A document related to the Llanfairfach incident of 1973 has been made publicly available online for the very first time. The following newspaper article was printed in Wales This Week, the free publication delivered to citizens living in the valleys between 1968 and 1976.
Government Criticised Over Handling Of Green Death: “Lives are at risk and the government tells us nothing” say locals
By our Wales correspondent, Russell Jones
Llanfairfach, 17th May, 1973
Bitter complaints have erupted from inhabitants of the small South Wales mining village of Llanfairfach, who claim that the British government is “burying its head in the sand” and “telling us nothing” about the notorious local infection, the so-called “Green Death”.
The infection, which appears to be viral and highly contagious, has spread rapidly throughout the town. Hard facts are difficult to come by and some of the locals, drinking in The Pitmen’s Arms, speak wildly of glowing green limbs and faces, and even of an infestation of giant maggots.
“Seen it with my own eyes, I have, boy,” colourful local character and former miner Bert Morgan said to our reporter over his sixth pint of delicious Davies’s Delight, a locally brewed ale. “Two lads hauled out of the mine as green as Welsh grass and as putrid as an Englishman in defence of his wallet! And my garden – invaded by three feet long maggots snapping at my lettuces! Fair gave the missus a scare, it did!”
Mr Morgan further claimed he had witnessed “strange goings on” on the local slag heap. “Crawling with maggots it is, and almost as many soldier boys! I seen a white haired old codger driving around in an old yellow roadster, chucking something at the maggots, which withered up and died like an English rugby team faced with the Welsh prop forwards!”
Local Nobel prize-winner Professor Clifford Jones, aged 35, has lost no time in linking the “Green Death” infection with the award-winning work of local petrochemicals firm Global Chemicals.
“More muck! More devastation! More death!” Professor Jones exclaimed yesterday to a sceptical crowd of drinkers at The Pitmen’s Arms. “The filthy by-products of Dr Stephens’ perverse petrochemicals process, flushed down the pit and creating mutations!”
Dr Stephens himself, the Assistant Director of the Llanfairfach branch of Global Chemicals, responded to locals’ concerns by describing Professor Jones as “a hot head who has set his face against progress”. He described rumours of the Green Death and giant maggots as “the absurd fantasies of mushroom-eating hippies at the Wholeweal Community.” Wholeweal is the alternative community established by Professor Jones at Llanfairfach, nicknamed “the Nuthutch” by locals.
Our reporter’s request for an interview with the Director of Panorama Chemicals – known only as the “Boss” to employees – was politely declined.
Yet questions remain unanswered. Why the secrecy? Why the clampdown on information?
The entire village of Llanfairfach is now under lockdown and the border is patrolled not by the regular army, but by the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. No one is allowed in or out of the village and UNIT’s commanding officer, Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, issued the following statement: “Following the outbreak of a mysterious and potentially hazardous infection, Llanfairfach in South Wales is now under quarantine. Further bulletins will be issued on a need-to-know basis.”
Mr Morgan, who remains one of the few sources of information, proceeded to tell our reporter wild tales of a giant fly spitting green gunge before he was carried off into a back room by his fellow miners.
Locals, furious that so little information is forthcoming, are unlikely to be reassured by the statement from the official spokesman for the Prime Minister, Mr Jeremy Thripp: “UNIT is a law unto itself and the government does not comment on wild rumours.”