Obituaries (Page updated to 21 November 2017 ) to In Memorium list
Newsletter (Journal 908) Nov/Dec
Ernest Brown Coghill (NE 6997)
Born on 2 April 1932 in Edinburgh, Ernest quickly developed a passion for steam trains that developed throughout his life into a passion for all things transport related. He also enjoyed numbers and having gained a scholarship to the Royal High School in Edinburgh he went on to train and qualify as a chartered accountant. Ernest deferred his national service to complete his studies and so was one of the last intakes to National Service, electing to enter the RAF and convincing them to train him as a meteorologist. During his time in national service he met his wife to be Althea. They married on 10 September 1960 and over the next few years several moves and four children followed.
Steam holidays in the UK were a feature of family life. Early years trips were to the Masham Steam Fair and the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Then Easter 1970 saw the first of an annual pilgrimage to North Wales. The Ffestiniog Railway was always a favourite but no trip was ever complete without at least one journey to the Talyllyn Railway. Many hours were spent walking the route between Dduallt (the last stop at the time) and Tanygrisiau, the hydroelectric scheme that had flooded the route through to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Hours were spent wandering around Boston Lodge Works and there was always great enthusiasm as an engine or rolling stock was restored to operational duty. As a lifetime member of the Ffestiniog Railway Society there was great joy when the railway was fully restored to Blaenau Ffestiniog and even more with the development of the Welsh Highland Railway giving a through route from Caernarfon to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Ernest also had a great interest in local history and he was able to combine both passions when he encountered The Stephenson Locomotive Society. He thoroughly enjoyed the meetings and lectures taking grandchildren and friends to meetings whenever anyone could be persuaded to join him. His lifetime passion for steam sadly came to an end on 8 June when in the presence of his wife and children he passed away after a very brief illness. Ernest is survived by his wife, four children and seven grandchildren.
For many members of the Newcastle Centre their abiding memory of Ernest will be his hand being gently raised to claim yet another raffle prize. Needless to say he was a good supporter of Centre activities. He will be missed by us all, especially the Ponteland ‘lot"
Les Paul, Centre Chairman
Thomas John Edgington (LNE 1382) - an Appreciation
It is sad to record the death of Thomas John Edgington on 14 September 2017, just four days after his 92nd birthday. The Journal for July 1944 records John as a new Society member with the Membership Number M 1382 and resident in King’s Heath, Birmingham. Records also show that he was a member of the Birmingham, Locomotive Club in 1949 and other railway societies and organisations. Known to all as John, he started work with the LMS Control Office in Birmingham in 1942/43 before moving to London.
My earliest recollection of meeting John was at British Railways, London Midland Region, Euston House, London in the early 1970s where he was working as assistant to G. Dow - LM Publicity Officer. Not long thereafter John took up an appointment at the Museum of British Transport, Clapham in South London where his duties included the packing up of the exhibits and organising their return to various owners or transfer to the new National Railway Museum (NRM) being set up in York. The NRM opened in September 1975 and John moved to York where he became an Information Officer on the NRM staff.
John was quiet and slightly reserved but with a distinctive and welcoming accent. Through his membership of many railway societies he assisted in the early days of locomotive preservation with the administration of the fund raising for several projects. He participated in railway tours organised by the SLS Midland Area and other societies and accompanied W.A. Camwell on his visits to Ireland. John had an avid interest in railways past and present and willingly gave of his geographic and numeric knowledge. Many railway books have been published wherein T.J. Edgington is acknowledged for his contribution. He was a competent photographer and his work can be frequently seen in numerous publications.
I am indebted to his detailed work cataloguing the W.A. Camwell stations photographs which became the subject of many lists of the Society’s Photograph Collection (SPC). Following his retirement he continued to support many societies and organisations and maintained an interest in the SPC by regularly supplying answers to the What, Where, When series published in the Journal, frequently being the first to submit information. Regrettably declining health necessitated John’s move into a care home for the past few years.
His funeral at the White Rose Chapel, Bishopthorpe on 23 October 2017 was attended by some fifty friends, former work colleagues and members including myself from several of the railway societies of which John was a member.
John Irving (S 4757)
John (also known to his family as Ian) was born on the 15 September 1927 in Drymen station house located in the village of Croftamie on the former Forth & Clyde branch line between Balloch and Stirling, where his father was employed as Stationmaster on the London and North Eastern Railway. Although he could not recall the incident himself, he apparently had a lucky escape as a baby at Drymen when his two elder brothers, Robert and Andrew, were playing with a platform barrow and pushed a handle through the side of his pram narrowly missing his head, for which they were severely chastised. In the early 1930s, when John was still very young, his father obtained promotion to Stationmaster at Langholm in the Scottish Borders so he had little recollection of seeing passenger trains at Drymen. John’s primary school years were spent at Langholm and he had many happy memories of his time there, particularly travelling around the locality with the station delivery driver on the horse drawn cart. When the LNER modernised the road delivery fleet, John was allowed unofficial driving lessons on the new Commer lorry which he enjoyed, although he missed the horses. Langholm was a branch line terminus, so John looked forward to visiting his uncle ‘Wattie’, Stationmaster at nearby Riccarton Junction on the main Waverley Route. His uncle bred Border terriers and John always had a particular affection for the breed. At Riccarton Junction there was a greater frequency and variety of steam hauled trains and John’s favourite locomotives were the K2 2-6-0s.
In 1938, John’s father obtained a further promotion to Stationmaster at Linlithgow and the family moved into the fine station house originally built for John Miller, Engineer of the Edinburgh to Glasgow Railway, which still exists in private ownership today. After school and at weekends, John enjoyed unofficial footplate trips on the local pilot engine from Polmont shed, which was often an ex NBR Y9 class 0-4-0. One Saturday morning he was helping the guard to shunt wagons of loco ashes at Pardovan ‘coup’ near Philpstoun, when he inadvertently derailed a wagon over the end of the siding. There was insufficient time to attempt to re-rail the offending wagon and the tool van had to be called out, but John’s involvement was hushed up. When war was declared in 1939, John’s elder brothers left home to join the armed forces while John completed his secondary education. John remembered footplate trips during the school holidays on military supply trains from Linlithgow to munitions dumps along the former Forth & Clyde line which had closed to passenger trains in 1933.
The burden of on call responsibilities during the busy war years affected his father’s health and he died suddenly in 1942. John and his mother were required to vacate the station house at Linlithgow and they moved to a tenement in Springburn, Glasgow. John joined the LNER as a mechanical apprentice at Cowlairs locomotive works in 1943 and soon gained much valuable knowledge and experience. He continued working at Cowlairs for over 20 years, but in the 1960s steam locomotive overhauls were rapidly diminishing and he found himself repairing DMU engines. This did not have the same appeal and in 1965 there was an opportunity to take up a long term secondment to East African Railways as a steam locomotive maintenance foreman. The recently independent nations of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania required experienced staff to help the local employees improve their skills and take a greater responsibility for running the railway. As a single man John enjoyed working all over the East African Railway system, living in staff accommodation with his meals provided. He was often out on the breakdown train dealing with derailments and other mishaps, earning the respect of the African workers. John had some alarming wildlife encounters while working in the bush, particularly with snakes, lions and elephants. He did not like officialdom and related a visit by a pompous English engineer clad in immaculate white shirt and shorts that came to the engine shed and upset the African staff with petty complaints. John’s solution was to invite him underneath an oil fired Garratt locomotive to inspect the running gear and he soon departed covered in black stains much to everyone’s relief.
In 1977 following the violent takeover by Idi Amin in Uganda, John decided that it was time to return to Scotland and obtained a post with British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL) at the former Caledonian Railway St Rollox Works in Glasgow. John was welcomed into the home of his brother Andrew and sister in law Margaret in Strathaven, where he lived for many years. Although an ‘NB’ man, he became an active member of the Scottish locomotive Preservation trust Fund (SLPTF) assisting with the transfer of Caledonian Railway 828 from Glasgow Transport Museum to the Strathspey Railway. John then spent his weekends at Aviemore shed restoring 828 to working order and sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience. He was not deterred by the bitter cold winters and primitive working conditions. On one occasion John was on the tender removing corroded rivets with a young volunteer who was timidly wielding a heavy hammer while John held a chisel. John was heard to shout, ‘Never mind ma hands! Hit the bl***y thing!’ Considering that John had already lost part of a finger due to another employee’s error in Cowlairs Works, it showed his courage and determination.
After retiring as an apprentice training instructor from BREL in 1992, John bought a retirement flat near Giffnock station. As advancing years caught up with him, John became less actively involved in the railway preservation scene, but still kept up to date on progress at the various heritage railways. He especially enjoyed holidays to Switzerland and Canada, also occasional visits to his brother in New Zealand. John never spent much time at home until recently and would be off somewhere every day in his car or by train to visit friends. When his health declined and he was eventually confined to a nursing home where he much appreciated receiving visitors.
John died on the 4 May some five months off his 90th birthday. There was apparently no formal announcement of his death and the funeral was private.
I am therefore very grateful for this information from Ross Walker (Network Rail) and Hamish Stevenson SLS and Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS).
The Society was also sorry to learn of the death of Michael N. Bland of Caversham, Reading (H 2034). He was 88 years old and it would appear that his membership had lapsed in 2016. It is hoped to be able to provide an obituary in a future issue of the Journal.
News also reached the Society of the death of life member Dr J. Gordon Parrish of Stanley, Perthshire (LS 1139). Gordon Parrish, along with Bob Jamie, did for many years provide the ‘Stock News’ information in the Journal. A full obituary is hoped to be published in a future issue of the Journal.
Although not a member, the Society was saddened to hear of the death of wildlife artist, conservationist and steam enthusiast; David Shepherd on 19 September 2017 at the age of 86 years. Many will recall his lively and amusing talk in 2009 at the National Railway Museum, York on the Saturday morning after the previous evening’s centenary dinner.
He was a passionate and out spoken campaigner on wildlife conservation. His expeditions to Africa saw him set up his Wildlife Foundation and his paintings of tigers and elephants such as, ‘Tigers in the Sun’ and ‘Wise Old Elephant’, raised many thousands of pounds. As he wrote to The Railway Magazine, ‘You can always build another steam loco but you can’t build another tiger.’
His enthusiasm for steam locomotives saw him purchase BR Std. Class 9F 2-10-0 92203 Black Prince and BR Std. Class 4 4-6-0 75029 The Green Knight from British Railways. Eventually 75029 was sold to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and fairly recently Black Prince was sold to the North Norfolk Railway. He also acquired some African locomotives, two of which were given to him by the then President of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda. One of these locomotives and coach are now in the National Railway Museum awaiting restoration.
Besides locomotives he founded the East Somerset Railway at Cranmore and was President of Railway Ramblers.
Newsletter (Journal 907) Sep/Oct
The Manchester Centre was very sorry to lose its popular committee member Tony Fitch after long battle against cancer, on 7 June 2017.
Tony was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, to his school teacher mother and Baptist Minister father. A pre-war model child, he grew up with rationing, austerity and a rapidly changing technological and social world. Tony developed a passion for transport at an early age, a passion which was life long, encompassing railways, buses, post office vehicles, taxis and just about anything else with a registration and fleet number that could be recorded. After attending Manchester University, he began a career with the Post Office where he remained until taking early retirement. Tony was not someone who felt a need to travel great distances or gain new experiences. While he did make a few trips abroad, including a period of study in France and to see the last standard gauge steam services in Western Europe; Britain provided plenty of stimulation, there being a plentiful network of rail and bus routes as well as General Post Office depots across the country.
Tony became a member of The Stephenson Locomotive Society 24 years ago when his brother David died and he took over his brother’s membership number. Tony was a very regular attender at our Manchester meetings and became a member of the North Western Area Committee in 2012, following some years as carer for his elderly mother. Tony is remembered as ‘the man with the smile’, who welcomed members and visitors and took round the attendance list at our meetings in the Friends’ Meeting House in Manchester. Tony was a true gentleman with never an unkind word for anyone. It was a shock to all of us when his diagnosis meant that his cheerful and positive presence would no longer be there at our Manchester meetings. Although he had been given only two months’ life expectancy in August 2016, Tony was always positive, full of railway knowledge and enthusiasm, and amusing company when I visited him at Hilltop Nursing Home. Tony had sensibly picked a nursing home almost on top of the tunnel into the former Stockport Tiviot Dale station.
Tony was also a man of exemplary Christian faith and a stalwart member of the Methodist Church. There is apparently a statistic that Methodists live longer than others, and Tony succeeded in converting Christie Hospital’s two months prognosis into ten. I know from my visits to Tony how grateful he was for the support of his family and friends, particularly his nephew, niece and sister-in-law who all had to make long journeys from the south in order to visit him.
A number of members attended Tony’s funeral service at Stockport Crematorium and the service of celebration at Dialstone Lane Methodist Church on 7 July. We will miss you, Tony. Your time with us touched and enriched our lives. He wished it to be known that, ‘Sadly, he expired before his bus pass did.’
Alasdair Renfrew, Manchester Centre Secretary
with acknowledgment to the biography provided by the family for the funeral service.with acknowledgment to the biography provided by the family for the funeral service.
Newsletter (Journal 906) July/Aug - none.
Newsletter (Journal 905) May/June
M.N. Bland (H 2034)
We were sorry to hear of the death of Michael Norman ‘Mike’ Bland on 15 March 2017, a few weeks short of his 88th birthday. He joined the SLS in 1948 although he resigned in 2016 when he was in poor health. Mike was born in Barnoldswick and after homes in Yorkshire, the family moved to Sedbergh in 1939. Here his love of railways, and the LNWR in particular, was developed and he was a frequent visitor to the local signal box. He attended Kirkby Lonsdale Grammar School from where in 1947 he won a Scholarship to Christ’s College, Cambridge to read Natural Sciences. At Cambridge he was an active member of the University Railway Club. After graduating in 1950, he stayed in Cambridge to work on microbiology for the Medical Research Council. He left in 1954 for National Service where he served with the Royal Signals in Cyprus.
On discharge he decided microbiology was not for him and he joined British Railways as a management trainee. He started work at Liverpool Street but later moved to the Western Region at Reading where he lived for the rest of life. He subsequently transferred to the Southern Region, later Network SouthEast at Waterloo Mike had a wide knowledge of railways, both historical and modern. In his later years, with a first class pass from his years of railway service, he would frequently visit Didcot, Eastleigh and other centres to observe operations as well as journeys further afield including Continental Europe. Aside from railways, he was an active churchgoer and bell ringer.
The well-attended funeral was at Dunsden Church near Reading on 28 March. We extend our sympathy to his wife Christine and family.
Bruce I. Nathan
John Bell BEM (NE 8581F)
Newcastle Centre member John Bell of Lemington died peacefully in St Oswald’s Hospice on 23 February 2017 aged 86 years after a brave fight with cancer. John was born in 1931 at Seaton Burn, the eldest of four children. In 1938 the family moved to Castle Howard in Yorkshire where John’s father, James, worked as a driver on the Castle Howard estate.
In 1942, during the war, the family moved back to the North East, where his father got a job as driver for Noel Hudson, Bishop of Newcastle from 1941-1957. The family attended the cathedral, with John’s brothers Alan and George both singing in the choir. John wasn’t quite as musical as his siblings apparently; on one occasion being told it might be better if he just mimed! John started work at the age of 14 with the North Eastern Electricity Board, working the lathes after which he did a spell at the Huwood Mining Machinery Company. When John’s father, James, died a few years later, John wrote to Bishop Noel Hudson, asking if he could take over his father’s job as driver, sometime around 1954, a role he continued in as chauffeur, handyman, general factotum and friend to four consecutive diocesan bishops – until he retired 43 years later in 1997.
John met Joan in about 1958. They used to go dancing at the Old Assembly Rooms in Newcastle. Joan had a car and was able to give him a lift home. They married in 1960 and settled in Lemington. A few years later Christopher was born followed by Helen and William. John was head Server at the Cathedral for 30 years from the mid-1980s onwards. In 1990 John, Christopher and William were all on the serving team when the Queen came to Newcastle on Maundy Thursday. In 1992 John was awarded the British Empire Medal in recognition of his many years of service to the church.
John and Joan started attending St. John the Baptist Church in Grainger Street during 2010. John joined the serving team there as well as helping out in other ways. In 2015 they celebrated his 70 years as a server and lifelong member of the Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary with a special presentation, an event which he particularly enjoyed. John was a keen fisherman, enjoying family holidays to the coast at Bamburgh and Seahouses and was a member of a number of clubs and organisations including The Stephenson Locomotive Society, regularly attending meetings with his son Christopher. John was a man of good humour and a gentleman and will be sadly missed at Newcastle Centre meetings. Christopher will require assistance to continue attending meetings and it is hoped that something can be arranged.
The Society was represented at a Requiem Mass at the Church of St. John the Baptist on the 13 March. A special thank you to the Rev. Dr Nicholas Buxton for allowing his notes for the service to be used in the preparation of this obituary. We extend sincere condolences to Joan, Christopher, Helen, son in law David, William and grandchildren Rachel, Andrew and Christopher and all the family.
Les Paul, Newcastle Centre Chairman.
Newsletter (Journal 904) March/April
John Michael Almond (NE 8833)
Newcastle Centre member John Michael Almond celebrated his 70th birthday with family and friends in Sunniside, Tyne & Wear on 12 December 2016. Sadly John was discovered at home a couple of days later sitting in his chair with his unopened presents beside him.John’s very early years were spent in Whickham, the birth of his brother Paul bringing a move north of the Tyne to South Gosforth. Schooled in the Gosforth area, further studies took place at Loughborough before teaching qualifications were gained at Bristol University. He spent all of his 33 year teaching career at Amble Middle School becoming Head of Science. As a Scout, John developed a keen interest in the outdoors and ornithology. Early scout excursions to Norway and Denmark were no doubt the precursor to Amble School trips over the North Sea. As a Queen’s Scout he gained a Silver Duke of Edinburgh award and scouting gained him lifetime long friendships. He led many young people through their own Duke of Edinburgh awards.
To say John was a very keen walker does not adequately describe him. He knew the wild areas of Northumberland like the back of his hand. He could describe the environment, the geology, the industrial archaeology, the ornithology and much else besides. He very much enjoyed walking closed railway routes and travelling on those still open. In retirement he travelled the world often with The Ramblers. Half way up a French mountain watching the Tour de France, Northumberland accents were heard a little further away in the crowd, former pupils of John’s. He was regularly called upon by broadcast media and even featured in the Observer magazine at one point.
Communication with John was not the easiest of tasks. Telephone calls, texts and voicemails brought an immediate response – by postcard four days later. It is thought John could have appeared in the Guinness Book of Records for the number of societies and organisations he supported with membership and if a meeting, lecture or event took his interest a choice always had to be made from generally a list of three or four.
Facebook was awash with hundreds of tributes from former pupils. One said ‘Mr Almond was my first science teacher and set me on a course that ended in me gaining a PhD in a biology field. I have been lucky to work with and be taught by many teachers, lecturers and even world renowned professors but I honestly hold John Almond as one of the best educators of people I have ever worked with. You can’t successfully teach that age range of children as successfully as he did without being unbelievably passionate about your subject.’ Another said, ‘The only man who could ever talk a bunch of yobs into joining the Young Ornithologist Club is a Legend in my eyes.’ Even the Undertaker was wearing his Amble Outdoor Club badge.
The Society was represented at Mountsett Crematorium on 9 January 2017 followed by a celebration of his life at Sunniside Methodist Church. Thanks to John’s friends; Laury Badcock, David Wheeler and Bob Preston who paid tributes which supplied some of the above information.
We extend sincere condolences to John’s brother Paul, sister-in-law Mary, niece Helen and nephew Michael.
Les Paul, Newcastle upon Tyne Centre Chairman
Everard Beauchamp (M 2172)
The Society has been informed of the death long standing member, Everard Beauchamp of Sutton Coldfield on 29 January 2017 at the age of 98. He was born in Birmingham in late 1918 and joined the SLS in November 1949 being proposed and seconded by Pat Whitehouse and Cam Camwell. He was an accountant by profession and was an active researcher into locomotive manufacturers and the Library contains a Works list for Stothert & Slaughter/Slaughter Gruning of Avonside Works, Bristol that he compiled. He also contributed an exhaustive list of corrections to the Rodger Bradley book on North British Locomotives.
The Society sends its condolences to Mr Douglas Phillips, who was a personal friend and had acted as Mr Beauchamp’s carer for some time, Everard having no known surviving relatives.
Norman Beeching (H 4499 and latterly H 8480)
The Society was sorry to learn of the death of Norman Beeching of Reading at the end of last year. He had joined the Society in 1960 when living in Bracknell with his membership lapsing at some time in the intervening years only to re-join in 2006 with an address in Reading. Membership ceased in 2013.
He was a nephew to Richard Beeching, later Lord Beeching, of The Reshaping of British Railways Report of 1963.
Newsletter (Journal 903) January/February
Dr Edwin A. Course (LH 3100)
Dr Course who died in February 2016 at the age of 93 years joined the SLS in 1955 and was a life member of the Society. He was born in Brixton in 1922 where his father was a Port of London Authority official. He grew up living on the docks; first at Royal Victoria, where he claimed a memory of Guardsmen being billeted in the house during the General strike of 1926, and then at Tilbury and London Docks.
His enthusiasm for railways and transport perhaps came from his daily journeys to school, first on the ferry from Tilbury to Gravesend, and later on the train to Grays. He described the locomotives of the London, Tilbury & Southend Railway in an article, ‘A Spotter on the Tilbury Line’ in trains Illustrated No.10 of 1946.
In the Second World War he served as a Petty Officer in the Royal Navy, primarily on corvettes, and after the war undertook various day jobs, including teaching, whilst studying in the evening. He gained a PhD from the London School of Economics. Some of the extra jobs Edwin took brought him into contact with the greatest passion of his life – the railways. He told tales many years later of his time operating a tea trolley on Victoria Station, and how he found his attention wandering from the customers to the trains. In 1956 he was appointed to the staff of the University of Southampton where he spent the rest of his career. His subjects were transport Studies and Industrial Archaeology. The collection of slides he amassed has now been passed to English Heritage.
In the 1960s he started evening classes in Industrial Archaeology and this led to the establishment of the Southampton University Industrial Archaeology Group, the forerunner of Hampshire Industrial Archaeology Society and annual weekend and week-long residential courses which were to last into the 21st century. He achieved the rare distinction of having papers published by both Southampton and Portsmouth City Councils on local railway history but is probably best known for his seminal three volume work on the Railways of Southern England published by Batsford. He also wrote on London railways for Batsford, Oakwood and Middleton Press.
A fulsome tribute was paid to him in 2012 on the occasion of his 90th birthday in the journal of the Hampshire Industrial Archaeology Society which can be read in full on-line which concludes with the sentence, ‘This is but a brief account of the life and achievements of Dr Edwin Course, as he celebrates his 90th birthday. Everyone who has known him ... will have an ‘Edwin story’ – of a remarkable, talented and colourful man, a ‘one-off’.
Our condolences go to his wife Catherine and his three children and their grandchildren.
Newsletter (Journal 902 & 903) November/December & January/February
Geoff Lipscombe (H 2778)
The Society was very sorry to learn of the death of Geoff Lipscombe (H 2778) of Wymondham, Norfolk. He was 84 and had been ill for some time. He had previously lived in the Croydon area, and had attended meetings at the Bromley Centre. The Society sends its deep condolences to his widow and family at their sad loss. A full obituary appeared in the following Newsletter as below.
As reported in the Newsletter No.6 the Society has learned of the death of Geoff Lipscombe of Wymondham, Norfolk. Geoff was a long standing member of the London Area who had lived at Shirley, Croydon and attended Bromley Centre meetings. In the late 1960s he lived in Gidea Park and was the Romford Centre Secretary for many years; may even have started the centre. These meetings were held in the Ilford Model Railway Society premises, a building at Chadwell Heath station. He organised the SLS stand at the annual Ilford Model Railway Exhibition through the 1970s and assisted in stewarding SLS stands at
various London & Southern Area events. After he was married he moved to Shirley, Croydon. During this time he organised ingenious itineraries for a number of outdoor visits around the turn of the Millenium such as several incorporating the then new Croydon tram system as well as other rail and tube lines in South London and in 2003 to the route of the Surrey Iron Railway to mark the 200th anniversary of its opening.
He was employed by a major bank to review customer files for what subsequently became money laundering regulations. He offered his services as Joint Auditor of the Society’s annual accounts; a post he held for 21 years from 1978 to 2008. This was one of those posts that did not attract attention! As one member recalls, ‘He was quiet in nature but I got the impression that he enjoyed asking questions of an awkward nature simply to see what answers he got!
Grateful to Neville ‘Windy’ Gale, Keith Greenwood, Bob Jamie and Bruce Nathan for their notes and recollections – Ed
Newsletter (Journal 900 & 901) July/August & September/October
Dr Brian Dicker (M 8535)
The Society was sorry to learn of the sudden death Dr Brian Dicker on Saturday 11 June. Brian was Chairman of the Midland Area and also a Council Member. His funeral took place on Tuesday 28 June at St Augustine’s Church, Edgbaston, Birmingham. The Society was represented by Vice President Derek Cobby, Journal Editor, Brian Dotson and Midland Member, Dick Potts – The full obituary follwed in the Sptember/October edition.
Brian Dicker was born on 26 September 1934 and died suddenly on 11 June 2016. He was a remarkable man. Many talented, brave, resourceful, unflappable, kind, intelligent, and a wonderful GP and negotiator. He read Part 1 Classics and Part 2 Physics at Cambridge. He worked as a management consultant before going to St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, at the age of 36, to read Medicine. When asked at his interview, ‘Why St Mary’s?’ he replied, ‘Because it’s near the station, and I enjoy trains!’ He actually worked part time as a station announcer at Paddington Station during some of his vacations, and was told off for being too honest about the reasons for delayed trains.
He worked as a doctor near the Kruger Game Reserve in South Africa for a time, and he and his wife then moved to Saskatchewan in Canada, for three years. Their elder daughter, Elizabeth, was born there. They came back to the UK, and he worked in Northfield, Birmingham, until he was 70, as a Principal in General Practice. He continued as a locum doctor in the Midlands until he was 77.
Throughout his life, he loved railways. He watched trains at Ealing Common from his pram. The family moved to Brighton in 1939, where his father was Headmaster of a primary school. They then moved to Paignton, when his father joined the RAF to teach navigation at the RAF unit in the Singer Mansion. Brian was playing with his ‘O’ Gauge Hornby one afternoon when a stray
Luftwaffe plane flew over and strafed the roofs of houses in his road. Some of the tracer bullets remained in their roof for many years, and Brian felt this as a personal attack on his trains from Hitler himself.
The railway ran close to their house near the seafront, and every morning he would pause on his way to school to watch the 8.32am and then the 8.35am pass. The GWR was his railway of choice.
He travelled widely all his life. At 16, he and a friend hitch-hiked to Greece to look at famous classical sites. But they also sought out the Peloponnese railway and travelled on a mixed traffic train which proved interesting but frustrating, with a 6 hour wait in sidings, which bore no resemblance to the timetable. They wished they had caught the more expensive ‘Automatrice’.
The six week long trip cost them 12 pounds each, including food, accommodation (mostly camping) and the cross channel fare. They returned from Athens having hitched a lift on a Greek Air Force Dakota, which was travelling to the Farnborough Air Show. The plane still had metal seats round the edge of the cabin, with the luggage in the centre, as it had been WWII.
In 1956, he motorcycled to Jerusalem, having travelled to Venice, and then by ship to Alexandria, where he was spirited out of Liberation Square by a senior Special Branch Policeman, just 10 minutes before Colonel Nasser made his speech in that same square, announcing the annexation of the Suez Canal by Egypt.
Everywhere he went, Brian saw and remembered the locomotives. He also photographed them. This led to his arrest in Czechoslovakia when he tried to photograph a locomotive in a small town there. The police thought he must be a spy. He couldn’t be English, they said, because he was too “scruffy” (he was wearing his father’s old RAF greatcoat because it was a bitterly cold winter and this was the warmest garment he had).
Brian enjoyed railways in China, where he saw almost the last of steam, and in India, where he travelled from Bombay by train up to the narrow gauge railway in the Himalayas. In Cuba, he was delighted by the steam on the sugar estates, set against the backdrop of Havana with its old American cars and fascinating architecture. He loved the Harz Mountains Railway, and the efficient new German railways. He and his wife Sylvia went together to Tunisia, and travelled on trains there, to Syria and Bulgaria, to Turkey, to Libya, Armenia and Georgia, and in 2001 to Russia, when they travelled by First Class Sleeper to Novgorod from Moscow in the winter, to visit their Younger daughter, Alexandra, who was teaching English there. When their train pulled out of Novgorod, she was standing in the falling snow, and they felt they could almost hear the music of Doctor Zhivago as she waved goodbye. Perhaps Brian’s most exciting journey was when he travelled on the footplate of a locomotive carrying his Royal Artillery Unit as it was leaving its posting on the Suez Canal. He was actually in charge of the train, and this was a journey where he had to enjoy the footplate experience!
These are only a few of his railway highlights. Every journey with him was a delight, because he enjoyed the engineering, the history, the excitement, and romance of railways, and all the detail. And, of course, the smell of steam, and the sound of the breathing of the living locomotive.
Sylvia Dicker & Family
The Society and the Midland Area, in particular, were deeply saddened by the news of Brian’s sudden death. His quiet, calm and unflappable demeanour plus his wise words will be much missed by all who have met him at the Kidderminster meetings and elsewhere over the years. The Society offers its deepest sympathy to his widow, Sylvia, and her family at their sad loss.
Newsletter (Journal 899) May/June 2016
William Frank Glasspoole (NE 7958)
Bill Glasspoole was born in York on 2 July 1932 subsequently living in the East Riding of Yorkshire. He joined the railway in 1949 as a premium apprentice at Doncaster Works. In 1953 he won the Ramsbottom-Webb scholarship to Manchester University, gaining a degree in Mechanical Engineering. There he met his wife to be, Kathleen, who typed his MSc thesis and they were married on 7 March 1959. He subsequently left railway employment and after a spell with the UK Atomic Energy Authority became a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, first at Loughborough, and then moving to Teesside Polytechnic where he re-established his railway interests by joining the SLS.
Bill was an active member of the Teesside Centre Committee for many years and contributed several articles and notes to the Journal on subjects ranging from Bulleid’s Leader Class and Gas Turbine locomotives through to railways in Italy and Switzerland. His greatest contribution to the Journal however was a series of articles published in 2008 describing his years at Doncaster Works and where he also arranged a behind the scenes visit to Doncaster Museums to view a series of paintings of ‘The Plant’ by a colleague and stored in their reserve collection. Bill also represented the Society at the Ian Allan Heritage Awards in December 1997. He had many interests including fishing, walking and climbing, but railways were in his blood, especially travelling by rail across Europe. Besides his interest in the ‘real’ railway he also had a model railway workshop where I understand he was meticulous about detail.
Bill’s SLS membership lapsed when his health deteriorated and he suffered from a serious stroke. He died aged 83 in Guisborough Manor Residents Home on 28 February 2016. His humanist funeral at Kirkleatham Crematorium on 9 March was attended by Martin Green, Brian Henderson and David Bate on behalf of the Society. Fittingly for one who loved rail travel his grandson read Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem ‘From a Railway Carriage’. Bill leaves a widow Kathleen, and sons Jeffrey, Craigen and Robin and their families to whom we send our condolences.
Ian Gray (S 6723) (Including update from J900)
The Society was sorry to learn of the death of Ian Gray of Grangemouth who died suddenly on 1 February 2016. Membership records show that he joined the Society in December 1971 and ‘unusually had the same address throughout his 45 years of membership!’ His collection of railway books has been donated to the Society. He was a member of the Falkirk Philatelic Society. Former Journal Editor, Bruce Nathan wrote, ‘… he contributed several articles to the Journal when I was Editor in his spidery handwriting on American locomotives and locomotives on stamps. I met him at least once when we held the AGM in Scotland and recall a tall man with a distinctive Scottish accent.’
Bruce Nathan writes that Ian Gray contributed the following articles to the Journal during his time as Editor:
He also wrote several letters to the Editor in his spidery handwriting not having any computer or internet links which caused problems for at least one editor of another railway group. Nevertheless he had the ability to identify locomotives by the smallest of details and his knowledge of American steam and diesel locomotives was particularly extensive.
Newsletter (Journal 898) March/April 2016
Lance King (H 3812)
Lance King died on 2 January 2016 just short of his 89th birthday. A lifelong railway enthusiast, a member of the Society for well over 50 years, having joined in February 1958 when proposed by N. McKillop and seconded by K.A.C.R. Nunn – an impressive pair of names!
Born in Harrow, he always lived in the area, although his army National Service in the late 1940s took him to Germany and the Longmoor Military Railway. After being demobbed he joined the newly formed British Railways where he remained for his entire career. The German experience obviously whetted his appetite for overseas steam and he took advantage of the travel opportunities available to railway employees to travel extensively throughout the Continent mainly, but not exclusively, in search of steam. At the time taking an interest in foreign railways was rare but interest was growing and he started the Continental Railway Circle in 1960 to promote the exchange of information among like-minded enthusiasts. This was followed in 1962 by the launch of the Continental Railway Journal which he edited for over 50 years until the final issue in 2013 - probably a unique achievement.
Not content with just travelling to Europe he also visited Ireland on numerous occasions having joined the Irish Railway Record Society in 1950 and a year later set up the IRRS London area group which is still going strong after fifty years. He was also an early member of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland and organised fund raising in the UK from which the RPSI has benefited for many years.
Although Lance’s photographic collection was vast he was always a very private person, and comparatively little of his material has been published. Luckily it is to be preserved with the Irish material going to the IRRS in Dublin and the Society Library being entrusted with the rest of his photographic and book collection. The present Librarian, Gerry Nichols writes that, ‘He was very supportive of my predecessor Reg Carter in publication and distribution of the locomotive lists he prepared and also particularly to Reg’s partner, Peggy, in arranging the posthumous publication of Reg’s work on Chinese locomotives which was his last project.’
Newsletter (Journal 897) January/February 2016
E. (Ernie) R. Woodcock (NW 8559)
The Society was sorry to learn of the death of Ernie Woodcock of Kendal, Cumbria in
November 2015. He had been a regular attender at the South Lakeland Centre for nearly twenty years, having joined the Society in 2008. The local paper recorded that he was a ‘lovely man’ who for two decades was a stalwart of the Morecambe Bay Hospital radio being a presenter, trustee, station treasurer and fund raiser for Kendal Hospital radio, now Bay trust Radio.
Ernie was born in Wigan and with his wife of 49 years, Margaret, moved to Kendal shortly before he retired from a career on the railways where he started as a booking clerk and finished as Personnel Manager for Inter City West Coast. He loved music and his commitment to hospital radio saw him receive an award for his outstanding contribution and his organisational ability saw him serving on numerous committees in the area. Besides his hospital work he had a lifelong passion for railways and steam locomotives plus the game of bowls. He was a lifelong Christan and served as warden at Kendal Parish Church. He will be much missed by many people and organisations.
Thanks to Eric Bartlett for the above information.
News has reached the Society of the passing of the co-founder of the Middleton Press, Barbara Mitchell, on 22 September 2015. She had typeset around 400 titles which had emerged from the pencil of Vic Mitchell, her husband for 57 years, to whom we send the Society’s condolences. They had become engaged during the formative years of the Festiniog Railway Society of which Vic was a founder. On becoming a director, he suggested that its public launch should be at the Model Railway Club’s annual show in Westminster in April 1955 and that she should dress as its pre-war station mistress at Tan-y-Bwlch. This was so successful that she appeared in all three Welsh daily newspapers the next day. Thus began the first railway revival, the Talyllyn Railway not having closed. She later had practical involvements, notably running the buffet car, when trains terminated at Tan-y-Bwlch.
Also brought to the attention of the Society was the death of David Eatwell (1931-2015), although not a member, he had given talks to various centres, in particular, Bromley, and Centre Secretary, Neville Gale writes as follows:
The railway enthusiast world has lost one of its most irascible and idiosyncratic characters when David Eatwell, renowned railway photographer, passed away after a short illness in Peterborough Hospital on 26 November. He is succeeded by his daughters Marcelle and Melissa. Born in 1931 he was a lifelong steam enthusiast and for many years carried his camera to the line-sides of Britain, photographing working steam in the 60s and the early days of preserved steam in this country. He travelled extensively behind the Iron Curtain in the 1970s and 80s, sometimes camping in farmer’s fields and on at least one occasion at a local police station! He also set out for other destinations across Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. His passion for steam in all shapes and sizes was unquenchable and when age and declining mobility limited his overseas adventures he discovered a new enthusiasm for the many miniature steam railways in England. David had many articles published in the railway press over the years and also produced a number of photographic books on steam in Britain and abroad. The books were always illustrated by his wonderful pictures which he also shared with numerous railway societies and camera clubs. A master of the darkroom in black and white days he readily adapted to the world of colour and later digital photography albeit with numerous grumbles and complaints.
His idiosyncrasies are almost too numerous to mention. Anyone travelling with David very quickly became aware of his aversion to oranges, polo mints and smoking. Despite his extensive travels he never really took to foreign food. In Pakistan he survived on eggs three times a day supplemented by packet soups. His description of Chinese food is far too graphic to repeat – and on at least one occasion in Cuba he sustained himself on a diet composed entirely of sausage rolls and chocolate bars which he had carefully packed into his suitcase prior to departure. He prided himself on his high speed (but careful) driving when chasing steam but failed to explain how he once finished up buried in the long grass besides a Cuban motorway or how he managed to career through a hedge on the Cumbrian Coast writing off his car in the process. Such things were trifling details to David – as was the matter of a broken back sustained whilst photographing the Eiffel Tower – he didn’t notice he was walking backwards off a sheer drop to the pavement below. Anyone who met or knew David Eatwell will undoubtedly have their own favourite stories and anecdotes. As one of his fellow enthusiasts has said, ‘Bless you David, you will be missed. Where ever you are I hope they have sunshine, cameras and steam trains’. To which might be added – but no oranges!
However hard one tries there is always something or someone that escapes your attention and that was the case with the passing of Joe Lloyd of Hyde, Cheshire in August 2014. As I was thumbing through a copy of ‘The Mancunian’ of the Manchester Locomotive Society for some information there it was. I first encountered Joe when I found an unpublished article by him about Beyer-Peacock in material handed over to me when I became Editor of the Journal. I was fascinated by the article and this led to a letter, many phone calls and receipt of a large package of photographs of Beyer Peacock locomotives.
I was like a ‘child in a sweet shop’ when I received this package and I suspect that Joe was
fearful that the package would not be returned! From this I was able to select some of the photographs to accompany his article, The Beyer-Peacock Partnership which appeared in my first Journal, No.849 January/February 2008. After that we were to have many further telephone conversations with news of forthcoming publications regarding Beyer-Peacock or the Garratt locomotives. Preview copies of the publications regarding Beyer-Peacock which Joe had arranged have found their way to the Library and of course the restoration of the first Garratt, K1. Joe provided an article about this locomotive for our centenary year, Great, Grand … and Father of all Garratts being itself, like the Society, 100 years old. (Journal No.859 September/October 2009, pp.201-205).
It was therefore a great pleasure to meet and hear him talk about Beyer-Peacock & the Gorton Works at a subsequent SLS Manchester meeting. A very generous man, always willing to help in researches and a font of amusing tales – much missed.
Journal 896 November/December 2015
John Irwin (H 6862)
John Irwin who died on 3 August, was born in Greenock a year before the amalgamation of the railway companies into the Big Four. He confessed that his interest in railways began at the age of five when, as a boy, he would go to Princes Pier station to meet his father after a day at the office. He recalled that the big red engine had the initials LMS, perhaps it was one of those magnificent 4-6-4Ts from the Glasgow & South Western Railway. On one of these occasions the driver invited him on to the footplate whilst they carried out shunting operations. Over an hour later he returned home grimy but happy to receive a severe parental reprimand. Ships of course were also an interest, living as they did on the Clyde, but later seeing a flying boat, all three forms of transport would become of interest to him. Railways were always his first love.
John studied mechanical engineering at Glasgow, later he would study electrical engineering, eventually becoming a Fellow of both senior institutions, Mechanical and Electrical. In 1944, when his engineering course was over, he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers at the age of twenty-two and posted to the Bangalore Officers training Unit where he would acquire practical bridge building skills. Ultimately his unit was destined for the Burma Campaign.
On demobilisation he would move south, marry and live with his wife in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, later joining the Glynwed Group whose foundries included the famous Carron Iron Works established in Falkirk in 1759. During various career progressions he moved to Hampshire, and eventually retired as Chief Executive in 1982. He then took up a second career as a merchant banker advising on the viability of various manufacturing companies on behalf of the bank with whom he was employed, an appointment he thoroughly enjoyed, bringing to it his boundless energy and enthusiasm.
John was instrumental in the formation of the Guildford Centre by contacting myself when Chairman at that time, pointing out the need for local members in the area to meet. He was a faithful member attending meetings regularly until his lack of mobility prevented him travelling far. He continued to telephone at regular intervals to comment on articles in the Journal or other engineering topics.
We will miss his infectious laugh and outgoing personality, and our condolences go to his three daughters and family. The Society was represented at the funeral by the Vice President.
Geoffrey Horsman, always known as Geoff to his many friends, was born on 12 October 1925 in Harrogate where his interest in railways began at an early stage with a recollection of the auto train to Knaresborough, formed of a G5 0-4-4T between two push pull coaches which began his long affection for the North Eastern Railway. After leaving school in 1941 he began an engineering apprenticeship with Dawson Payne & Elliott, printing machine manufacturers, who were then engaged on munitions manufacturing. At age 18 he volunteered for service in the RAF and trained as a Flight Engineer and was posted to 189 Squadron flying Lancaster bombers. Demobilised in 1947 he enrolled on a three year engineering course at Huddersfield Technical College, afterwards applying to Doncaster Works, Beyer-Peacock and the Yorkshire Engine Company in Sheffield. Eventually he was successful in joining The Hunslet Engine Company in 1950 where he was involved in the construction and repair of various diesel and steam locomotives.
His main ambition was to gain drawing office experience, and so he moved to the Yorkshire Patent Steam Wagon Company in 1953 but shortly afterwards Hunslet offered him a post on the experimental work in their drawing office. In 1956 he joined the Institute of Locomotive Engineers later becoming a Chartered Mechanical Engineer in 1969. That year he was transferred to the development of new diesel locomotive designs for Ceylon and Northern Irish Railways. Finally he was appointed to the Spares Department where his encyclopaedic knowledge and technical expertise proved a great asset to the Company, who’s Managing Director often consulted Geoff on the Company’s products. He contributed many articles to various publications notably the Industrial Railway Society, and the North-Eastern Express. His piece on North- Eastern Locomotives – A Draughtsman’s Life drew heavily on his own experience.
By 1965 the vast drawing archive of Hunslet was no longer relevant to the business and Geoff was asked to find a home for the pre-1914 drawings and those of Kerr Stuart and Avonside. After a great deal of searching eventually Bradford Industrial Museum agreed to house them. A further reorganisation about 1980 was followed by an instruction to burn all the old remaining drawings. Geoff managed to intervene and diverted them to an old pattern loft where they stayed until eventually being transferred, along with the drawings from Bradford to Leeds Industrial Museum. They have since been moved to the Statfold Barn Railway where the resources to conserve the collection is available. This rescue of such valuable historic documents remains Geoff’s most tangible legacy. His generous support brought him many friends, especially Richard Farmer of Northridge, California who purchased the 18in gauge Hunslet 0-4-0WT named Gwen. Geoff was delighted to attend ‘Railfair 1999’ at Sacramento and meet up with Richard, helping to run the locomotive for the benefit of visitors. He brought a touch of local colour when with his nephew, each afternoon they brewed up Yorkshire Tea using water from Gwen’s injectors to the delight of several British visitors.
We have every reason to be grateful to Geoff who was a true friend, a helper, and a supporter who gave so much for such a long time. He will be missed, but never forgotten so long as Leedsbuilt steam locomotives survive. The Society is grateful to Geoff’s nephew, Mike Swift, for assistance in compiling these biographical notes.
Journal 895 September/October 2015
Ian Allan OBE, FCIT (SLS Vice-President)
The photograph is courtesy of The Guardian newspaper which along with The Daily Telegraph published obituaries of Ian Allan..
Many enthusiasts for railways, no doubt including members of The Stephenson Locomotive Society, have Ian Allan to thank for stimulating their interest in, and knowledge of locomotive and railway topics. From the Second World War, his name became synonymous with ‘trainspotting’. Born in 1922, in adulthood he planned to apply for a traffic Apprenticeship with the Southern Railway at the end of the 1930s. However, a serious accident in 1937 whilst on exercises with the Officer training Corps, resulted in the loss of a leg, which brought about major changes to his life. A lifelong railway enthusiast, he joined the Southern Railway General Manager’s office, helping to plan excursions. The onset of war saw him transferred to the railway’s publication department, where he learned to arrange the print and production of the railway’s house magazine.
His duties included responsibility for answering enquiries from the public about the railway’s locomotives, to aid which he was given a notebook listing the fleet with names and numbers. His suggestion that the railway should publish this notebook was turned down by his superiors, but he was given permission to proceed with his own publication, the full financial risk for which he had to bear. The initial print-run of 2,000 copies was soon sold out having made him a profit. This was the beginning of his successful venture into railway publishing. The trainspotting books for the other three railway companies soon followed, followed by a book about the whole of the London transport fleet of railway stock, trolleybuses and buses.
Capitalising on the interest in the fast growing hobby, Allan formed the Ian Allan Spotters Club which quickly grew to 300,000 members throughout the country. Following an incident of trespass in 1944 that attracted newspaper attention, he introduced a code of conduct requiring members to follow safety rules when on railway property.
In 1945, he and other partners formed the Ian Allan Limited publishing company with offices in Vauxhall Bridge Road, London. In 1946, the company began to publish trains Illustrated, a periodical magazine of news and articles which soon became a monthly favourite with the growing army of enthusiasts. The magazine, renamed Modern Railways in 1962, continues to be published, albeit targeted at a market of mostly railwaymen and other transport professionals. In 1960, the company took over the Locomotive Publishing Company, and Railway World Ltd., publishers of Railway World and Model Railways Constructor. Other transport journals were
later adopted to broaden the firm’s enthusiast base.
In 1951, the company moved its offices to Craven House, a fine old building close to Hampton Court Palace. Ian Allan Printing Ltd. was formed in 1955, the company capitalising on the ever-growing demand for books on railway subjects. As the companies’ combined activities continued to grow, a new site was chosen in 1962 in Shepperton adjacent to the terminus of the suburban branch line. The site enclosed a former Pullman car, Malaga, which was adopted as the group’s board room.
A travel agency, hotel business, motor dealership, and property development company were added to the group’s portfolio, the Chairmanship of which remained with Ian Allan for many years. He was joined by his sons who have taken over many of the directorial responsibilities over the years. The five trading companies continue to be run by his sons and other family members ‘true to the ethos and tradition’ of Ian Allan. His interests in miniature railway systems led to his acquisition of several of them, including the Great Cockrow Railway near Chertsey.
I have to express personal gratitude to Ian Allan for giving me a start in 1960. I joined his office, as a humble editorial assistant at Craven House and reported to the several magazine and booklet editors, including Geoffrey Freeman-Allen, of trains Illustrated, through whom I met his father, Cecil J. Allen, together with B. Geoffrey Wilson of Railway World, and Geoffrey Kichenside. Although I left after a year to join the Southern Region of British Railways, Ian Allan had given me my first opportunities in publishing, with articles in Railway World, and the editorship of the booklet British Railways Headcodes which ran to five editions through the 1960s until train reporting numbers were discontinued.
Allan became a Vice-President of the transport trust and the Heritage Railways Association. He was Chairman of the Association of Independent Railways and the Dart Valley Railway, and Patron of the Mid-Hants Railway. Ian Allan was a member of The Stephenson Locomotive Society from 1943 to 1984, being proposed by L. Brailsford and seconded by W. Beckerlegge, names synonymous with the early years of the Society. Then in 2002 he was appointed a Vice-President, a position which he held until his death in June, just a day short of his 93rd birthday. The Society is grateful to him and his son, David Allan, for making space available for the Library at short notice on the group’s Hersham site when our tenancy at Chessington was terminated in 1999. With the sale of the Hersham site, the continuing good relationship with Ian Allan Publishing enabled us to relocate to the new Addlestone site (see note under Library). Members interested in further details about the group’s activities may consult its website: http://www.ianallan.com/group/
The Society sends its condolences to his widow, Mollie, his two sons and the wider Allan family.
Michael R. Bailey
The Society has also learned of the death of Malcolm Wood (NE 7843) of Ponteland, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Further, members of the Society will also be sad to learn of the passing of D. trevor Rowe, well-known author of many books on Spanish and narrow gauge railways. These included Railway Holiday in Spain; the Continental Railway Handbook, Spain & Portugal, and Narrow Gauge Railways of Spain. He was not, as far as we are aware, an SLS member, but his work of many years gave pleasure to many of us.
Journal 894 - July/Aug 2015
Andrew Dow FRSA BEM
The Society’s immediate Past-President, Andrew Dow, died from cancer on the 24th April 2015, aged 71. His funeral was held on Wednesday afternoon, 6th May, at All Saints Church in his home village of Newton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire. The Society’s General Secretary, Martin Green, represented the S.L.S.
Andrew & Stephanie Dow at the Society’s Centenary Dinner at the National Railway Museum, York; 11 December 2009.
Andrew passed to me the S.L.S. Presidential badge of office at the ceremony held at the National Railway Museum on the 9th May 2014 (Journal 888, pp.154-157). He also gave a paper, ‘The Development of Railway track up to 1835’, to the seminar George Stephenson: 200 Years On!’ that took place that afternoon.
Andrew was the son of George Dow (1907-1987), whose railway career concluded in senior management, and was the author of 21 history books, most notably the history of the Great Central Railway. Educated at Brighton College and Bristol College of Commerce, Andrew spent the first thirty years of his career concerned with aero engines, with Bristol Siddeley and subsequently Rolls Royce Aviation. His career culminated with the position of Commercial Manager of the Pegasus engine project. His interest in history, as well as in engine promotion, led him to write the history of the Pegasus engine which continues to power the Harrier jump-jet in a number of countries around the World.,
In 1992 Andrew was appointed as Director of the National Railway Museum in York, in which position he remained for two years before his sudden departure. He thereafter became Commercial Manager for British Rail’s Civil Engineering Department, also based in York.
Throughout his career he maintained strong connections with railway history and operation. He was:
He was appointed a Vice-President of the SLS in 1992 and President from 2000, taking over from Dick Hardy. He wrote a number of letters and three articles for the Journal after his appointment, namely:
‘Replica Locomotives – Some Random Thoughts’ – J809 May/June 2001.
‘In the Steps of Stephen Crane’ – J835 Sept/Oct 2005
‘Past George Stephenson’s Last Home’ – J836 Nov/Dec 2005.
He also wrote a number of articles, some controversial in tone, which were published in The Railway Magazine and the NRM Review, published by the Friends of the NRM. His final two articles, ‘Does the Passenger Matter Any More?’ and ‘Along the Way for Two Hundred Years’ were published in Review No. 151 just before he died.
Andrew was also involved, through Fastline Films Ltd., in the production of several DVDs relating to training films about signalling, level crossings and permanent way. In a separate series, ‘Behind the Scenes’, the DVDs relate to track, civil engineering and traffic.
I first met Andrew when he was the NRM Director in the early 1990s, and have been pleased to meet up with him from time to time since then, including those occasions when, although he had never been a member of the S.L.S., he attended as President at the Society’s Annual General Meetings. More may be learned about Andrew Dow from his on-line ‘Blog’ (http://andrew-dow.blogspot.co.uk/p/about-me.html).
Andrew & Stephanie Dow at the Society’s Centenary Dinner at the National Railway Museum, York; 11 December 2009.
The Society’s condolences go to his widow, Stephanie, and his two children, Alyx and James. The Society has been pleased to make a donation to the All Saints Church Fund in Newton-on-Ouse.
Further to the above we are pleased to ba able to add that Andrew was awarded the BEM in the Queen's Birthday Honours (June 2015) and that as he accepted the honour before his death he was aware that he was to receive it.The award was for services to railway heritage.
Michael R. Bailey (As revised August 2015)
NB Note there may be slight differences in wording between the above and the version included in J894
The Society also learned of the death of Murray Watson (S 4863) of Aberdeen.
His sister, Cynthia Hutcheon (nee Watson) informed the Society and wrote as follows:
I am writing to inform you of the death of my brother Murray, who died on 23 April 2015 in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary aged 69, just 3 days short of his 70th birthday. Murray had a lifelong interest in railways which was inherited from his father, who had held the infant Murray aloft to see a steam locomotive roaring past on a Northumberland railway line.
Murray was born in Ponteland in 1945, just weeks before the end of the Second World War. The Watson family moved to Aberdeen in 1949, where Murray went to Cults Primary School and then Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen. I accompanied Murray on many outings, including the Cairngorm Mountain Railway and the Keith to Dufftown line. We visited the Railway Museum at Maud, Aberdeenshire and the Station Museum at Ballater, now sadly destroyed by fire.
I am sure that Murray enjoyed your publications over the years, with the many interesting articles and photographs.
I am writing to inform you of the death of my brother Murray, who died on 23 April 2015 in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary aged 69, just 3 days short of his 70th birthday. Murray had a lifelong interest in railways which was inherited from his father, who had held the infant Murray aloft to see a steam locomotive roaring past on a Northumberland railway line.
Murray was born in Ponteland in 1945, just weeks before the end of the Second World War. The Watson family moved to Aberdeen in 1949, where Murray went to Cults Primary School and then Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen. I accompanied Murray on many outings, including the Cairngorm Mountain Railway and the Keith to Dufftown line. We visited the Railway Museum at Maud, Aberdeenshire and the Station Museum at Ballater, now sadly destroyed by fire.
I am sure that Murray enjoyed your publications over the years, with the many interesting articles and photographs.
Further, news has reached us of the death of H.N.A. Shelton (NE 4559 L) of Knaresborough..
Journal 893 - May/June 2015
Alan Eylard Brown (H 1863)
The Society was sorry to learn of the death of former member Alan Eylard Brown (H 1863) who was a member from August 1947 to 1963 and attended Guildford meetings and the Library.
Alan was born at Kittsbury Lawn, Berkhampstead on 19 June 1924 to Douglas Elyard and Dorothy Brown. His father had joined the Post Office Telegraph Section in 1899 but as early as 1911 was an Automobile Electrical Engineer. After service in the Royal Army Service Corps mostly in Thailand, Alan returned in 1949 where he was initially employed as a Forest Assistant and later in Borneo for the Borneo Company. Alan returned to the UK in the early 1960s and, among his other projects, started keeping a diary of every narrow boat he saw, covering the important transition of these boats as they passed from commercial to recreational use. Alan went on to advise numerous researchers and assisted in several publications, but was always insisted on not being credited or acknowledged. Alan was an eccentric English gentleman whose passion for worldwide waterways and railways was second to none – he was wont to leap unbidden into a narrowboat engine hole to take a note of the engine number for his records. It was once said in a public meeting, ‘Alan Brown has a very irritating habit of always being right’! Alan visited the SLS Library up to about ten years ago when infirmity and deafness prevented him. His stepson and Brian Hillsdon are engaged in sorting his collection many of which are invaluable contemporary records of railways in South East Asia and British Canals.
The Society is grateful to Canal World internet site, Brian Hillsdon & Gerry Nichols for this information.
The Society has also learnt of the death of Lily Bending, wife of late member B.C. Bending ((LH 1590) (see p.91 May/June 2004 Journal) and briefly Bromley Centre Secretary. Lily accompanied Bernard on many London and Southern Area activities. The funeral was held on 20 March at Christ Church, Bromley.
Journal 892 - March/April 2015
Allan George Weldon Garraway (LS 1436)
Allan Garraway, manager of the Ffestiniog Railway for the first 28 years of its preservation era, passed away in his sleep on 30 December 2014 at the age of 88. He joined the SLS in January 1946, later becoming a Life Member. He was proposed as a member by A.F. Cook and D.A. Dant. The latter’s son, Nigel, also an SLS member, has written up his memories of ‘AGWG’ on the Gresley Society website – www.gresley.org and well worth a read. Former SLS Journal Editor, Bruce Nathan, recalls that when John Blyth was editor, Allan compiled the Index for the Journal. This was a job he performed until 1991 when the ‘new’ computer technology took hold of production.
Allan Garraway was born on 14 June 1926 in Cambridge, the son of an East Anglian-based LNER locomotive superintendent, Ron Garraway. After studying engineering at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, he joined the Royal Engineers and was posted to 348 Railway Operation Division in Germany. In 1947 he became locomotive superintendent of the British Army-run Detmold military railway and achieved the rank of captain. On returning to civilian life two years later, he joined BR’s Eastern Region and in 1951 was appointed assistant to the motive power superintendent for the Eastern Region. He volunteered at the Talyllyn Railway as its preservation got going in the early 1950s but was also present at the 1951 inaugural meeting of the Ffestiniog Railway Society, later transferring his efforts to Porthmadog. He became full-time manager and engineer of the Ffestiniog Railway Company in 1955 and was appointed General Manager in 1958.
Allan, ‘AGWG’,is recalled as a striking figure with an uncompromising but effective way of getting things done, which inspired loyalty and affection from those who understood his regime. He was a regular locomotive driver from the early years of the Ffestiniog Railway’s revival until about 1974; his favoured locomotive being 2-4-0STT Linda. He was often dressed in oilskins, his ‘Cod War gear, as he called it, and his regular duties on the footplate enabled him to see what was happening out on the line. It was said that it was no coincidence that Linda was not fitted with a tender cab similar to that constructed for Blanche as AGWG ‘enjoyed the bracing air and rain of North Wales’. For many years, he lived in a flat above Porthmadog Harbour station, but on marrying in 1965 he moved to Minffordd. His wife, Moyra, died in 2011.
Upon his retirement in 1983 he was awarded an MBE for services to railway preservation in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List; the first such honour ever given. At which point he had been the longest serving General Manager in the 130 year old history of the Ffestiniog Railway. He retired to Scotland, an area he had known from his youth and holidays, becoming a director of the Strathspey Railway. Here he wrote a book, Garraway, Father and Son; Two Generations of Railwaymen which charted his and his father’s steam experiences and was published by long-time friend Vic Mitchell, of Middleton Press. Besides being a keen oarsman Allan Garraway was vice President of the Heritage Railway Association, and Chairman and later President of the Gresley Society.
This obituary is a compilation of the many that have been published in the railway press with particular thanks to Gerry Nichols, Bruce Nathan, The Railway Magazine, Railway Herald and The Daily Telegraph.
Richard Keevil Taylor (NE 7887)
Friday 16 January 2015 was a bright but bitterly cold day when a large congregation gathered at All Hallows Church, Henshaw, in the Tyne Valley, for a Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Richard Keevil Taylor (16 January 1929 – 26 October 2014). Family, friends, railway professionals and railway enthusiasts including representatives from this Society crowded into the small but thankfully warm church to pay tribute to a special man. Richard was ‘Richard’ to his family but in the world of the railway was always known as ‘Dick’. He was a regular attender at Newcastle Centre meetings until, much to his regret, the railway authorities removed the late service from Newcastle, west along the Tyne Valley, which he used to get home. The reason stated being problems caused by passengers who had enjoyed their nights out in Newcastle too much! During his railway career in the North-East Dick had been a good friend to SLS members and indeed all railway enthusiasts, of which he was very much one. Declining health forced his withdrawal from membership of the SLS in recent times.
The service was conducted by The Rev Dr Benjamin Carter, Vicar of Haydon Bridge and Beltingham with Henshaw and tributes to Richard were paid by Richard’s older brother Hugh; former Eastern Region General Manager Frank Patterson and friend and neighbour John Galbraith. Hugh Taylor has very kindly made his tribute available to produce this edited version.
Richard was born in Sevenoaks, Kent and spent many happy hours during school holidays cycling and, more importantly, often finding vantage points to view passing trains. From this early age Richard had an obsession with railways. In 1940 his school, Kings School, Rochester, was evacuated to the West Country where it amalgamated with Taunton School for the duration of the war. Much to his delight the school’s main playing field abutted the Great Western main line. He became an ardent train spotter silently stealing away, after lights out in his dormitory and walking down to the railway fence and watching the passing trains, many of them carrying troops bound for the western channel ports. This became a regular nightly pursuit and before long he was befriended by the duty signalman in the signal box and on several occasions was invited into the box where he learnt much about train movements.
His railway career began in the booking office at Paddington Station and he was soon put forward for a work study programme to give him wider experience that would lead to management opportunities. After a short spell there he was called up for compulsory military service. With his railway background he was assigned to a regiment of the Royal Engineers at Canterbury. He was then posted to the military railway at Longmoor in Hampshire where he spent the rest of his military service.
After being demobilised he rejoined his beloved GWR for a short time at Paddington before his first promotion to Cardiff. Richard met Mary at her friends Margaret’s wedding in March 1957 where she showed him the correct way to dance a Scottish reel. They were married themselves on the 6 September 1957 at Fearn in Scotland and were married for 57 years. This was followed in 1958 by a move to Birmingham as a trainee manager. He was promoted to management at Darlington in 1961, thence to Plymouth in 1963 and back to Darlington in 1965, at each stage being upgraded.
In 1970 a major step in his career saw Richard appointed as Area Manager based at Tyne Yard when he and wife Mary moved to Hexham. This post covered such a wide area of responsibility that we railway enthusiasts were able to enjoy many happy hours of railway visits. A further promotion saw him as Area Manager at Newcastle – a city and particularly its station that came close to his heart. In 1976 he had been offered the prestigious post of Stationmaster at London King’s Cross but he declined as he had by this time settled so fully into the life of a Northerner.
His duties at Newcastle included the East Coast mainline from Northallerton to the Scottish border which was his best loved job. He saw the whole refurbishment of Newcastle Central Station which included the uncovering of Victorian tile decorations in what was to become a refreshment area. While at Newcastle he met all the senior members of the Royal family and particularly enjoyed meeting Princess Diana.
Alongside this prestigious role he was also a director of the Port of Blyth Authority and served as judge on an industrial tribunal at Newcastle. During his retirement he edited a series of books giving the history and detailed technical information on many British Railway classes of locomotives for the Railway Correspondence and travel Society. An outstanding lecture amongst many he presented described the span of 150 years of railway operating at Newcastle Central Station.Dick had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the railway and railway history which served him well in his career and as an enthusiast. One of his outstanding qualities was his ability for communication between management and workforce where he enjoyed complete rapport. He was highly regarded by union leaders and, respected as he was, he would be welcomed into the cab of locomotives, steam or diesel. As Frank Patterson related, questions were asked in other areas as to why there were so few industrial relations problems at Newcastle. The easy answer came from a union representative – ‘You get chocolate biscuits at Dick Taylor’s meetings!’
Richard will be missed by so many and we thank Mary, sons David and Bill and grandchildren James, Aaron and Callum for allowing us to be present at such a special occasion.
Society General Secretary Martin Green added:- I worked closely with Dick (that's how he was known in railway circles) Taylor around 1983/84. Dick was then BR Area Manager Newcastle and I was the manager at Hartlepool Power Station with responsibility for the safe transport of spent nuclear fuel. The power station was just starting up, so the CEGB would soon be sending fuel flasks through the North East for the first time. Dick & I were therefore called upon to share the platform at a series of briefings for local councils, emergency services and sometimes the general public. In this time I got to know Dick quite well and regarded him as a man rarely ruffled, very knowledgeable and of the utmost integrity. He could communicate easily with people at all levels, he was a gentleman of the old order, and one for whom I had the highest respect.
Notice of Dick Taylor’s death was mentioned on p.6 of the January/February 2015 Journal – Ed.
From J891 January/February 2015
The Society is sorry to learn of the deaths of member N.F. Brownell (HO 8324) of Holland and former member R. (Dick) K. Taylor (NE 7887) of Bardon Mill, Hexham, Northumberland.
From J890 November/December 2014
Alan Clifton Gilbert (NW 2203)
We were sorry to hear of the death of Alan Gilbert on 1 September 2014 at the age of 84. He had been a regular attender at Manchester Centre meetings for many years and gave several illustrated talks on his railway trips abroad. He was educated at William Hulme's Grammar School in Manchester and spent most of his working life as an Accountant with Granada Television. He was an accomplished photographer and, in addition to having part-ownership of a steam locomotive based on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, he also had part-ownership of a light aircraft and held a pilot's licence. He had a strong connection with the Manchester Locomotive Society, having been its treasurer for over 50 years, and was its President at his death.
We extend our sympathy to his sister Shirley Mountain and his nephews and nieces. The Society was represented at the funeral at All Saints' Church in Cheadle Hulme, where Alan had also been treasurer for many years, by the Society's President, Michael Bailey, and five other members.
Malcolm D. Dickin
C. A. Davies
Although he had not been an SLS member for some years, the writer of this notice remembers him from the vast amount of work that he must have done, with the late John Boyes, in organising the early Teesside Centre meetings. More recently, he donated to the Teesside Centre the prints from his display at the 2013 Middlesbrough Model Railway Society exhibition, many of the early (1960-vintage) SLS brake van trips in the area. Sadly, after a number of heart attacks, he died from one in the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne on 25 June 2014.
The following text is based on the notice, by Ted Parker, on page 61 of the Summer 2014 MoorsLine magazine, to which due acknowledgement is made. Other memory tells us that, in those early days, Chris was also an ardent devotee of a certain Hull & Barnsley carriage.
'An extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic man, with a vast collection of photographs, and author of many article published in books and magazines. In his early days, Chris could often be found on North Yorkshire Moors Railway and North East Locomotive Preservation Group working parties, while, later on, he will forever be remembered as a stalwart of the Middlesbrough Model Railway Club. His precision model-making of not only locomotives and rolling stock, but his buildings, are some of the best that I have ever seen. With great attention to detail – and, on closer inspection, one could observe his dry sense of humour.'
A final word from Ted Parker's notice, 'No doubt all of you share many memories of this special person, sometimes controversial, sometime incredibly stubborn and pedantic, but often with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. He would always go out of his way to help wherever and whoever he could. His kindness will live on in all our thoughts of Chris. We will all miss him very much – our thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife Yvonne.'
Peter Robinson (NW 8753)
The Society was sorry to learn of the sudden death of Peter Robinson. He had played a prominent role in saving the Settle to Carlisle line and was instrumental in promoting the future of railways within Cumbria. Peter had spent much of his working life with Cumbria County Council, latterly in the planning department. Upon taking early retirement he turned his attentions to the future of railways in Cumbria. Whilst living in Carlisle in 1965 he became a founder member of the Border Railway Society and in 1976 was the instigator of the Cumbrian Railways Association, being elected Chairman at the inaugural meeting in March of that year. Later he was to be voted President and until recently was the association's archivist and photographic collections manager. He was a noted authority on the Maryport and Carlisle Railway but his keen interest in the railways of the area was not restricted to the past but also to the future.
Besides railways Peter Robinson was interested in the industrial history of Cumbria being a founder member of the Cumbria Industrial History Society, a trustee of the Northern Viaducts trust and an active member of a number of other railway societies.
His concern for the retention of the Settle and Carlisle saw him in prominent roles for the future of railways in the area and more recently as a protagonist in West Coast Rail 250 campaigning group promoting the development of the main line passing through Cumbria. He was also Chairman of the Furness Line Community Rail Partnership with strong concerns at the impact of both electrification of the railways north of Manchester and the upcoming Northern and tranPennine rail re-franchising proposals.
Peter Robinson was also a keen photographer and had a huge collection of railway photographs many relating to Cumbria and stretching from the days of steam to the present day.. He had been a member of the Railway Photographic Society and later the Railway Camera Club and was noted for his high standard of work.
He is a person who will be sadly missed by his friends in the railway community both within the Cumbrian Railways Association, the wider railway history fraternities and amongst campaigners for better rail services across the country. He is survived by his wife Margaret, daughters Louise and Amanda and their families to whom the Society sends its condolences.
The Society is grateful to one of the local newspapers for much of the above information.
Eric Bartlett & Brian Dotson
Herb MacDonald (HO 8405)
The Society was sorry to learn of the death of Herb MacDonald who passed away on 11 October. Herb joined the Society in 2005 during one of his several visits to Britain from his native Nova Scotia. He became a regular attendee at the Early Railways conferences, and most recently at the Early Main Line Railways Conference held in Caernarfon this summer.
On each occasion he gave a thoroughly researched paper about a topic related to early Canadian railway development. I got to know Herb very well during these years, and we corresponded frequently by e-mail on many topics of common interest. One of these topics resulted in our joint article, tracking a Canadian Stephenson – A transatlantic Quest which appeared in the Journal for March/April 2010. Most recently, Herb was the author of Cape Breton Railways: An Illustrated History, reviewed in the January/February 2013 Journal. The book was awarded the best book on Canadian railway history to have been published in 2012/3 by the Canadian Railroad Historical Association.
Dr Michael Bailey
The Society is also sorry to learn of the death of Peter Faulks of Warwick (LM2330).
From J889 September/October 2014
Robin H. Tunstall (H 1924)
News has reached the Society that Robin Tunstall (H 1924) had passed away. He joined the SLS in 1948 at the age of 21 but lapsed his membership between 1978 and 1998. His professional career was as a civil engineer on the London Midland Region of BR and he took early retirement when the office was moved from London to Milton Keynes. He had always lived in the Epsom area and retired to Farnham. He apparently had an active retirement being a keen member of the Bluebell and the Kent and East Sussex organisations who have also been left legacies. He bequeathed his railway negatives to the Society along with a small legacy which we acknowledge with thanks. His first photographs were of the restored LSWR 4-4-0 563 in May 1948 and he concentrated mainly on locomotives of the former Southern and Great Western Railways.
Alan Jarvis (M 4195)
Alan was born in Cardiff in 1932 and lived his whole life in the same house in Granville Avenue. His professional career was in the records department of the Welsh Office where his conscientious and meticulous approach to matters was reflected in his railway collection.‘Driver Jarvis’ on the Ashcott Peat Railway in Somerset in July 1971. The visit was organised by the Bristol Railway Circle. The photograph, from a slide, was possibly taken by Derek Chaplin.
His passion for anything mechanical saw him own several motorbikes before purchasing a motor car in 1972 – an automatic Daf of which Alan said the engine was driven by elastic bands! Friends at his funeral spoke warmly of his friendship and loyalty and his ability to repair almost anything mechanical. This was particularly so during the Christmas period with various presents. It was rumoured that he had been building a 5in gauge miniature locomotive. With the passing of steam on the national network Alan turned his attention to the preserved railways along with traction engine rallies and steam powered canal boats. He travelled extensively in Europe and South Africa as well as behind the ‘Iron Curtain’. Wherever he went his camera was at the ready and many a Cardiff SLS meeting has featured his work as well as a number of railway and local history books. He mastered the computer and then went into digital photography.
His mobility was severely limited in later years. As befits his profession, his photographic collection, which has been left to the Society, is fully catalogued and scanned. Alan was always anxious to see his work published and, much to the joy of publishers, he generally asked only for a copy of the publication. He was Centre Secretary of the Cardiff Centre from 1963 until it ceased. His coffin was decorated with one of his photographs of a GWR 0-6-0PT on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and members of the congregation were played out with one of his sound recordings of a Castle Class locomotive pounding up the Gresford Bank between Chester and Shrewsbury – a fitting end to a GWR aficionado!
Brian Dotson & Gerry Nichols
Derek Chaplin (M 3444)
Within two weeks of the death of Alan Jarvis came news of the death of Derek Chaplin who was Alan’s predecessor as Cardiff Centre Secretary. Derek was born in 1929 in Colwyn Bay but after National Service worked in Cardiff and Portishead for the Central Electricity Generating Board in the area of non-destructive testing. He was Centre Secretary of the Cardiff Centre which boasted a number of very able raconteurs, researchers and photographers: Stanford Jacobs, Ray Bowen, Ian Wright and Eric Mountford, so meetings were never going to be boring! For Derek the culmination was to assist Wynford Vaughan Thomas on matters of railway history in a broadcast of a railway journey through Wales which covered most of the lines open in 1962. The closure of the Cardiff office meant a move to Portishead where he became a colleague and encouraged me to join the SLS as he had Alan Jarvis before me. Derek was an indefatigable explorer of railways: Richard (son) spoke of the fact he would always go up to a signal box with the opening gambit, ‘Is that a McKenzie & Holland frame?’ with the usual response ‘Come on in and see!’. Richard said he pulled his first signal off in Lampeter Box at the tender age of 3! In later years Derek suffered progressively from total deafness and dementia and moved to Towcester letting his membership lapse. The Society was represented at his funeral and our condolences go to Mary and his children Anne and Richard.
From J887 May/June 2014
Anthony (Tony) James Wickens (NE 1566)
It is with considerable regret that the Newcastle Centre has to report the death of its second longest serving member on Sunday 12 January 2014 at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne after suffering a severe stroke in November 2013. Tony (Anthony James) Wickens was born in May 1926 in Romsey, Hampshire. He was eldest of three children; having one sister Valerie and was predeceased by his younger brother David.
From an early age Tony demonstrated a desire for learning and he pursued his education with vigour initially at Wellow Wood, when with war looming Tony ventured north as the school was evacuated to Ravenstonedale in Cumbria. He subsequently returned south gaining a scholarship to Downside School. After completing his schooling Tony gained admission to Southampton University to study Mechanical Engineering. It was here that his long association with Hawthorn Leslie, shipbuilders, began, ultimately leading to him to relocate to Newcastle.
Two years into his degree, having previously obtained deferral of military service to complete his course, Tony was called up (an early brush with bureaucracy there!) and became 2nd Lieutenant A.J. Wickens of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1947.
Duty to King and Country completed, Tony returned to his career in marine engineering and his deferred studies. With no further demand for naval vessels at their south coast site Hawthorn Leslie had returned to focus activity in Newcastle upon Tyne. As a result Tony became an adopted Geordie and would happily remain so thereafter. He completed the final year of his degree at Sunderland where he met a fellow student, Robert Atkinson, the future head of British Shipbuilders.
With the demands of study satisfied Tony could indulge his great interests in railways, trams, and trolleybuses. He spent much time exploring the North East and beyond and as a keen photographer captured many transport sights and scenes and in so doing providing an extensive library for future generations.
Relying on public transport ensured Tony maintained a good exercise regime as demonstrated in running to catch departing trains, trams and buses. When Tony applied this practice to a mid-Tyne ferry, overconfidence got the better of him – nevertheless he was able to demonstrate his skills in treading water and swimming whilst fully clothed - although a mouthful of the River Tyne probably wasn’t too tasty or healthy!
A man of strong Roman Catholic faith Tony met Christine in the Spring of 1956 in Newcastle and proposed to her while she was on holiday with friends in Austria in August of that year. Christine and Tony married on the 22 April 1957 in Liverpool. After honeymooning in Ireland they returned to Newcastle to set up the marital home and their first child, Justin, was born in 1958. In 1959 Tony and Christine moved to their second home in Newcastle where Rupert was born in 1960, followed by Tim in 1962 and finally Kate in 1964.
Unsurprisingly this was a busy period in Tony’s life but he was able to combine some elements of family and personal interest. When the general manager of Newcastle Corporation transport, Frank S. Taylor, decided to scrap the city trolleybuses Tony launched a campaign to save them.
In his professional life Tony developed a wealth of practical experience through his hands on approach to engineering and combined this with extensive technical knowledge to outstanding effect. Tony was a brilliant and talented engineer held in high esteem by peers and colleagues. He was immensely proud to achieve the status of Chartered Engineer (CEng) and remained a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (I.Mech.E) throughout his career and into retirement.
The 1970s were turbulent times for UK shipbuilding and marine engineering with dwindling order books and increasing competition - much of it from the Far East where costs were much lower. Despite valiant efforts this eventually led to the closure of the Hawthorn Leslie works in Newcastle and subsequently to merger with other residual elements of British Shipbuilders. Tony’s commitment and professionalism through this difficult period was formally recognised by the industry head, Robert Atkinson, his former fellow student at Sunderland.
As a consequence of the winding down of British Shipbuilders, Tony retired from the marine engineering industry in 1988. The story was not over though as Tony retained more than a passing interest through membership of the Doxford Engine Friends Association. This group looks after the Doxford Engine in the North East Museums Regional Store at Beamish.
Far from being the end of his involvement in engineering this gave Tony the opportunity to concentrate on another of his great passions namely the Beamish Museum tramway Group in which he had been active since the mid-1970s. Tony maintained this interest well into the 21st century and has been instrumental in many of the group’s achievements.
Tony had a wide range of interests – he passionately believed in sustainability and was very active in Tyneside Environmental Concern (TEC) - long before environmental issues achieved the prominence they have today. In addition Tony supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and Medicin Sans Frontieres.
Tony’s cultural interests included cinema, theatre and music, particularly classical & traditional jazz. He enjoyed eating out and was always willing to try out new food experiences.
A modest and affable man, his presence at meetings will be much missed. We extend sincere condolences to his widow Christine, sons Rupert and Tim and daughter Kate and other members of his family.
Many thanks to Tim Wickens for access to the eulogy he prepared for his Dad’s celebration of Life Service held at Holy Name Church, Jesmond on 22 January at which The Society was represented.
Hubert Ralph Cox (M 2691L)
Hubert Ralph Cox who died on 31 March 2014 was born in Chiseldon in 1913 completing his education by matriculating from Euclid Street Secondary School, Swindon. He entered the service of the Great Western Railway on 30 September 1930 and served an apprenticeship in fitting, turning and erecting at Swindon Works, gaining the GWR Chairman’s Prize for Engineering Students in 1933.
On completion of his time he worked in the Materials Testing House before starting in the Drawing Office in 1936. In 1941 he was appointed as Acting Assistant to the Divisional Locomotive and Carriage Superintendent at Cardiff and in 1942-1943 was seconded to the Chief Civil Engineer as GWR Steelworks Inspector for South Wales. He remained in South Wales until 1954 latterly being the Assistant District Motive Power Superintendent. In 1954 he returned to Swindon and in 1957 was transferred to Paddington where he worked in the General Manager’s Office and the Planning Office until retiring in May 1976.
He first joined the Institution of Mechanical Engineers as a Student in 1934 and was eventually to become a Fellow of the Institution. He was also a longstanding member of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers. He moved to Worle, Weston-super-Mare in the early 1980s. His wife Doris predeceased him in 2001 after 61 years of marriage.
He joined the SLS in February 1952 when his South Wales address was in the Headquarters Area, becoming a Life Member. His will included a legacy and bequest of railway books to the SLS.
Thomas Leslie Vardy (HO 0822L)
The Society has only recently heard of the death on 18 April 2013 of life member, Thomas Leslie Vardy, of Chase, British Columbia, Canada at the age of 100 years. He was the last remaining member with a membership number below 1000, having joined the Society c 1936.
Tom was born and spent his early years at Deepcar near Sheffield and his interest in railways began at the age of three by watching steam locomotives at the nearby Samuel Fox steelworks, as he described in an article in the November/December 2011 Journal. Later he would make longer journeys by rail accompanying his father on fishing holidays to Brighton, Aberdovey and Abermule. In the early 1930s he was studying at Sheffield University, travelling daily by train from his home, now in Huddersfield, by a variety of routes on both the LMS and LNER.
Having completed university, he went to work in London in 1936 when he joined the SLS and attended many meetings as well as outdoor visits and tours. These all ceased at the outbreak of World War II, when he enlisted in the RAF as a navigator and received training in Canada followed by a period navigating bombers across the Atlantic to England, living in Montreal between trips. Later he served in Europe on gliders for paratroops and at the end of the war flew to the Middle East, Africa and India. He returned to England in 1946 but was less active in the Society at this time for in 1947 he married Helen, a New Zealander. He found the country rather run down and with food rationing, all of which contributed to a return to Canada where he lived for the remainder of his life although he made occasional trips back to Britain and maintained his interest in Britain’s railways.
In Canada, he was involved in helping to restore the Duke of Sutherland’s 0-4-4 tank locomotive Dunrobin at Fort Steele. He visited Britain in 1966 and negotiated with British Railways for a larger coach to replace the Duke’s small saloon for rides behind this locomotive. No longer in operation in Canada this locomotive was returned to Britain in 2011.
Kamloops Heritage Railway ex CNR 208-0 2141 at Falkland, 11 June 2005. T.L. Vardy
His home at Chase was close to the main Canadian Pacific route through the Rockies where he could observe the passing traffic including heavy freights and the ‘Rocky Mountaineer’ tourist train. At nearby Kamloops, he helped in the restoration of the former Canadian National 2‑8‑0 2141 for the Kamloops Heritage Railway.
During the writer’s period as SLS Journal Editor, Tom Vardy was a regular correspondent and submitted several articles, news items and photographs. He was extremely generous to the Society, sending books from Canada for the Library and he also paid for Colonel Michael Cobb’s two volume Historical Atlas of the Railways of Great Britain. He donated several copies of a mural 39in x 5in with a side view photograph of the lengthy ‘Rocky Mountaineer’ on a mountain ledge and passing through two short tunnels. Together with a number of railway watches and other small items with railway significance, these were given as prizes for the SLS Christmas Quiz over several years. Parcels sent from Canada were covered in stamps, which were appreciated by the writer who has stamp collecting as another interest.
His marriage lasted over 65 years and although Helen survived him, she died shortly afterwards at the end of 2013. The Society has lost another loyal and long-standing member. May he rest in peace.
Bruce I. Nathan
John O. Scantlebury (NW 4282)
The Society was sorry to hear of the death of John Scantlebury on 22 February 2014 at the age of 84. He had been a regular attender at Manchester and East Lancashire Centre meetings and served on the North Western Area Committee from 1986 to 1995, being responsible for membership promotion.
He was educated at Manchester Gra mma r Schoo l and did three years nat ion al se rvice in the army. He worked a t Chadwick 's Dye Works in Chadderton for ma ny years until he was made redundant .
John was a widower without children but we extend our sympathy to his step-daughter Pauline Hall. The SLS was represented at the funeral by Malcolm Dickin and Mike Blease.
Malcolm D. Dickin
The Society is also sorry to learn of the deaths of the following members – G.W. Green (NW 5370) of Tinsley, Sheffield; Eric L. Yabsley (H 7087) of Northwood, Middlesex and E.R.L. Davies (NW 4045) of Mold, Clwyd.
The Society was sorry to learn of the death of A.J. Wickens (NE 1566) of Newcastle upon Tyne on 12 January 2014. A full obituary will appear in the next issue of the Journal. .
From J884 November/December 2013
Louis Noel Briggs (M 5900)
Louis Noel Briggs (1927-2013) was a man of many parts; his many contributions to our Society reflected his long and varied career and his enterprising spirit. Born in Bloxwich, resident variously of Walsall, Castle Bromwich and, for many years, Great Barr to the North of Birmingham, he was a Black Countryman to his fingertips, able to switch from his quietly clipped speech to broad dialect in a trice, if asked nicely. After leaving school, he worked briefly as a railwayman before moving to Dunlops. He also had a spell as an apprentice learning the mysteries of saw-doctoring, one of the traditional metallurgical skills of the region which he was to put to work in his later years. After National Service in the problem-torn and hazardous Palestine Mandate, he resumed work back home, rising eventually to be foreman at F H Lloyd’s steel foundry.
Once de-industrialisation started to bite, Noel moved on to other things. After a brief stint in hotels he set up as a wholesaler of Italian wines, later returning to saw doctoring in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter before retiring. After which he put his metal working expertise at the disposal of the Severn Valley Railway, as well as cataloguing the Cammell Laird collection in Birmingham’s reference library. Apart from railway matters, his leisure time pursuits (the phrase seems a touch unrealistic for so well-occupied a man) included music. He was a regular attender at Birmingham Symphony Orchestra concerts, especially when his favourites were offered - modern Russian composers; he spoke with insight and authority on the works of Prokoviev and Shostakovich.
Having been one of Camwell’s lieutenants in the golden age of SLS tours, he noted with alarm that SLS Midlands Area seemed becalmed after Cam’s death. He intervened quickly and effectively, with the assistance of others including Brian Gilliam. A solid programme of meetings, first in ‘Brum’ later in Kidderminster, began to attract back members, putting the Area back on a sound footing with Noel variously Chairman and Secretary of the Midlands area and as such, a valued member of Council. He did more, placing the residue of Camwell’s library, augmented by other gifts and collections, at the Tyseley Rail Centre, purchasing furniture and intending to set up a useful Midlands echo of our main Library. Unfortunately, it was not to be, largely because of access problems.
Noel recognised the problem and agreed to a sale of the collection, at a good price which could not be matched these days. His last years were clouded by the loss of his wife, Nell and increasing infirmity. Even so, he soldiered on virtually to the end, attending Area meetings until the end of the Spring season, 2013. Noel Briggs was decidedly one of the ‘movers and shakers’ who keep our Society and a good deal more in being and on the road; a long time Council member and pillar of the Midlands Area to whom many of us will be for ever indebted.
The Society was represented at his funeral; our condolences go his relatives.
R.A.S. Hennessey, et al including notes from David Briggs
From J883 Sept/October 2013
Bernard de Lidés Matthews (H 0434) (see entry below)
Stanley James Rhodes (H 0694)
Shortly after receiving the news of the death of Bernard Matthews the Society was then informed that our longest serving member, Stanley James Rhodes, had passed away peacefully on 16 June 2013, aged 97 years.
It was only in the May/June 2013 ‘Journal’, pp.135-138, that we were celebrating the life and times of Stanley Rhodes following an interview with him in December 2012 by Brian Lewis. The interview formed the basis of the subsequent article, ‘Our Longest Serving Member’. Members are referred to this article as our obituary to this member.
The Society sends its condolences to Stanley Rhodes’ family.
From J882 Jul/Aug 2013
Sir Richard Meyjes (H 1757)
The Society was sorry to learn of the death of Sir Richard Meyjes on 9 March 2013 at the age of 94. He was born in Dunstable on 30 June 1918, the grandson of a Dutchman, and was educated at University College School, Hampstead. On leaving school, he studied for the law but his studies were interrupted by being called up in 1939. He served in the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) throughout the war with the rank of captain. After demobilisation, he qualified as a solicitor in 1946 joining the legal department of Anglo-Saxon Petroleum, a Shell subsidiary. In 1956 he moved to the commercial side of Shell, as manager in Thailand and Vietnam and subsequently president of the Shell Company of the Philippines. He later returned to London to become marketing co-ordinator of Shell International Petroleum Co.
In 1969 he was seconded by Shell at the request of Edward Heath, then leader of the Opposition, to lead a team of executives from the private sector to advise on ways to make the Civil Service more efficient. The work continued, with some success, when Edward Heath formed the Government after 1970 General Election. His term ended in 1972 when he was knighted and returned to Shell as group personnel co-ordinator.
He retired from Shell in 1976 and joined the boards of several other industrial companies. He
also became chairman of the Council of the University of Surrey where he was remembered with such affection that the approach to the Guildford campus was named Richard Meyjes Road. He became involved with optometry as a past master of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and later Chairman of the Association of Optometrists which in turn led him to become a trustee of the charity Vision Aid Overseas. He was appointed deputy lieutenant of Surrey in 1983
and high sheriff the following year.
As well as his many other commitments, he confessed an enthusiasm for ‘railways as they used to be’. He had been a member of the SLS since the 1940s and took a keen interest in the Guildford Centre meetings which he regularly attended from its formation in 1997 until prevented by ill-health. He was also a member of the Great Western Society and visited the Didcot Railway Centre when circumstances allowed.
He is survived by his wife and three sons to whom we express our sympathies.
Bernard de Lides Matthews (H0434)
The Society has just learned of the death of our oldest member, Bernard de Lides Matthews. He passed away on 9 February, 105 years old and had the lowest membership number in the Society of H 0434. Vice President Bruce Nathan interviewed him at his home in Sutton in March 2011 and his conversations were reported in an article in the May/June 2011 ‘Journal’ p.211.
The Society offers its condolences to his son and members of the family at their sad loss.
A longer obituary notice was published in the September/October Journal and is now added below:-
As briefly noted in the July/August ‘Journal’, our oldest member Bernard de Lid è s Matthews died on 9 February at the age of 105 years, eight months and eight days . At the time of his death he had the earliest membership number in the Society, although his membership was not continuous and therefore he could not claim the record for our longest serving member.
Bernard was born in Manchester on 1 June 1907 but the family soon moved to Lytham St Annes where he attended King Edwards Grammar School and shone on the football field. He lived close to the railway line where he became fascinated by steam engines at an early age. At the age of 17 he moved to London to start work at the Stock Exchange. In London he was able to expand his interest in railways and he joined the SLS in 1926.
Photographing trains became a serious hobby and it was when visiting a camera shop in 1926 that he took a fancy to a young lady assistant, Daisy, who became his future wife. Much of his courting was spent spotting trains together. They married in 1932. In the 1930s they took part in a number of SLS visits such as the Scottish tour as reported in the July/August 2013 ‘Journal’ p.186. Bernard knew well many of the early leading members of our Society including J.H. Seaford and W.H. Whitworth. Motor sport was another interest at this time. He proudly owned a Jaguar SS 100 and participated with Daisy in a number of Jaguar Car Club rallies in England and Scotland.
In 1937 Bernard and Daisy moved to a house with a large garden in Sutton where they lived for the rest of their lives. With a growing family, his interests in railways had to take a back seat and he suspended his SLS membership. During World War II he served with distinction in the RAF but was very modest about his achievements and was never interested in displaying or wearing his war medals. After the war he returned to the Stock Exchange until retirement in 1972.
Having retired he was able to resume his interest in railways and re-joined the SLS. Over the years he built up an incredible collection of photographs of locomotives, recording the entire epoch of British steam from the 1840s until the late 1960s. In doing so he became recognized as one of the foremost experts of this era and, even up until just a few days before his death, was being consulted for his expertise by railway societies and museums. Living in Sutton, he was able to make frequent visits to the SLS Library at New Malden until prohibited by ill health.
Railways were not his only interest, however. He followed sport avidly, particularly soccer, where from his schooldays was a keen Blackpool supporter, and snooker, but his biggest sporting interest was in golf. He was passionate about it and, in his day, he was a very capable player, even playing for Surrey on occasion. He retained his skill and at the age of 81, he twice ‘beat his age’ with back-to-back scores of 70 which was acknowledged as possibly being a world record. He was still playing at the age of 102 and even at 104 when he could no longer get out on the course he continued practicing his putting across the living room carpet!
In his funeral tribute his son rightly described Bernard as a remarkable man. He was the consummate host, a master raconteur and loved to spread largesse. He had an unending supply of jokes and he was always telling some good tale about things he had done, or would like to have done! He was highly opinionated and unabashedly outspoken. Indeed, he had strong views on virtually any matter. The fact that he had little or no knowledge of a particular subject never prevented him having a strong opinion and a solution. Politically, he was somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan and his solution to dealing with those nations we tend to see as being difficult was quite simple. ‘Just nuke them! And do it now!’
He excelled at anything to do with numbers. If you dealt him a shuffled pack of cards in totally random order, but leaving one card out, after a few moments thought he would tell you which card was missing. He could calculate in his head random probabilities and racing odds. He played chess at a highly competent level, anticipating as many as eight moves ahead. And even a few days before he died he was playing dominoes, beating the others by working out who had what pieces in their hands.
If he was tough on people, nations and politics, he was totally the opposite when it came to animals. He was constantly concerned about the welfare and fate of just about anything on four legs, particularly dogs, horses and donkeys. He supported numerous animal welfare charities and once, when he was a little hard up and it was suggested that he cut back on his modest contributions, he declared forcefully ‘I can’t do that. Those poor horses rely on me!’ The family took in many stray dogs, some of which were delivered by complete strangers who had probably heard that Bernard and Daisy were a soft touch and that their home was a convenient drop off point. Again, he thought that any dog without an owner was destined to live in terrible conditions and die if he did not look after it.
He was equally concerned about wild animals and especially for the urban foxes that visited his back garden. Much to the annoyance of some of his neighbours, he would religiously put food out for them each evening. The foxes grew fatter but Bernard was always convinced they were starving if they did not get more to eat!
He wife, Daisy pre-deceased him but they were able to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in 2002. He leaves three sons, ten grandchildren, 2 step-grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and two step-great-children. The well-attended funeral was at North East Surrey Crematorium on 8 March.
I am grateful to his eldest son Stuart for providing a copy of the Order of Service at the funeral and his eulogy which provided much of the above material. To Stuart and the entire family we send our sincere condolences on the loss of a highly-talented man.
Keith Greenwood, custodian of the Stephenson Photograph Collection, writes of Bernard Matthews:
Bernard was a quiet man, who provided considerable ‘back room’ assistance on a number of occasions. In the summer of 1986 it was necessary to move the Library from its then premises at 2 Gainsborough Road, Chiswick, London. At that time the Society’s financial reserves were by current standards minimal and the removal to the ‘new’ premises at New Malden had to be conducted on a Do It Yourself basis. Bernard quickly offered assistance packing the books etc into boxes. Over a period of weeks the majority of the Library stock was packed and labelled into cartons as quickly as they could be sourced. Following the removal Bernard also assisted with the unpacking task.
He also provided considerable assistance identifying negatives in the Camwell bequest and undertook diligent work preparing the manuscript inventory from which the typed lists are now produced.
From J881 May/June 2013
The Society is sorry to learn of the death of John C. Newman (H 6840) of Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
From J880 March/April 2013
The Society is sorry to learn of the death of William Fitton (H 8869) of Didcot, Oxfordshire.
From Journal, 878 November / December 2012
Jim Jarvis (N 1439)
Jim Jarvis died on 21 August 2012 aged 90 in Luton Hospital. Jim was the younger brother by ten years of Ron Jarvis who was Mechanical Engineer (Design) for British Railways. Their father was the founder of the building company Jarvis which has undertaken some civil contracts with the present Network Rail.
It was Jim who encouraged the writing of the biography of Ron by J.E. Chacksfield and contributed the Foreword. Jim worked for the LMS and later BR on locomotive design and development and his qualifications included an M.Sc from Illinois University awarded after a two year scholarship which involved working in the Roanoke Works of the Norfolk and Western RR. In particular Jim was proud of having devised the dynamic balancing for the Standard 9F 2-10-0s, using principles he had learnt in North America. He also visited Canada and his photographs of Toronto and Montreal taken in 1952 have been published by the Modellers of North America.
Jim was in the forefront of modern-day railway photography, as early as the 1930s going linesiding in Scandinavia and making a steam tour of South Africa (as he liked to recall, the Knysna branch was Class 7 4-8-0s in those days) with an older brother. He was quickly into 35mm colour and brought back many excellent pictures of North American steam from his university stint in the USA in the fifties. Jim travelled widely in search of steam. He loved northern Italy and published some of his pictures of the Val Gardena line privately. He had wonderful photos of Spanish trains great and small taken on a number of trips with Peter Gray, John Dewing and others when the going was good in the 1960s.
Jim Jarvis was a stalwart member of the Continental Railway Circle and was a familiar figure on organised rail tours: Lawrence Marshall's ‘Great Indian train Journeys’ were a favourite of his. He took part too in a number of South African steam safaris; on the first of these he was amused when a local enthusiast, introducing himself as Charlie Lewis, looked at Jim's name badge and asked ‘Are you THE Jim Jarvis?’
The location is Rugby Testing Station and the occasion is around its official opening on 19 October 1948 when A4 Sir Nigel Gresley was brought to the site to commemorate the part that Gresley had played in the agreement to construct the testing facility. No formal testing was done on the engine in the plant. The persons in the photograph are from left to right: John McCann, Tom Cadzow, Sid Cowley, Ray Morgan, Eric Taylor (Amsler rep), Denis Carling, Henry Hewison, Jim Jarvis (with hat), Robin Johnson and the LNER crew Fireman Heavens and Driver F. Moore. Jim Jarvis Collection/SLS Library
Eric Sutherland Lomax (S 0849)
The remarkable story of Eric’s life has been well told in the substantial obituaries contained in several national newspapers on the 10 October, just two days after his death in his home town of Berwick-Upon-Tweed. He was 93 years of age and had been a member of the Society since 1937, its fourth ‘longest-serving’ member’.
Eric’s interest in railways blossomed, as it has for so many of us, in childhood. Brought up outside Edinburgh, he witnessed the operations of the LNER and LMS and the industrial systems of Scotland and further afield as opportunity allowed. He joined the Royal Corps of Signals and in 1939 was deployed to India and Singapore as the signals officer attached to a unit of the Royal Artillery. His capture when Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942 led to dreadful experiences, particularly during the time spent on the infamous ‘Burma Railway’.
Eric kept himself mentally alert by remembering as much as he could about the details of the railway, including the numbers of each locomotive he saw. This mental strength remained with him throughout the remainder of his life, his remarkable recall of railway facts never failed to amaze all those who knew him. The very moving story of his wartime experiences, and the remarkable reconciliation with his one-time Japanese torturer, was told in his book ‘The Railway Man’, first published in 1995, and since re-printed several times.
After the war his interest in railways expanded and one of his contributions was to take part, with other SLS members, in the rescue of the old South Hetton Colliery locomotive, then known as Braddyll. This endeavour was recalled a year ago by Mike Fell and R.A.S. Hennessey in ‘Journal’ No. 872 (November/December 2011, pp.287-290).
Eric’s interests included a passion for collecting railway books, maps and memorabilia. I met him nearly forty years ago and first visited him at his home in the ‘New Town’ of Edinburgh. In the knowledge that his collection was extensive I looked around in surprise to see no evidence of books! After a pleasant lunch he invited me to see the collection by suggesting I get my coat on to go round to his ‘other’ house in the next road where everything was stored! This was an Aladdin’s cave bursting with railwayana as well as books. Just to get in one squeezed past a glass-panelled display-case containing a brass model of Stephenson’s Rocket that used to grace Waverley Station in Edinburgh. How many children thrilled at the model’s movement when an old penny was inserted!
He showed me his ‘3-ton room’ full to bursting with the contents of the former Caledonian headquarters building in Glasgow which had a ‘turn-out’ after nationalisation back in 1948. He saved from the disposal bin not only books, but historic plans and maps, and a wealth of memorabilia, including the Caledonian Railway linoleum from the wash-room floor!
Eric later concentrated on acquiring antiquarian railway books at auction, and was a frequent bidder for lots at many of the country’s sales events. In particular he built up a major collection of maps, timetables and other publications from the Bradshaw publishing house, including a number that were extremely rare. He developed a knack of finding bargains where the book-dealers had not appreciated the rarity. He thus became well-known in the book-trade, although some dealers found him difficult to deal with. His horrific war-time experiences had left him with a stubborn resistance to authority or over-forceful correspondence.
With the passing of the years, the future of his collection became a worry and he felt obliged to sell the bulk of his collection of books and memorabilia at a major auction held at Hendon Museum a decade or so ago. Even so, he continued to track down rare Bradshaws from his perusal of auction catalogues. However his ambition to write a comprehensive history of the publisher was never fulfilled.
His remarkable story told in ‘The Railway Man’ touched the emotions of countless readers. The book has now been adapted as a major feature film due to be released in 2013. Eric as a young man is played by Jeremy Irvine, and as an older man by Colin Firth. Eric’s wife, Patti, who played such a crucial role in Eric’s rehabilitation and reconciliation, is played by Nicole Kidman.
In spite of all he had been through, I have such happy memories of a man with a wonderful sense of humour. Many are the days we spent swopping anecdotes and concluding in fits of laughter. Although his health prevented him from participating in SLS affairs for several years, he maintained his interest in the Society and enjoyed reading the ‘Journal’ right up to the end.
Although, understandably, the world will recall his extraordinary war story and the reconciliation, we have lost in addition a close colleague. I was privileged to give one of the eulogies at his memorial service on the 15 October at Berwick Parish Church, during which I was able to pass on the condolences of the Society and its members to Patti, his daughter Charmaine, and to his step-sons and step-daughter and their families. Eric will always be ‘The Railway Man’.
From Journal, 876 Juiy / August 2012
John Francis Aylard (H 0856)
The ‘Journal’ for November 1937 records J.F. Aylard listed as one of the new members and the following February edition included an article ‘Christmas Eve, 1937, at Kings Cross’ wherein John reported in detail the main departures on the 24 December, a clear indication of his early and what became his specialist interest in the East Coast Main Line.
Just two months later he was a member of the SLS party to visit Leicester (GC) shed on 10 April 1938, his first SLS visit. Notwithstanding the report in the ‘Journal’, which recorded that nothing wildly unusual was seen, it was John’s first sight of several locomotive classes including a Class B5. Many years later he commented that the next trip could not come soon enough.
In July 1938, at the age of 18, John left school to join the London School of Economics on a three year degree course. Conscious of the looming possibility of war and being called up, John particularly wanted to join the Royal Navy, and found that if he joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve before war was declared he would achieve his wish.
In May 1939 he was accepted and was later drafted as a signaller to HMS Jervis Bay, which was on escort duty in the North Atlantic. Fate took a hand and John was recalled for exams arriving back at Portsmouth a few days after the ship was sunk. Later in the war he joined his first ship as an officer, HMS Ayrshire. On 27 June 1942 convoy PQ17 sailed from Iceland for Russia with 35 merchant ships. Following an encounter with German submarines the convoy was instructed to scatter and make their own way to Archangel. Ayrshire and several merchant ships subsequently headed north and stopped amongst the icebergs for several days to make detection by enemy forces difficult before setting off for Archangel. In due time a third of the convoy safely reached their destination. John was mentioned in dispatches for his work navigating a path through the ice flows.
John was demobilised in March 1946 and subsequently completed his degree course. In 1948 he married Joy, a Petty Officer, Women’s Royal Naval Service who had worked at Bletchley Park. He commenced a career in the steel industry and eventually retired from the British Steel Corporation in 1986.
As steam traction started to disappear from the railway, John took a car load of fellow enthusiasts on various high speed dashes round the country in pursuit of some final run or other. Visits were made to Scotland and elsewhere. The occasional encounter between John, the bit between his teeth as it were, and a herd of cows going to milk, brought forth some of his naval expletives!
John was the first secretary of the Barnet Centre where meetings commenced in October 1960. Over the subsequent fifty years he held the post of Secretary on two occasions for a total of some 18 years. Notwithstanding his in-depth knowledge of matters Great Northern (GN) and London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) John‘s interests were wide and he kept up to date with the ever-changing railway scene and introduced a wide variety of subjects to Barnet Centre meetings.
Widely travelled and an accomplished photographer his passion for and knowledge of the GNR, LNER and subsequent British Railways East Coast mainline was well known. John’s interests also included the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and he was known to occasionally point a camera at a Great Western locomotive. A modest man, not one to speak about himself, he would quietly provide advice, assistance or information to others and submitted numerous items to those societies that shared his interests. His most recent contribution was to ‘What’s on the Lizzie’, a day to day record of lococmotive workings on ‘The Elizabethan’ between Kings Cross and Edinburgh.
The past two years had been difficult for John and Joy after his illness during a visit to Australia. John died in April, aged 92. Our thanks are extended to the staff at Abbey Ravenscroft Nursing Home, Barnet, for their dedicated work, and our sincere condolences are given to Joy, Richard, Paul and Roger and their respective families.
The congregation at the service held on 24 April, at the Church of St Mary The Virgin, Monken Hadley included representatives from the SLS Barnet Centre and other GN and LNER societies to which John held membership.
Keith Greenwood with acknowledgement to Peter Coster and Alan Dobbins.
From Journal, 874 May / June 2012
A. (Tony) H.J. Cornwell MBE (NE 7987)
The Teesside Centre was represented at the funeral of Tony Cornwell at both the service at St Mary the Virgin, Norton and at Acklam Crematorium on Tuesday 6 December 2011.
Tony was born in Cambridge (22 December 1928), after leaving school aged 14 he started work as a telegraph boy before serving an apprenticeship as an instrument maker. In December 1945 he joined the Royal Navy serving for 22 years and attaining the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He served on board the aircraft carriers Eagle and Ark Royal around the world before being seconded to the Australian Navy while they were developing their own Naval Air Force. This was followed by a career in the Diplomatic Service in Ghana, Paris, Nigeria and Canada and while as consul in Australia was ‘mentioned in despatches’ and awarded the MBE.
Tony retired at 60 organised and astute and after much thought chose to move north to Eaglescliffe on Teesside – his inherent love of railways led him to the birthplace of railways on the route of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. From being a child he was fond of the railway – his grandfather being a ‘horse doctor’ for the railway on the local Cambridge system! Where ever he travelled he was keen on the railway operations. Tony had a wide range of rail interests – timetables, sound recording, visiting model railway exhibitions, model making and layouts – with layouts in loft and garden. He was also a good walker and navigator with a wealth of information on a broad range of subjects .
Following diagnoses of his final illness Tony travelled extensively – across Australia, Canada and USA. His dream trip was secretly organised by family and a close friend to have a cab ride in ‘125’; this was achieved with assistance and agreement of his doctor in June, from Darlington to Leuchars, and he was still able to take photographs of the ‘speedo’ and on the Forth Bridge etc.
On the model railway hobby he always made sure he was able to attend the Falkirk Model Railway Exhibition where he donated the Tony Cornwell annual cup for the best steam layout in the show. A close friend from North of the Border has agreed to continue to present the renamed Tony Cornwell Memorial Cup for the best steam layout. Tony was renowned for his cheerful outlook making perceptive and constructive comments that would benefit individuals and the centre alike.
A final fitting touch as his casket was carried down the aisle to leave the church was the sound and whistle of GWR 56XX 6619 0-6-2T moving off on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and a final sound of a Valenta engined ‘125’.
Our condolences were conveyed to his caring family.
Reimar Holzinger (HO 8028)
Reimar Holzinger died on 29 January 2012 after suffering a stroke in November 2011. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family. Reimar was a regular correspondent with Reg Carter, our previous SLS Librarian, and the 40 locomotive lists in the SLS Library collection bear witness to the breadth of his interests covering European, North American and Asian railways.
Gerry Nichols, SLS Librarian
Reimar Holzinger, who died on 29 January 2012 at the age of 90, was one of the Austrian school of locomotive historians, but his interests spread far beyond his native country. An accomplished linguist, his interests spread throughout the world, and he compiled locomotive lists for countless railways and manufacturers. Perhaps his most significant contributions to railway literature were in relation to Eastern European railways, a field where official information was for years almost impossible to acquire. He was a major contributor to Halliwell’s ‘Locomotives of Yugoslavia’, having been able to read original documents in Serbian handwriting, he co-authored (with Hugo Hütter) the standard work on polish locomotives, and at the age of 85 travelled to St Petersburg to research the records on Soviet locomotives held in the museum there. Many of his lists are in the Society’s Library.
A professional railwayman and permanent way engineer, active for many years for the Austrian Railways (ÖBB) and later VÖEST, the major Austrian steel company, he spent several years working on an Austrian scheme to develop the railways in Algeria. In retirement he was an energetic correspondent, always willing to share information with his many friends across the world. He leaves a wife and two children, to whom our sympathies go.
The Society is also sorry to learn of the death of Arthur G. Rudd (NW 7936) of Cheadle Hume, Cheshire.
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Dr Michael J Andrews (H3043)
Myles Birkett Atkinson (NW 1664
G. A. Barlow
Dr. A. L. Barnett
Roy Bealby (NE 3217)
J.K. (Ken) Brewster
Charles Patrick Peter Britton (LNW 3522)
James Ian Craig Boyd
Henry Arthur Vaughan Bulleid
K. J. Carpenter
R L Chambers#
Richard P.B. Chandler (H 8558)
A. B. 'Bert' Collins
Ian Malcolm Coonie (S 2650)
Richard Ross Cunningham
James Douglas Darby
P. G. Douglas
John M. Edgson
E.W.J. Elliott (H 3922)
William (Bill) E. Fallon (S 8183)
Kenneth F.M. Farrance (H 8602)
Peter Faulks (LM2330)<
Neville Fields (NW 1636)
J. M. Fleming
P. J. Garland
Dr. I. Gavin
John Roland Gill (S 5355)
John Charles Gillham
C E Greaves
Peter T. Handford
Fred W. Harman (NE 8219)
Dr J.A. Heslop
Major J.W.B. Hext MBE
Dr John Ramsay Horler (NE 8151)
T. J. Holden
Gordon L. Hollis (NE 1634)
A. R. House
Fergus Robertson Johnson (NW 2500)
Vivian G. Leyshon (H 8022)
J. M. Learmont
Brian Lewis of Sale (not the former Society Chairman)
Fred J. Liptrot
G.E. Little (NW 1043)
Dr Arthur James Lowe
K. K. Mackay
Dr N. A. MacKillop
Tim McGaw (H 1449)
S. C. Nash
Ronald I. Nelson
J. E. Newsome
D.R. Parker (H 5855)
R. C. Riley
John A. Robinson
Peter Robinson (NW 5570)
Robert Stephenson Roper (NW 8176)
H. D. Rowbotham
W. D. Seddon
Rev Cyril A. Selman
Reginald Sowler (NE 6620)
Edward C. Step (H 3640)
Richard ‘Dick’ Swarbrick
Alan Tall (H 2897)
S. W. Thomson
W. H. Thompson
R. O. Tuck
Brian G. Tweed (H 1457)
Harold Edgar Vickers (NW 4183)
Mike Ward (M 8331)
G. N. Wildish
Dr K. C. Willson
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