I remember Aberfan

Maybe not a strict learning Welsh topic, but I cannot pass over this sad anniversary without comment. I was a tender 7 years old in distant Birmingham when it happened. The thing that sticks most in my mind is that on that day I learned the word “disaster”.

May the memories of all the victims be cherished. And if there is anyone from Aberfan reading this, may your community know only happiness and blessing for the next 50 years and more.


I was on the switchboard at the telephone exchange in Newport when the calls came in. Couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Heartbreaking.


I was a primary school child in New Zealand but I remember how shocked we all were thinking that on the other side of the world children just like us had gone to school and been lost in such a dreadful way. Our teachers were very sombre that day.


I was there somewhere in my mom 2,5 months before I was born so I couldn’t know and remember but I watched a documentary in Welsh last year on S4C and although I didn’t understand everything said, the pictures told it all … I cried feeling like I’d be there somewhere watching everything from the distance, not being aboe to help.

May these poor little souls rest in peace and all the happines to people of Aberfan for the eternity



Does anyone know the title of the film based on this event? I’d like to watch it

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I don’t know however you reminded me I’ve got e-mail from Gwales today presenting these two books:

Aberfan - A Story of Survival, Love and Community in One of Britain’s Worst Disasters and Black River - A Novel on the Aberfan Disaster 1966. They’re in English though …

And The Independent published this article on 14th October. Welsh acting stars join forces for Aberfan disaster film

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Yes, a very sad day. For some reason, although I lived many hundred miles away it has had a lasting effect on me. Perhaps the fact that our school was also built below a loose pit heap, which had to be made safe, caused the event to be very real to us.

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I was an 11 years old kid in a mining area. We all played all the time on the heaps of disused 19th pits that ringed the houses where we lived. Have to say, sliding down on an old bit of conveyor belt was a big favourite. I remember being terrified by what was on the news. When I got to Scouts at the chapel, it was really quiet. At that age, you don’t think you csn be wiped out in seconds. I’ve not forgotten those images for a second.
Fifteen years later, as a scientist, I was working on methods for stabilising regraded heaps with vegetation. I saw some shockers of heaps that could have been other Aberfans but by then, the NCB had woken up (a bit). Too little too late.
This morning while out running with Sŵt, We stood for a minute in a beech wood at 9.15. to think back. Sŵt went off to snuffle about in an adit of an old copper mine. The ground beneath us at that point is pretty much hollow and people have died down there. Mining’s a terrifying game.


I find it hard to talk about without breaking Aran and Iestyn’s ‘no poltics’ guidelines because it makes me so ANGRY as well as sad…

Aberfan was after my time but we learned about it at school and it was terribly tragic. But we learned it as part of a HUGE LIST of avoidable tragedies here. Landscapes and people and communities scarred and burnt and drowned and sickened and killed. For coal and water and steel. For profits which flowed out of our country while the losses stayed right here.

And there I’ll curtail the rest of what I wrote about it elsewhere or I really will be into politics!

But I stood in the park in Neath by the big clock for the silence this morning. There’s a little primary school just over the road and usually there’s an almighty din when the kids are out. There were out this morning, though it wasn’t playtime and they were silent. Some of them were holding hands, a crowd of solemn little faces, one or two looking downright spooked.

Some injuries never ever heal.


I agree.

I grew up near Port Talbot. I was born in 1967 and as a child have distant memories of the stories of the disaster.

There were many tragic Welsh events that i feel were never truly told nor understood. Aberfan, a tragic event that should never have happened. The destruction of villages in the need for water.

In recent times I have read about the blue books over a century earlier.

I cannot help but feel angry/sad that to this day people fail to understand the depth of feeling that still exists.

We need to recognise Welsh history and teach Welsh history. Not to the detriment of people over the border. The mistakes of the past are not the fault of the people of the present.

It would for me be a true tribute to the people of Aberfan and indeed the other tragedies that a true and honest appreciation of what happened in Wales was recognised and not glossed over so that it fits the comfortable view of the world that history often gives of those who govern.

May they all rest in peace.


I have no words. I’ve had tears in my eyes all day today and can’t stop thinking of the enormous and debilitating grief suffered by the families of those helpless children and the unnecessary devastation of a close knit and hard working, poor community.

Utterly heartbreaking still, even though we’ve been remembering for half a century. The shock of what happened will never go away. :cry:


I have just watched the documentary on bbc iplayer.

Shocking. Disgusting even.

I’m not very good at welsh and this may not make sense in our language but i felt i wanted to try.

dwi’n teimlo’n drist,
pwy sy’n ar fai,
plant ar goll,
yn saesneg “why?”,
cofiwch pawb,
cofiwch nawr,
a cofiwch am byth,
cofiwch yn fawr.


For me Manon Steffan Ros won the internet yesterday with this …

“Mynd â’r plant i’r ysgol. Dod adra i’r llanast a’r briwsion a’r sgidia blêr a’r lluniau a’r llonyddwch ma’ nhw 'di gadael.
Cofio Aberfan.”

And Danny Grehan with this …

“Then there was the story of the father who dug his own child from the school, his own dead child, and then carried on digging #Aberfan



Read a lot of things on social media yesterday, shared quite lot of what I’ve seen, but, sorry, I couldn’t watch one single thing of videos they were published … I started to cry even before started watching one … I just couldn’t … it’s so unbelievable that so many young lives were lost. I can’t help myself but always trying to wear those people’s boots … imagening how I’d feel …

:cry: again and again and again … One just can’t hold the attitude like “This didn’t happen even a bit near me.” One just can’t! There were children! Young people having everything to live but loosing everything they could have, they could become … :frowning:

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I can’t say I remember Aberfan as an event. I was 5 at the time and I know my parents would have protected me and my brothers from the event at the time, but I do know I have lived with it as an event, a “one off”, but also as a shadow across my life. Sometimes invisible and forgotten, sometimes darker. Before I came to live in Wales, nearly 17 years ago, “The Valleys” meant coal, strikes and Aberfan.

The news of the commemoration of 50 years since the wholly preventable disaster in Aberfan has been trickling on in the background for the past year. Some of the same programming and interviews were on TV 10 years ago. I don’t know if the Karl Jenkins “Cantata Memoria” with libretto by Mererid Hopwood is available to SSIW members abroad, but it was broadcast about a fortnight ago. If you haven’t seen it and can, it is worth your time. Approach it knowing you will weep. Be thankful the Welsh can create beauty from tragedy.

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It’s available worldwide on S4C/Clic for the next 19 days.

Just watched …

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I missed this thread. I was watching all the TV programs.
In 1966 I was working in London. A couple of days after the horror happened, at a medical research centre, I heard someone tell a sick joke. I don’t remember it, something about “What is black…” I was so angry the joke teller was lucky I wasn’t holding any potential weapon!
I will say no more, there are too many people I might annoy.

I wasn’t born back then; hell, my mother wouldn’t be born for another three years. But it’s important to remember these things, lest they happen again.