Sir: “Forgotten First World War Railway Stories” (“Cornucopia”, Autumn 2016) was of great interest. My late father, Oliver Say, the third son of a furniture mover in Gloucester, had an involvement with this subject. His two older brothers worked in the family removals business, but after they enlisted at the start of the war, my grandfather, William, was left short of a workforce. As a result he applied for — and was granted — permission for my 11-year-old father to leave school to work for him.
At that time the main way of haulage was by horse and waggon and as my father later recounted to me, there were many occasions when grandfather would wake him at 2am and they would hitch up the horses to the trailer. They would then go to Gloucester Station to meet the hospital trains coming in from the Front. From the station, the injured soldiers were conveyed on the horse-drawn trailer to the local hospital. This was often in the winter in dreadful, freezing cold weather. He never described to me what injuries he saw that the soldiers had sustained, but he always said of them, “Poor men”. — DONALD