A moving tribute – in more ways than one

ALL 2545 Great Western Railway workers who died during the First World War were honoured on Friday, November 9 when a Roll of Honour stretching the full length of the nine carriages of one of GWR’s latest Intercity Express trains, including the driving cabs at each end, was revealed on platform 1 at Paddington station.

When it arrived at 10.30am, the train was welcomed by the Wessex Male Voice Choir before a short ceremony was witnessed by family members of the Fallen, whose names are accompanied by details of where they worked on ‘God’s Wonderful Railway’, their rank, regiment, where they fell and where they are either remembered or buried.

Details like these, with photographs of the men involved, can also be seen along the sides of the train. Rupert Charles Rowe, a former parcel porter at Wootton Bassett, became a Company Sergeant Major with The 5th Wiltshire Regiment and was killed in action in the vicinity of ‘Swindon Street’and ‘Swindon Trench’ in Mesopotamia at the age of 32. He is buried at Amara War Cemetery.

One hundred of them are also featured in more detail on the train, with pictures and background stories, and the train itself has been named after two of those who died – Flight Sub-Lieutenant Harold Day DSC, the only railwayman to become a flying ace during that war, and Lance-Corporal Allan Leonard Lewis VC, whose name had been omitted historically from the GWR Roll of Honour.

After the ceremony, the train entered passenger service as the 11.36 to Cheltenham Spa, and is now working on lines to and from South Wales, Bristol and the Cotswolds.

Among other GWR victims of the First World War to be recognised were:

Ernest Rudd, who worked at Southall and was killed on the very first day ofthe Battle of the Somme (relatives in Somerset).

Edgar Norton, who worked at the Swindon Railway Works and was killed at the end of the battle (great-niece from Swindon).

For the full article and to view more images, see the December edition of Modelling – available now!

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