This is a picture of my grandfather, Robert Hurst Batey, with his wife and the oldest four of their children (including my mother–the girl on the left as you look at the pic). Robert was in a reserved occupation (he was a coalminer) but by 1918 things had reached the point where even they were being conscripted. The war was over not long after he arrived in France and forever afterwards he made a joke out of it–“They were killing people! I soon put a stop to that when I got out there.” He lived another 44 years, dying of cancer on 28th August 1962 at the age of 74.
Robert went down the pit for the first time in 1899 at the age of 12. He and my grandmother had eight children altogether; they lived through the big strike and the Depression in the 1930s and all survived to live to a fair age; three are still alive today. They raised ’em hard in the Durham pit villages in those days.
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