On the Mountain

… I told him [Vivian Thomas] what I told him before, that the tip was sinking pretty bad and what were they going to do about it. … He told me to go up to the tip, take a burner with me, and get the crane back as far as I could for we were to start another tipping site later on in the week. …

[Q. When you got to the front of the tip, did you see how far it had sunk?] I should say about 18 to 20 ft. … [The crane rails] had broken off and fell down into the hole. … I told the boys that we would get the rails up from there and start and put the crane back. I said before we start we have a cup of tea, and we went back into the shack. We were not there five minutes …
Tip gang chargehand

I was standing on the edge of the depression, sir, I was looking down into it, and what I saw I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was starting to come back up. It started to rise slowly at first, sir. I still did not believe it, I thought I was seeing things. Then it rose up after pretty fast, sir, at a tremendous speed. Then it sort of came up out of the depression and turned itself into a wave, that is the only way I can describe it, down towards the mountain … towards Aberfan village, sir. … And as it turned over, I shouted: “Good God, boys, come and look at this lot”. … I was looking down in the crevice, sir, down at the drop, and it seemed to me like as if the bottom shot out.
Tip worker

We were not in there more than five minutes when I heard a shout. … We all got out in a matter of seconds. … We all stood there, sir, on the front of the tip. … I saw the tip going in … all I can tell you is it was going down at a hell of a speed in waves. I myself ran down the side of No. 3 tip, all the way down towards No. 2 and No.1 tip on the side. As I was running down I heard another roar behind me and trees cracking and a tram passing me. I stopped – I fell down in fact. All I could see was waves of muck, slush and water. I still kept running
… I kept going down shouting. I could not see, nobody could. … I was stumbling and I got stuck in a bit of the slurry. I could hear a rush behind me and all I could see was soaking wet slurry like waves coming down, more water than muck itself coming down.
Tip gang chargehand

… I never expected it would cross the embankment behind the village which I could not see because of the mist which covered the whole of the village. There was nothing I could do. We had no telephone to give an alarm or any warning device. I shouted, but it was no good.
Tip gang chargehand

It never dawned on me or came to my thoughts, sir, that it had gone as far as the village.
Tip worker


3,379 comments on “On the Mountain

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