Article Index

83. The Gresford Disaster (of 22 September 1934)
You've heard of the Gresford disaster
And the terrible price that was paid
Two hundred and forty two colliers were lost
And three men of the rescue brigade
It occurred in the month of September
At two in the morning, that pit
Was racked by a violent explosion
In the Dennys where gas laid so thick
The gas in the Dennys deep section
Was packed there like snow in a drift
And many a man had to leave the coal face
Before he had worked out his shift
A fortnight before the explosion
To the shot-firer Tomlinson cried
If you fire that shot we'll be all blown to hell
And nobody can say that he lied
The fireman's reports they are missing
The records of forty two days
The collier manager's had them destroyed
To cover his criminal ways
Down there in the dark they are lying

They died for nine shillings a day
They've worked out their shift and its there they must lie
In the darkness until Judgment Day
The Lord Mayor of London's collecting
To help both the children and wives
The owners have sent some white lilies
To pay for the poor colliers lives
Farewell our dear wives and our children
Farewell our dear comrades as well
Don't send your son in the dark dreary mine
He'll be damned like the sinners in Hell
84. The Blackleg Miners
(Seaton Deloval pit in Northumberland)
Oh early in the evening just after dark
The blackleg miners creep out and go to work
With their moleskin trews and dirty old shirt
Go the dirty blackleg miners
Oh Deloval is a terrible place
They rub wet clay in the blackleg's face
And round the pit-heaps run a foot-race
With the dirty blackleg miners
Oh don't go near the Seghill mine
For across the mainway they hang a line
To catch the throat and break the spine  
Of the dirty blackleg miner
They'll take your tools and duds as well
And throw them down the pit of hell
Its down you go and fare you well
You dirty blackleg miners
85. Way Down in the Mine
Come all ye young workers so young and so fine
And seek not your fortune way down in the mine
For it'll form as a habit and seep in your soul
Till the stream of your blood runs as black as the coal
For its dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew
Where the dangers are double and the pleasures are few
Where the rain never falls and the sun never shines
Its dark as a dungeon way down in the mines
Its many a man who I've known in my day
Has lived just to labour his whole life away
Like a fiend with his dope or a drunk with his wine
A man will have lust for the lure of the mine
I hope when I die and the ages shall roll
My body will blacken and turn into coal
As I look from the door of my heavenly home
I'll pity the miner a knewing my bones
86. The Coal-Owner and the Pitman's Wife (Believed to date from the Durham strike of 1844)

A dialogue I'll tell you as true as my life
Between the coal-owner and a poor pitman's wife
As she was travelling all on the highway
She met a coal-owner and this she did say

Derry down down down derry down

Good-Morning Lord Fire Damp, this woman she said

I'll do you no harm sir, so don't be afraid
If you'd been where I'd been the most of me life
You wouldn't turn pale at a poor pitman's wife
Then where do you come from, the owner he cries
I come from hell, the poor woman replies
If you have come from hell then, come tell me plain
Have you contrived to get out again
By the way I got out the truth I should tell
They're turning the poor folks all out of hell
This to make room for the rich wicked race
For there is a great number of them in that place
And the coal-owners are the next on command
To arrive in hell as I understand
For I heard the old devil say as I come out
The coal-owners all had receiveth their out
Then how does the devil behave in that place
Oh sir, he is cruel to the rich wicked race
He's far more crueller that you can suppose
Even like a mad bull with a ring thro' his nose
Good woman, say he, I must bid you farewell
You give me a dismal account about hell
If this be all true that you say unto me
I'll be home like a whippet with my poor men agree
If you be a coal-owner, sir take my advice
Agree with your men and give them full price
For if you do not and know very well
You'll be in great danger of going to hell!
87. We Won't Forget (Comrades for Life) (by Paul Mackney 1985) (with guitar chords)

Am FAm
We'll always remember the year of the strike
Dm Am
And the fifth day of March eighty five
Gm C Am
They can say that we lost, they can say what they like
Dm F E
But we had the time of our lives
F Am F Am
And we've no regrets, we've no regrets
Dm Am
The flame continues to burn
F Am F Am
And we won't forget, we won't forget
Dm E Am
United we will return
We all fought together, women and men
To stop them closing down the mines
If we had our time over we'd do it again
And be quite sure we'd be ready next time
The congress house traitors had promised for years
Their support would be second to none
You could hear their hearts bleed, you got drowned in their tears
But precisely nothing was done
We marched in the streets till we blistered our feet
We withstood the full force of the law
The miners united, they'll never defeat
We sang till our voices were raw
With their truncheons and horses they opened our eyes
You hold on to what you can defend
Comrades in struggle are comrades for life
And stand solid and true to the end
The smug commentators can peddle their lies
We're proud that we formed picket lines
We'll build the resistance and we'll organise
And we'll have the bastards next time

And we've no regrets, we've no regrets
The flame continues to burn
And we won't forget, we won't forget
United we will return
88. Miners` Strike 1984 (by J. R. Jump)(George Jackson, a Cowdenbeath miner, was killed outside Corbera, Spain,in August 1938, whilst serving in the International Brigades.)

I was close behind you, Geordie
when a fascist bullet ended your short life
a life blackened and scarred at the coal-face
From that moment, Cowdenbeath and Corbera were twinned towns
Scotland and Spain were linked by ties of blood
the blood, rich and red
that you shedhigh on a parched mountain
If you were alive today, Geordie
I know where you would befor you were always a front-line fighter
Not for you the snug safety of the rear
not for you the hanging back when others went forward
not for you the hesitation, the doubt that breeds fear
Maybe I would have seen you on TV
in the front line of fire
being clubbed by a mounted policeman
or dragged, arms twisted, to the black maria
Maybe I would have seen you lying dead
not outside Corbera where you were hit
by a fascist bulletbut outside a strike-shut pit
Today, Geordie, your comrades are fighting freedom's battle over again carrying on the fight we fought in Spain