Aberfan Lion And Dragon Article 1966bw

The Aberfan disaster – 21st October 1966

At 9.15 am on Friday, October 21, 1966 a waste tip slid down a mountainside into the mining village of Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. It first destroyed a farm cottage in its path, killing all the occupants. Just below, in Pantglas Junior School, the children had returned to their classes after assembly. It was sunny on the mountain but foggy in the village, with visibility about 50 yards.
In October 1966 soldiers from the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment had returned from weekend leave in Devon and answered a call to travel up to the village, with 700 men stepping forward.
David Baron, a retired Staff Sergeant who was a 19-year-old Private at the time, described the “beautiful scene” as they approached Aberfan. But then, he said, he saw the “big black line” of coal waste running through the village, adding: “We suddenly realised it was so quiet because there were no kids around playing.”
Neil Brennand, who was also a Private at the time, said that the regiment helped dig graves and there were “grown men crying”. He added: “It never leaves you. I think about it constantly. It scarred your life permanently.”
Veterans from The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, which helped in rescue operations after the disaster, led a parade on Saturday 15th October 2016, to Aberfan’s memorial garden. For many members of the Regiment, it was their first time back in the village since 1966.
144 people died in the Aberfan disaster: 116 of them were school children

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