Railways Around Llanelli

Railway Strike 1911

In 1911 a dispute in the railway industry led to a national strike that started on Thursday 17 August. In Llanelli the strike was supported almost 100%. The trade union’s plan was to stop the passage of trains. In Llanelli the men congregated at the level crossing in Station Road and had success in stopping all but one down train. Soldiers were ordered to the town to support the local constabulary. This resulted in the passage of trains and a change in mood of the men on strike.
On Saturday afternoon a train was stopped in the cutting behind High Street by a crowd pelting stones at the engine. The driver was injured. Soldiers came from the station and were also subjected to stone throwing and jeers from some in the crowd for about a quarter of an hour. Women and children were also watching from the gardens at the back of High Street. Warnings went unheeded and eventually a single shot was fired. The crowd took no notice assuming that the soldiers were firing blanks. Then further shots followed and two men in the garden of No. 6 High Street were killed and another badly injured. The crowd scattered in panic.
Later, at 5 p.m., another down train was stopped, looted and burned. The people set off for the goods yard and looted the goods wagons. At about 11 p.m. a burning truck that contained explosives blew up and another four deaths resulted, three men and one woman. There were also riots in the town and shops were looted centred on that of the Justice of the Peace who had read the Riot Act warning before the shootings earlier in the day.
The dispute had been settled in London on Saturday morning which meant the all the trouble that day in Llanelli had been when the strike action was no longer necessary, unfortunately the message had not reached the town.
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