R h n hardy collection

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RH118 The Heavy Hammer Gang: Carr Loco brake blockers and adjusters alongside an American 2-8-0 USAA 1720 which had passed through the plant before going overseas in Aug or Sep 1944. The photo was taken in the summer of 1944 at the back end of the shed with Jack Liversedge and Jim Archer. How men have changed in their style of dress in Jack Liversedge’s case. The old cheap cloth cap was everywhere and usually greasy and comfortable if it provided little protection from knocks and blows on the head. But nobody worried about that sort of thing: Life was dangerous in a running shed but not so bad as all that if you kept a sharp lookout for movements or engines easing up in the shed with you underneath. No tin hats nor orange vests nor washing facilities nor anywhere to put your overalls but nobody thought of washing except in a bucket of paraffin or biking home other than in overalls!
RH119 The South End station pilot at Doncaster Central in 1943 when I was an apprentice in the Crimpsall on my way home for lunch. The engine is a V2, 4781 and the group includes a boy messenger from the Good Dept, a Goods Guard, Driver George Rolfe, one of the very old school of GN drivers, his fireman and RH in typical going-home mode. We never changed nor washed except in paraffin and my dear landlady, Miss Marsh, had paper on the chair as there was never time to take the overalls off nor the clogs either.
RH120 1943 4781 again with Driver George Rolfe, the Goods Dept messenger, George’s Fireman and in the background my great friend Basil De Iongh, shortly to leave the LNER for flying duties with the RAF. He stayed on after the war and retired as a Group Captain, a career that eminently suited him. But his heart is in the railway to this day and there are Doncaster photographs dotted about his home and in the family album.
RH121 Summer 1944. A group of Running Shed Apprentices at the Carr Loco. The background is the fitting shop, our base which housed the only heating, a huge stove in the nearest corner of the building. Benches along both sides of the shop, tables for big and small end gangs, office in the far left hand corner for the chargehand and the two Mechanical Foreman, and in the far right corner the door to the machine shop in which the turners worked. One had been the senior apprentice, now a turner, George Oliver, one day to be a leading light in the AEU. All the apprentices were craft apprentices who had left school at 14 except for Jack Taylor, a premium apprentice like me. Back row: Jack Taylor, Geoff Pacey (one day to be Mechanical Foreman), Jack Sampey, almost out of his time. Middle: Bernard Parkin, Jimmy, Stan Allett, Pete Flannery, Bert Gilbody. Front: Tiddler, Dennis Hammond, Ted Hirst, Harry Harker. Most stayed with the railway and one or two went to the Plant as erectors. A rare commodity, a few flame scoops in the background.
RH122 The North End Pilot between the North signalbox and the turntable. Eng 3291, a flat valve Atlantic and a bad starter but a flyer when on the move. Driver Harry Frith (ex Doncaster GE) and Fireman Charlie Howlett ex GC from New Holland shed. Charlie’s grandson is a RCTS member on Humberside and Charlie was a 1919 man still waiting to be passed and not even in the top link when this was taken in 1943.
RH123 Hickleton Main Colliery after rerailing: April 1944. Up until then and right through the war, Foreman Charlie Walker was the only Mechanical Foreman at the Carr Loco which gives an idea of the responsibility on the shoulders of the working Chargehands and there were only three of them! But an Assistant Foreman had been appointed and this was his first week: he became our breakdown foreman and he was to become Motive Power officer of the GN Line by 1958 – he was one of the best. An Apprentice first at Wrexham GC, then Kings Cross and up the ladder, C G Palmer. L-R: Cyril Palmer, Charlie Walker, “Gentleman Jack” Jupp, Fitter, Syd Grindell, Pilot Guard, Fred Hague, Guard, Bernard Ogden and front Herbert Ealham, Ted Booth. Ernie Newby on the crane.
RH124 Engine 5438 “Worsley Taylor” a Sheffield D10 Director in the Lanky sidings at York station on the up side. We had worked the 1520 SO from Sheffield Vic via Rotherham GC, Mexboro’, Doncaster and Selby. Driver Joe Oglesby, Fireman Norman Foster of Darnall. Norman had been in the train and Joe and I had done the necessary, plenty of steam and a perfect trip. I remember pushing the fire over a few miles from York with the poker and threw it back up on to the coal just as we went under a bridge. It hit the bridge but I held on, just which was as well for it could have caused some damage to the train for we were going over 60 mph.
RH125 One Day, in 1942, ET gave me an engine pass for Doncaster-Manchester Central and return and I was expecting a “Sam Fay” class B2 but got a rough old K3 instead. The Sheffield driver did not exactly welcome an unknown young man on a Sunday morning on a detested K3 but his fireman Tom Shirley was talkative and anxious that I should do the firing up to Woodhead. This was cleared by the driver in a very dour manner but by the time we got to Manchester he was a new man and we had a grand day out as I returned with them on the 1725 Liverpool-Hull. It took me until Nov 2000 to find out his name at a funeral in Sheffield: It was Fred Southgate, one of the old school of GC drivers.
RH126 6063 was the Sheffield Carriage pilot which also did trips to Penistone and back. Class c13, a good GC engine, built in 1903 and very useful for local passenger work to Retford, Lincoln and Chesterfield. Driver Joe Oglesby and Fireman George Sanderson of Neepsend in 1942. George always wore a boiler suit as did quite a few drivers and firemen at Neasden and Woodford. They joined the artisan’s overall club which provided us with a clean pair of overalls every fortnight. I think it cost a shilling a fortnight! George’s younger brother Walter moved to Calcton as a driver in 1960 and landed with great pleasure on the Britannias. He lives to this day in Clacton and in 1999, I gave him enlarged copies of this negative for himself and George’s son. Tragically, George Sanderson died in his 40s. Joe had some splendid mates, Joe Antcliff, George Sanderson and then the younger men, Walter Bacon, Norman Foster and Cyril Golding up to 1945 when I made my last journey with him.
RH127 4452, a Sheffield engine and a good one, the first superheated piston valve GN Atlantic in the Lanky yard at York station up side. We had come from Sheffield Vic with the 1520, a flyer after Doncaster and it nipped along via Rotherham and Mexborough too. Fireman Cyril Golding with his regular mate and my great friend, Joe Oglesby.
RH128 Summer, 1944. The engine of the 1835 slow Doncaster-Sheffield in No 2 bay platform at Doncaster. The engine is a GC 4 cylinder B7, a good engine if handled properly and if not a coal scoffer: I found them lovely engines for Joe Oglesby and Ernest Millington were first class enginemen. This turn was a doddle for such a powerful engine. Fireman George Dawson and Driver Ernest Millington of Darnell.
RH129 Joe and Mrs Oglesby in their home in Downham Road, Firth Park, Sheffield. The occasion was the visit of my mother who loved to meet my railway friends. Gladys, as always, smiling and kindly and Joe looking splendid in his best suit. Joe had a little 8 hp Ford which hardly consumed any petrol. He used it to get to work or home at awkward hours which was permissible for certain railwaymen. But not many of the older men had cars even if they could afford them as they tended to drive a car like a steam locomotive which didn’t always work nor did they care for the idea of steering.
RH130 Eng 6085, a GC Atlantic worked the 0832 Doncaster-Sheffield on Easter Saturday 1944 and we were stopped between Broughton Lane and Woodburn Jc on a gradient of 1 in 58. The Sheffield driver was Arthur King (L), the son of a Locomotive Inspector in early LNER days and he had gone in the train so that the Doncaster driver (R), Arthur Kirk could refresh his knowledge of the road. All went well until an attempt was made to start from the signal check. 6085 was a piston valve engine and there was no need to open the cylinder cocks or reverse all the way down the rack to full back gear. But our Doncaster driver, the nicest of men, knew only one way which took us backwards until the Sheffield driver jumped out of the front compartment, climbed up, assumed control and got us away up to Woodburn. The photo is taken in Sheffield Victoria on arrival.
RH131 5438 at York in the Lanky Loco on the up side south of the station. We had turned and were ready for our food after working from Sheffield and returning with the 1810 SO flyer to Sheffield via Doncaster, Mexboro’ and Rotherham. I was the fireman that day (L) and by the look of my face, I had been busy but a little dirt didn’t signify with a young man of 19-20. With me is the Sheffield fireman, Norman Foster who had the day off on the cushions.
RH132 This belongs to a later era – probably about 1955-56 when Ralph Hepworth (R) was firing at Mexborough to Driver Alf Mace (L). Like many Mexboro’ men, Alf enjoyed exercising his skill as a fireman so that Ralph had a deal of driving when he was in the passenger link. Mexboro’ had only one passenger link with about a dozen sets of men. In my time at Doncaster, 1941-45, their usual express engines were the GC B5 “Fish” engines used on the Hull jobs, very handy and free running engines. Doncaster-Sheffield-Penistone-Mexboro was all very heavy and Doncaster-Hull, level by comparison. 1167 was one of the Mexboro’ B1s which had replaced the Fish engines and that day, instead of going to Hull which had been terminated at Goole, coming back tender first to Doncaster where we turned (See also RH178).

RH133 Hull, early 1945, just before seniority took George Scott out of the passenger link into a species of “Old Man’s Gang”. The last time I saw him he was shunting at Conisborough with 5184, class B5. I met him in 1942 when he had Tom Brown as his fireman and Tom was driving 6034, a “Pom-Pom Bogie”class D9 while George was chatting up all and sundry on Doncaster station, mostly the birds! Given a good mate, George rarely if ever did the driving and, as they were both in middle age, Tom was virtually in charge. But George Scott knew the job from A-Z and I went many miles with him. On this occasion he had 5432 class D10 a Sheffield engine instead of the usual Mexboro’ D10(5429/31) or the D9 5107/8 or 6034. She had TAB valves and, on coasting, the screw was wound into full gear and then mid gear which gave completely free running, the valve heads stationary while the spindles moved in the sleeve. When the regulator was opened the valve heads went up to their proper position on the spindles. We are in Botanic Gardens shed ready to work back to Mexboro where George and his mate Jim Terry would be relieved.
RH134 Doncaster Plant Works March 1943. Left: “Stan”, a Polish aristocrat who joined the RAF where I heard that he had been killed. He was a most enjoyable character and revelled in the rough and tumble of Yorkshire industrial life which says a lot for him. Right: my mate Edgar Elvidge who was an Erector on Bill Umpleby’s pit in the Crimpsall. Edgar, or Joe as he was sometimes known, was a hard worker and saw to it that I did my whack. Profane entirely by habit and only at work, he called me all the names every day. We had eleven months together and I enjoyed his company. I should only have been with him five months but I asked if I could stay rather than go into 4 Bay on the Pacifics and V2s. It suited him and our foreman, George Andrews, an old LDEC man from Tuxford. I took a few pictures of him but normally there was no time for that sort of thing! We worked very hard and a small engine would come on our pit stripped down and six days later it was over at the Weigh Bridge having had a general repair. I was Joe’s barrow boy and never happier than when we had to go after rods or piston valves or to the boilermakers or coppersmiths or, better still, to the Carr Loco which was very bad news for Edgar as he regarded Shed Fitters as beyond the pale and also loss of piecework earnings. The last time I saw him was in 1963 when I was in Doncaster Works for the first time since 1945. He had had a serious accident at the Weigh House and was on a bench job at the far end of the Crimpsall where we had a lovely 20 minutes together. Of course, he wanted to know what I had been up to since I left him. As ever, he gave me a rollicking but when we parted there were tears in his eyes.
RH135 I took this photograph in Jan 1944 a day or so before leaving Doncaster Plant for ever and going down to the Carr Loco. The engine was not the first rebuilt Q4 but had been 5044 which became 9931. But it was handy for an official photo and only one side of the engine was painted grey and only one buffer. The Q4 was an excellent engine, the original “Tiny” and the predecessor of J G Robinson’s famous ROD, class 04: I have heard mixed reports of the Q1, not enough water for a trip engine, not handy for shunting, useful on a hump but several GC hump engines about already and such as J67/68 and N5 did a useful job with lighter loads and yards with two or three humps and the EE 350 HP shunter on the doorstep but a useful conversion especially in wartime. 5058 was the true 99225 of 1946. A gang had been set up to rebuild these engines in 4 Bay under Chargehand Hewitson.
RH136 A year’s grime since 4477 “Gay Crusader” had her last General in 1/43. I do not know why she had come in although at first glance she has knocked her front end out. The cylinder cover is whole, however, it may have been needed for another engine or the strippers had started work before the engine got to the stripping shed. I never worked in the stripping shed nor the tender bay nor the boilermakers but you could not do everything and my training was as a Fitter and Turner according to the certificates I received signed by Mr Edward Thompson in Oct 1944 when I was 21.
RH137 Harry Oldham; Fitter in the Machine Bay in the Crimpsall with whom I worked for three months on Walchaerts Valve Gear. Our job was to clean valve gear in the bosh and then to file and fit return cranks to crank axles, knock them on with a long wooden hammer and measure them for set against a gauge. If they needed adjustment, we had them heated and blacksmithed to our measurements. We had plenty of other things to keep us busy to the extent that Harry used to explode periodically and take it out of me. Apart from that we got on fine.
RH138 About one every three months if work permitted it. Edgar said I could go on a trial run if anybody was daft enough to take me. On the contrary, the trial crews always welcomed a visitor and here we are with the K3 159 which we had turned off our pit the day before yesterday. Everything coupled up and tested in steam: engine thoroughly examined: adjusted by Bill Umpleby’s gang (us) if necessary and very unpopular for we would lose piecework bonus while working at the Weigh House. Engine coaled for the next day and away we went to Barkston Jc where we turned on the triangle formed with the Nottingham-Boston line which passed underneath the main line. We took it gently on the up road and if everything was cool, faster on the way home. I remember we used to keep an army camp near Newark warm by pushing off great lumps of coal for the boys to nip over the fence and pick up. Here we have Fireman Roly Williamson, one day to be on the ER Sectional Council and a future Mayor of Doncaster. He died far too young some years ago. Driver Fred Elmes, quiet, calm and experienced. There were three trial drivers: Fred, Harry Capp and Arthur Laver, all volunteers and carefully vetted for knowledge. Two were on trials and the third did the Crimpsall shunting with 3980, the old Stirling J52. The guard appeared from one of the signal boxes on the triangle and we gave him a lift home to Claypole, bike and all!
RH139 My wonderful landlady, Miss Marsh, with her loveable little mongrel, Queenie, and Mr Barrett, Foreman of the Plant Stores. He was a widower and I think MM had hopes but it was not to be. He used to come on a Sunday afternoon and cut the grass. It was my good fortune that MM was top of the list when I was interviewed by the Mechanical Engineer, Doncaster, Mr Edward Thompson. He had 15 minutes’ chat with me, told me to start as soon as possible and that his chauffeur would take me to some digs. He rang for a Mr Digby who was the clerk who progressed all apprentices through the Plant and Carriage End, and he picked 43 St Marys Road. MM agreed to take me, and a week later my great adventure had begun. I was with MM from Jan 1941 – Aug 1945 and she mothered me, but she could be tough. I could come in all hours if I was in overalls but, if I went to the flicks and was not in by 2230, she wanted chapter and verse. How she fed us folk or coped with the work I do not know: she was marvellous. I always enjoyed going to the fish shop for her, a very convivial place run by the Websters, and in times of shortage I was asked to buy a spot of horse meat from the shop in Netherall Road. It tasted fine, and as for her Yorkshire puddings..! In short, she was a wonderful landlady of the old school who would stand no nonsense. Anybody coming home drunk was shown the door next morning or even the same night, quite fearlessly. She had five of us of various backgrounds, usually two railway youngsters. Bathing was rudimentary but I had some friends with hot water so I could have a bath from time to time. Happy days and how well my Mother got on with her when she came up two or three times a year. And all for 30 bob a week all found, raised with profuse apologies to 35/-, seven days a week, four meals a day.
RH140 Not every day do you come across Edward Thompson’s sister or his niece. Betty Stratford-Tuke was married to Athol, a wing commander, a regular. While he was away, she lived with her mother in the Old Rectory at the end of the Balby trackless route. I did not meet Betty until I went into the Drawing Office, where she was a tracer, along with three other ladies, one of whom was Buster Brown’s daughter (he was the Works Manager of the Carriage End). Her son, Robin, in the centre, joined the Royal Marines (I’m not absolutely sure of that) and came out with the rank of Major although I am not sure when. He became a prison governor in later years and I think he was at Wandsworth Jail. He must be past 70 now and I have completely lost touch. Edward Thompson’s sister was a lovely person and tough at times. I remember getting a hell of a rollocking for putting the handles of the table knives in the washing-up water. I never visited ET’s home but I do know it was kept scrupulously tidy despite his being a widower!
RH141 The Yankee 2-8-0 1888 had come into Doncaster Plant in spring 1943 for some fettling before going to work on the LNER at March. We were not employed on the work but Bill Umpleby and his gang wanted their photo taken against this engine. How different people looked in those days: we came to work on bikes, on foot or on the shiny seated “Trackless Trams”. Bill Umpleby, our Chargehand, led a happy crew although his honesty with the pencil when calculating piecework payments used to infuriate my mate, Edgar, who was after every penny that could be earned. L-R: Wally Sysman on smokeboxes; Bill Umpleby C’hand Erector; Phoebe Cliff, our labourer; Aubrey another apprentice; Edgar Elvidge, pistons, valves, rods and motion; and Harry Waring, pipe-work and fittings.
RH142 4406, a piston valve Atlantic class C1 was turned out of Doncaster Works just before Christmas 1943, a few days before I left the Plant for the Carr Loco. It is in steam and will go on its trial trip next day when Dick Jackson, Weigh House labourer, has coaled it. The PV engines had a round piston gland, most of them had dummy tailrod guides and most, but not all, had smokebox saddles. All slide valve engines had oval piston glands and the spindle glands tended to blow, in cold weather, up the boiler side when starting. No wonder with a 32 element superheater.
RG143 Our lady labourer, Phoebe Cliff, stands with some of Bill Umpleby’s men (he was our C’hand Erector) beside and old “W” class D2 4398 and shedded at Botanic Gardens, Hull. We had just turned her off our pit, tarred and feathered, as most of the painting was done while we were working on the engines in the Crimpsall 2 Bay. 4398 would have been on our pit for six maybe seven days, and away into traffic without a trial trip. The Carr Loco would run her in on some tiddlybunk job and off she would go to Hull. K2, K3 and C1 took a day or two longer and the little engines paid us best on piecework, J3/4, C12, J52 and suchlike. Not all the gang is present. L-R: Wally Sysman, son of a well known Doncaster driver; George Sparrow; “Pat”, who has just joined from outside industry; my mate, Edgar; Phoebe, who kept us in order with her sharpish tongue; and George Holmes. It was nearly 58 years ago and it seems like yesterday.
RH144 Edgar Elvidge (R) minus the cap that was part of his equipment, with two other gentlemen of the Crimpsall. Left is Frank Sutton, Storesman. To start the day, I called on Frank for the tallow candles which we screwed into nuts and were our only source of lighting underneath an engine, whereas at the Carr Loco, the fitters all had acetylene lamps which had their moments and, if sworn at, would answer with a jet of flame about a foot long. Mr Day (I always called him this) was a remarkable craftsman who patched cylinders. He was well-spoken and never used bad language and, whereas Edgar was staunch Labour, the old gentleman was as blue a Conservative as ever lived. He and Edgar were good friends and it was a joy to hear them arguing, with Mr Day lecturing from his poop deck the ever more vitriolic Edgar. “Now, Edgar, that language is quite unnecessary and won’t help your case”, which sent my mate off into another frenzy of torrid language. In heavy industry, men really could swear but I wonder what they would have made of the patronising and “so clever” bad language one hears on TV and in films today.
RH145 We had a couple of Royal Engineers “working” with us at the Weigh House towards the end of 1943. They were grand lads who came in their uniform and entertained us. Geordie is second from the left and Charlie Varley, a true Cockney (R). He was very much a private so don’t be fooled by his chalk-marked stripes. L-R: “Flan”, Geordie, .?. , Bill Umpleby under whom I had worked in 2 Bay, Chargehand Arthur Reesbeck, Charlie, Fred Gregson, “Banner” Senior whose nephew, Hedley Wilkinson, retired as the BRB Chief Management Accountant. Flan, Fred and Banner were regular Weigh House fitters.
RH146 Mallard, looking the worse for wear and in need of a General. Against the legendary engine, stand some of the Premium Apprentices. In fact, my mother was the last to pay the £50 for the “Duration”. Only three of us stayed with the LNER and BR; it was our life and nothing else would do. L-R: Peter Townend, later Shedmaster at Kings Cross Top Shed where he was the right man at the right time and is the acknowledged expert on Doncaster Pacifics and V2s; Bill Taylor specialised in electric traction and became a senior Electrical Engineer on the LM at Derby; Jack Taylor who was the son of the C&W Engineer and who left the Southern many years ago; Henry Steel who stayed with BR until 1949 and then served the railway in East Africa; Alan Coggan, the son of a GC driver from Keadby who, after transfer to Doncaster, found himself firing on the A1 4481 still with short travel valves and a rough driver who emptied the tender going to London and back. Alan has been all over since leaving the railway and now lives in Switzerland and Spain. On the gangway, David Sandiland, and myself on the right.
RH147 The engine is an N2 4722. Why we selected it, I would not know but to three of us, an engine was an engine. R-L: John Hyde, Denis Branton, Aubrey and myself. When I started at the Plant in Jan 1941, I was sent to learn a turret lathe in B Shop with Denis on days and John on afternoons. They were 15 and 17 but they seemed years older for they had been at work since 14. By coincidence, the three of us were also in Bill Umpleby’s gang in 2 Bay in 1943. I never met anybody less like an “Audrey” but I suppose it might have been his surname used as a mark of affection. All were craft apprentices serving seven years to become journeymen. Denis finished as one of the Chargehands in the New Erecting Shop and John retired as Production Manager at York Works for many a craft apprentice rose up from the ranks. As for me, I had grown from a skinny nipper at 17 to a fairly muscular boy. Back, arms, chest, stomach muscles and strong hands were developed by hard work and heavy lifting. Try me for a handshake!
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