Author: South Wales Miners Library, Swansea University

Provider: South Wales Miners' Library

Rights: Unknown

Interview of Huntley, Bert by Egan, David on 15th February 1973.
The interview forms part of Swansea University�s South Wales Miners� Library collection.

1 audio file (5 min. 30 sec.)

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Transcription

Egan, David: Were you working long hours, working extra hours in the war?

Huntley, Bert: Oh, every hour they wanted me, every hour. Me and my mate on the single shift we was working every Sunday. Because when they then, it come so much on the one shift now for cutting these, after the P.D.’s took it over, we couldn’t do it, see. They had to put another two on. Do you know I’m not telling you a word of a lie, we’d get our orders from the consulting room, every morning. And you was not supposed to cut anything else only what was on there. And there'd be sixty trams of props alone, only sixty trams, two foot two, two foot four, two foot six, two foot nine, three feet, three foot three, sixty trams of them. Besides flats and sleepers, oh, you used to slog your inside out man.

Egan, David: Did your wages go up a lot in the First World War? Did your wages go up a lot, did they rise?

Huntley, Bert: Oh aye, our wages went up a bit then. My highest wage I had on Company time was six pound ten, and when I’d have a full week on contract it would be seven pound ten to eight pound. You had to work to get it then, just the same. They don’t work today. Do you know, the biggest mistake this country ever made when they stopped this, what is it? Oh they had it all during the war, as soon as you became eighteen in the army. They stopped that didn’t they. That’s the worst thing ever they stopped, ever done.

Egan, David: Did you have any inclination to go in the army in the First World War?

Huntley, Bert: Well I was tested, I was down in Pandy, I was tested down in Pandy and the chap that was in the carpenter’s shop, we went down, and the mechanic went down that night. We went down after tea, and there was, four or five of us went in at the same time. In front of us was a chap from underground. I forget now, I don’t know what he was doing, but I knew him. I knew the chap quite well, he was in front of us now, What do you want to go for, what do you want, what do you want to do. I said transport. Well I’m sorry, said the sergeant, the recruiting sergeant now, I’m sorry he said, you’ll have to come down tomorrow night, he said, for your half a crown. What, says this chap who was in front, if I don’t have my half-crown tonight, you can keep this ticket. You won’t see me again. Right. Oh, there was a Red Cross nurse there, he gave this Red Cross nurse a pound to go and get eight half crowns. We went out, me and this chap from the carpenter’s shop. We went into, what was his name, {unclear} , oyster shop. We went in there. Come on Bert, he said, let’s go and have a feed of oysters. Right, we went in had a feed of oysters, and then we went straight on from there into a public house, where Bateman’s shop is in Pandy now, where the Cross Keys was. We went in there and had a couple of pints of beer, and then we had to go down to fetch our armlets. I’ve got it in the house now, somewhere. And, so we went down and had our armlets, and we went in this shop again now, both of us, to have a feed of oysters, and the last oyster I had was a bad one, never had an oyster since. I think I’ve got that here now somewhere, I’ll have a look.