Rail­ways across the coun­try mark their role in the First World War – 100 years on.

Steam Railway (UK) - - CONTENTS -

On Novem­ber 11, sev­eral nar­row gauge rail­ways joined thou­sands of or­gan­i­sa­tions around the world to com­mem­o­rate the cen­te­nary of the Ar­mistice that brought the First World War to an end.

At the Ffes­tin­iog Rail­way, nearly 100 mem­bers of the pub­lic, along with rail­way staff and vol­un­teers, at­tended the ded­i­ca­tion of the memo­rial erected at Tan y Bwlch. A fam­ily mem­ber of one of those in­scribed upon it laid the first wreath.

Most British rail­way com­pa­nies erected memo­ri­als to em­ploy­ees who were killed dur­ing the war, with the ma­jor­ity be­ing cre­ated in 1922, when com­pa­nies were about to lose their in­de­pen­dence in the Group­ing. Ex­cep­tions were the FR and the Rhym­ney Rail­way. Since 2013, the Rail­way Her­itage Trust has worked to es­tab­lish the lo­ca­tion and con­di­tion of rail­way memo­ri­als, fund­ing re­pairs and re­place­ments where nec­es­sary. The trust pro­vided fund­ing for the FR memo­rial.

Searches through the FR’s ar­chives, car­ried out by John Alexan­der, a vol­un­teer since the 1950s and sec­re­tary of the FR & WHR Trust, es­tab­lished that 18 em­ploy­ees joined the colours, and that two of them were killed.

The memo­rial’s slate plaque was made at the Inigo Jones slate works, in Pen y Groes, near Caernar­fon, the alu­minium crest was made by Le­an­der Ar­chi­tec­tural of Dove­holes, Der­byshire, and the plinth was con­structed by the FR’s in­fra­struc­ture de­part­ment.

A spe­cial train con­vey­ing par­tic­i­pants from Porth­madog was hauled by Palmer­ston and David Lloyd Ge­orge. At Tan y Bwlch, the FR’s out-of-ser­vice Alco 2-6-2PT ‘Moun­taineer’ was dis­played with a Hud­son wagon and Bald­win trac­tor ‘Moel­wyn’, all hav­ing First World War cre­den­tials.

Fur­ther south, the Welsh­pool & Llan­fair Light Rail­way ran trains from ei­ther end of the line to meet at Cas­tle Caere­in­ion, where a brief ser­vice was held. The trains were met by a piper, and the Last Post and Reveille were sounded. Wear­ers of earned medals and fam­ily mem­bers of those recorded on the war memo­ri­als at Llan­fair Caere­in­ion, Cas­tle Caere­in­ion and Welsh­pool trav­elled for free while other mem­bers of the pub­lic paid £5.

In Stafford­shire, the Apedale Val­ley Light Rail­way steamed three lo­co­mo­tives with First World War cre­den­tials: its Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0WT No. 9, Kerr Stu­art ‘Jof­fre’ 0-6-0T Works No. 3014 and the War Of­fice Lo­co­mo­tive Trust’s ROD Hun­slet 4-6-0T No. 303; all car­ried smoke­box poppy wreaths.

In Bed­ford­shire, the Leighton Buz­zard Rail­way ros­tered its War De­part­ment Light Rail­ways Bald­win 4-6-0PT No. 778 for the day, at­tach­ing a poppy wreath to its smoke­box. A memo­rial to those killed and who had worked in the lo­cal sand in­dus­try has been erected at Stone­henge works, which was built by pris­on­ers of war.


the fr’s war memo­rial at tan y bwlch.

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