McAlpine was working with a crowd of gangers on a contract in a remote part of Wales when one of his crew met with a fatal accident.
The unfortunate victim had no known family and indeed, there was no man knew what his religion was. It was decided therefore to bury him in a local cemetery.
A Protestant minister came along to carry out the burial service. The ganger picked six men – all ‘hard chaws’ – to carry the corpse in the coffin.
At the graveside they laid down the deceased the wrong way around, so that the box wouldn’t fit into the hole.
‘Reverse the corpse, gentlemen!’ the minister ordered.
With hats and caps off they looked at him dumbfounded, unable to comprehend either his words or his accent. Some one muttered that he was ‘on’y a sky pilot!’ Once again he ordered them to ‘reverse the corpse!’
The six stood dumbfounded as before. Then the ganger spoke up.
‘Beggin’ yer pardon, Sir! They don’t know what yer saying. Do ye mind if I speak to them?’
The minister didn’t mind. To the men, the ganger said,
‘End for end, boys! Slew the f***** round!’