ON JULY 2, 1909, the walls of a new lock connecting Newport dock to open water collapsed, trapping or crushing scores of courageous working class men.

Thirty nine men lost their lives on that day in a soup of mud and sea water. Some of the men were known solely by their surname, as they were migrant workers employed temporarily.

One of the many heroes that day was a young lad of 16, Tom ‘Toya’ Lewis, remembered by the downtown Wetherspoons.

The dead were honoured in St Woolos Cemetery by a granite obelisk, at the foot of which were three brass plaques. Last summer some idiot stole those plaques. They were recovered, but can never be replaced while metal thieves exist. The monument is now bare.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the new Labour council honoured these working class heroes by installing new non metallic plaques?

Steve Delahaye, Bassaleg Road, Newport