The organisers of the Cramlington Train Wreckers project have been given exclusive access to a 30-minute 1969 BBC film of interviews with the surviving four Northumberland miners who were imprisoned after accidentally derailing the Flying Scotsman during the 1926 General Strike.
The unique film, screened as part of the Yesterday’s Witness series in 1970, hasn’t been seen on Tyneside for 53 years when it was first broadcast on television. It will be shown at Tyneside Irish Cultural Centre in Stowell Street, Gallowgate, Newcastle (NE1 4SG) as part of the popular Tyneside Irish Festival 2023.
Eight miners from Cramlington West pit were sentenced to a total of 48 years’ penal servitude for the derailment they mistakenly believed would be a truck carrying blackleg coal on the seventh day of the 12-day General Strike
Playwright Ed Waugh, of Wisecrack Productions, which is organising the event with the Tyneside Irish Cultural Society, said: “The Cramlington train crash of 1926 was probably the most notorious incident of the General Strike in May 1926 – and it happened here in the North East!
“The derailment occurred on March 10, seven days into the General Strike, which was arguably the most momentous rupture in UK society since the English Civil War, which started in 1642.
“About 40 miners were involved in the derailment but some later turned King’s Evidence and shopped their former marras.”
Eight Cramlington miners were each sentenced for up to eight years’ penal servitude for their involvement in the event
Ed continued: “My interest in the subject was piqued because the main turncoat was called Waugh. My maternal family worked in the nearby Dudley pit but our family history shows the turncoat, Lyle Waugh was no relation to me.”
The eight Cramlington miners were eventually released early due to pressure from the trade union rank and file, politicians and the judiciary itself who saw the original sentences as too harsh.
The Cramlington Train Wreckers events are on Tuesday, October 24 at 2pm and 7pm and will involve a talk by Ed, as well as songs and recitations by Micky Cochrane, who is currently touring with I Daniel Blake.
The BBC film, Yesterday’s Witness, has been digitally restored and will be shown around the region in the autumn and throughout 2024. Groups interested in the film and a speaker should contact Ed via www.wisecrackproduction.co.uk
Tickets for the Tyneside Irish Centre only £4 via eventbrite: 2pm: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-cramlington-train-wreckers-tickets-698843709347?aff=oddtdtcreator ; 7pm: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-cramlington-train-wreckers-tickets-698844812647?aff=oddtdtcreator
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