From our Archives: Miners’ Strike drama

Donington pupils came up trumps at the Lincolnshire Archery Championships in 1984
Donington pupils came up trumps at the Lincolnshire Archery Championships in 1984

1984: Drama and violence during the coal miners’ strike saw local policemen injured - and a Boston coal firm’s lorries hit by vandals.

Village bobby Eric Rayment was hurt by charging pickets at Orgreave near Sheffield – which he described as ‘a hair-raising experience’.

Ligaments were torn in his right wrist when his small police contingent were overwhelmed by hundreds of screaming pickets.

Moments later, the police were showered with bricks and concrete.

Pc Rayment said: “It was a very dangerous situation. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

It was described as the worst day of violence in the miners’ strike so far.

There were 90 casualties - including miners’ president Arthur Scargill.

Some 28 police were hurt. Also among them was Wyberton resident Pc Keith Duke, who sustained a nose injury, and Pinchbeck bobby Pc Stuart East, who was kicked in the stomach.

“My small party was taken by surprise,” said Pc Rayment. “We had no riot gear because there seemed to be no need for any, but suddenly hundreds of pickets appeared behind us and rushed us.

“They set about demolishing lamp-posts and brick walls and then stoned us with the rubble.”

A fleet of lorries belonging to a Boston coal firm were attacked by vandals. Nine lorries, one trailer and one digger were sprayed with purple paint - some bore the slogans ‘We support the miners.

Lubrication systems, brake pipes and lighting wires were also cut.

Three OAPs were trapped in a lift at their Boston retirement home after a power cut.

Mary Dawson, the warden of the Boston old people’s unit, in Witham Court, managed to get the power back on and freed the residents, one of whom was blind, after the lift stuck several feet off the ground.

PICTURE: On target: Pupils from Donington’s Thomas Cowley School have a particularly good day at the Lincolnshire Archery Championships - winning their sections, and their coach Mr P. J. Pullen becoming county champion.

1944: Four brothers from Boston were serving in the Second World War – one on a ship torpedoed by the Germans.

The four sons of Mr and Mrs J. Wright Jr, of Highgate, Leverton, were serving in various branches in the Forces.

They were LAC Eric J. Wright, Sgt Cyril P. Wright, LAC Kenneth W. Wright and youngest son AB Wilfred P. Wright.

Second son Cyril, formerlly emplyed at a West Street butchers, went overseas to Africa in December 1942, and after running into terrible storms outside Gibraltar, their ship was torpedoed – with the loss of few lives.

The enemy submarine which attacked them was immediately sunk.

This happened in the early hours of the morning, and in the darkness Sgt Wright hurriedly dressed, only to find out later that he had donned the wrong clothes.

There was said to be no panic on the ship and word soon got around that the vessel would remain afloat for at least 12 hours.

Later the destroyers came alongside it to take the men off and they were eventually landed in North Africa.

Speaking of fighting the North African campaign with the county regiment, Sgt Wright commented: “I was proud of the way they fought, with a true Lincolnshire spirit.”

A small boy and his sister could have drowned in the tidal portion of the River Witham if it wasn’t for the prompt action of a passing soldier.

Eight-year-old Alan Wicks, of Church Street, Boston, was playing on the river band behind The Stump when he fell from the wooden piles into the water.

The time was 1.30pm and the tide was almost full.

His 15-year-old sister Ruth at once jumped in to the river to help him, grabbing him by the waist by one hand and clinging to the piles with the other.

She called out for help.

Their plight was seen by Sgt Hopkins, who was understood to have been stationed in the Alford district) from the opposite side of the river.

Sgt Hopkins promptly dived in and swam to the other side, and assisted the two unfortunate children until further help was forthcoming.

Mr W. Bentley, Superintendant at Boston Police Station, of Friar Way, was cycling over the Town Bridge when he saw the dangerous predicament of the trio, borrowed a belt and assited them to safety.

Ruth, who was described as a fairly-good swimmer, was formerly a pupil at St Botolph’s School, where her brother Alan also attended.