This film is part of Free

Dai Jones

An unemployed Welsh miner saves the day in this stirring WWII propaganda film.

Documentary 1941 7 mins


Dai Jones, an unemployed coalminer from the valleys of South Wales, discovers how his skills can support the war effort in this stirring dramatised documentary. After being reduced to scratching for coal on a slag heap, Dai travels to an unnamed city, where he wanders the foggy streets and comes across a rescue squad, ineffectually working on a bombed house. A child is missing and his mother looks on anxiously - can Dai's tunnelling skills save the day?

This was one of a number of innovative 'story documentaries' in the war years to use non-actors playing themselves for propagandist purposes - the most famous examples including Target for Tonight and Fires Were Started. Dai Jones relates an apparently true story to promote the ARP (Air Raid Precautions), set up to protect civilians from Luftwaffe attacks. The miner himself was commended in contemporary reviews for his "beautifully restrained performance". This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.