Discussions on all aspects of the Second World War
posted by Peter G at 3:16 pm
Thanks very much for creating the link to this document, Peter. Oddly enough, I probably first heard the fate of Czechoslovakia in WW2, Heydrich and Lidice while I was still a babe in the cradle. Although I cannot remember that far back, I can remember being told parts of the story from about 3 or 4 years old from my neighbours. *****************Immediately after WW2, when the news about the massacre at Lidice became known miners from my home county of Cumberland raised funds to send out to the bereaved dependants of those killed at Lidice (apparently many of them were Czech miners). A short time after this (August 1947) 104 West Cumbrian miners lost their lives when there was an explosion underground at the William Pit, Whitehaven. Many of these Cumberland miners left bereaved wives, children, parents etc. The Czech miners heard of this disaster to a community that had only recently helped their bereaved people. Consequently, at a time of great need in West Cumberland the Czech miners in their turn also raised funds to help the bereaved families of the William Pit disaster. Thus began a friendship between communities of two different lands and beliefs but linked in a desire to build a better future from tragic events. ********************As a young child our next door neighbour was a young widow whose husband was one of those killed in the William Pit disaster. Many of the Cumbrian widows and children - including our neighbour and her young son - were invited to the Czech spa town of Mariánské Lázně (previously known as Marienbad). The Czechs were kind enough to pay for everything, even though I imagine they did not have a great surplus for themselves. One of the places the West Cumbrians were taken to visit was Lidice. This is how I first came to hear of this place from our neighbours at such a young age. I can also remember the Czechs who were invited to West Cumberland and stayed at the West Cumbrian seaside resort of St Bees. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to meet any of the visiting party personally.Nevertheless, there is a statuette in The Beacon Museum Archives, Whitehaven commemorating the link of how the two communities united to overcome their respective tragedies. This is a link to a previous posting I made to this website in 2007 which has a photograph of the Czech miners' statuette: Click here**************On at least three occasions I can remember researchers from TV companies requesting information to make a documentary about this subject. The last request I had about leads on the subject was in late 2010. For some reason, no TV documentary was ever made (apparently it has been 'shelved indefinitely'). Presumably the 'powers that be' do not believe it to be a sufficiently interesting subject for a national TV documentary. Nevertheless, for the 60th anniversary of the William Pit disaster BBC Radio Cumbria did broadcast a 30 minute documentary which referred to the link between the Czech and Cumbrian miners outlined above.
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