Life story retold by Yota Dimitriadi
Sidney Charles Quick was a ‘Bevin Boy’, one of the 48,000 young British men conscripted to the armed services but diverted in 1943 to collieries, to avert a coal shortage (1943-1948). The nickname came from Ernest Bevin, the Minister of Labour and National Service. After the war ‘Bevin Boys’ had no right to go back to their previous occupations, they received no service medals, or a letter of thanks. Official recognition of their war contributions by the British government was only awarded in 1995.
Sidney was born in Reading, the son of Arthur Quick. He had a brother Cyril. His parents were stewards of the Salisbury Club in King’s Road and lived on the premises. He joined the R.A.F. at the beginning of the war and after 18 months he was transferred to work on munitions at the Reading aircraft factory in Woodley. His father described, “Then he was recalled to the Services. Given the choice of going into the Army or down a pit, he volunteered for the mines. He said his country needed coal and it was his duty and the duty of other men like him to go and dig it.” (Gloucester Citizen, Wednesday 6 March 1946).
Sidney lived at Dolyfelin Street, Caerphilly, when he was in Wales. He was an assistant repairer at the Llanbradach mine in Caerphilly. On October 10, 1945 the pit roof collapsed and trapped a man by the leg. Sidney went back attempting to save him but was caught in the second fall of the pit roof and was severely injured. Both men were taken to the Miners’ Hospital where Sidney died of his injuries on 16th October.
The miners’ memorial in Llanbradach, Caerphilly, commemorates the men(c.165) who died at that colliery.
Sidney received two awards posthumously for bravery. He received the King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct and cited in The London Gazette. In June 1946 the Mayor of Reading, Councillor H.S. Lagston, in a ceremony at the Mayor’s Parlour, Town Hall presented Sidney’s parents with The Carnegie Heroes Fund Certificate together with a cheque for £200. The certificate was inscribed: “In recognition of the heroism of Sidney C. Quick who died on October 16, 1945, as the result of efforts to save human life at Llanbradach Glamorgan, on October 10, 1945.” (Reading Standard, 21 June 1946). The Mayor commented that the Carnegie award was only given for acts of great heroism. The Roll of Honour of the Carnegie Hero Fund Trust UK is an “illuminated book that contains hand-inscribed entries relating to over 7,000 people whose heroism has been recognised since the foundation of the Trust in 1908” [extract copied from the homepage in 2022].
You can find out more about Bevin Boys by visiting the Bevin Boys Association website. The information about Sidney is now shared with them and is part of their archives. The Association states that ‘Any archives can be sent to the Archivist and these, after being added to the inventory, will be lodged at the Imperial War Museum for future generations.’
We are sharing an extract from our Cemetery audio guide, where the actor is singing The Bevin Boys’ song…
We are proudly sharing Sidney Quick’s story and the audio resources with The Bevin Boys Association who keep the archive on these men. That information will then be shared with The Imperial War Museum as part of their Bevin Boys records.
Buried in Section 2, Row D, Plot 15