Posted on Friday 29th June 2012
Deputy Mayor Cllr Ann Crimmings
An iconic Blue Plaque has been unveiled by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council to commemorate the Centenary of the Dinas Mines Rescue Service.
Almost 100 years to the day that the Rescue Station at Dinas was opened by King George v and Queen Mary, the plaque was unveiled at the Rhondda Heritage Park by Rhondda Cynon Taf Mayor Cllr Doug Williams.
The Mines Rescue Service and Lewis Merthyr Colliery – which once operated on the site now occupied by the important attraction – have enjoyed close links over the years.
During the same 1912 Royal visit that saw the official opening of the Mines Rescue Station in Dinas, the King and Queen also visited Lewis Merthyr Colliery, where a picture was taken of Queen Mary on a specially-adapted coal dram under an arch of coal.
The link continued when, during its first year of operation, the Mines Rescue Service responded to Britain’s worst-ever mining disaster, in Senghenydd, at a mine owned by WT Lewis, the owner of Lewis Merthyr Colliery also. Despite the heroic efforts of the Mines Rescue Service and others, 439 men died that appalling day.
Since then, the Mines Rescue Service has responded to many tragedies across the UK and, following the privatisation of the mines in 1996, has gone on to save many lives through its ground-breaking training work that assists others to prevent incidents through robust health and safety training and to undertake rescue, first aid and other life-saving methods.
The service at Dinas, which is one of six across the UK, was originally opened as a result of the 1911 Coal Mines Act, due to the number of fatalities taking place in collieries across the country.
Dinas, in Rhondda was chosen as the location for the first service of this kind in Wales, as it is close to the site of the first shaft sunk by Walter Coffin in 1812.
For over 100 years, the Mines Rescue Service has responded with the utmost professionalism and bravery and, responding to the changing climate within which it operates, has taken what it has learned from its harrowing experiences in the mines of the Rhondda and beyond to help others.
Fire services, police forces and global aerospace organisations are among the many that have benefited from excellent health and safety training delivered by the Mines Rescue Service.
Deputy Mayor Cllr Ann Crimmings said: “Many of us can only imagine what it must be like to attend a scene of death and injury that results from a mining accident.
“The bravery of those who walk in to a mine, when most are desperately trying to leave it, to tend to and rescue the trapped and the injured and recover the dead fills us with admiration for their heroism.
“Although the number of mines in South Wales has now drastically reduced, the recent tragedy at Gleision Colliery last year reminds us that there are still those who need this service.
“I would, therefore, like to unveil this plaque and offer it to the Mines Rescue Service at Dinas as a mark of both Rhondda Cynon Taf’s and the wider communities’ utmost respest for the work they do.”
Find out more about the fascinating history of Rhondda Cynon Taf and the individuals, locations and past-times that have already been celebrated in Blue Plaques on the Council's Heritage RCT pages