special service to mark the event is planned for the autumn.

Falkirk Council became the first local authority to bestow the same honour on its war veterans in 2005.

Among those in reserved occupations were the young men directed to serve as miners.

The workers, aged between 18 and 25, were known as the Bevin Boys after government minister Ernest Bevin who came up with the plan.

Many worked in factories which were prime targets for enemy bombers as well as volunteering for service in home defence
Falkirk Provost
Pat Reid

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Schedule of Reserved Occupations, the legislation introduced by the then government to ensure essential services at home and production for the war effort were maintained.

The scheme saw five million men take on key jobs in industry, the railways and agriculture while others fought overseas.

During that time they were released for military service as more women took on work in munitions factories and as Land Girls.

'Fully recognised'

Falkirk Provost Pat Reid said: "The people in reserved occupations were not given a choice but were required to stay at home.

"They made a critical contribution to the war effort, helping to maintain vital industries and services.

"Many worked in factories which were prime targets for enemy bombers as well as volunteering for service in home defence.

"They deserve to have their service fully recognised and honoured."

The council is now urging all those who served in reserved occupations from the area to get in touch.


SEE ALSO
Badge honours Bevin Boys' service
08 Feb 07 |  North West Wales

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