Life was not easy when Emrys Bevan took up his scholarship in Gowerton Intermediate by transferring from the village school where he had enjoyed the friendship of such lovable characters as Aubrey Jones, Davie Henry Jones and Griff Parry. He father, Abraham Bevan – a man of considerable musical ability, who could with aplomb deputise at the organ in Ebenezer when needed – died when Emrys was only ten. Abraham had worked at the Killan Colliery as a fireman and the weekly wage on which the family was dependent was now abruptly cut off. Fortunately, he was blessed with a mother and grandmother of essential frugality and determination. They saw to it that their stand at Swansea Market was adequately stocked each week with produce from land which the family had been prudent enough to acquire.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the young Emrys Bevan, then emerging as the kindly character he became in adulthood, resisted the attempt of Mr D E Williams, headmaster at Gowerton, to channel him into higher education for which he seemed ideally equipped following matriculation. He joined so many of his generation whose consciences brought prematurely to a close their formal education, surrendered as it was to economic rather than rational forces.
And so it was in 1920, at the age of sixteen that Emrys started to work at the offices of the fateful Killan Colliery. When tragedy struck and the colliery was flooded, Emrys was transferred to the Grovesend Steel and Tinplate Company, owners of the mine. He was to serve this industry for 45 years.