R h n hardy collection

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RH295 One of our two best B17s, 1664, “Liverpool” and she could run like a hare. She is in Woodford Loco with an interesting collection of men. L-R: Ern Allard, Shed Driver and one of three who covered the 24 hours and set the shed and controlled all movements as directed by the Running Foreman; Driver Frank Brown in no 5 link, all spare work both passenger and more likely freight; Albert Harris (The Vicar, later the Bishop), our toolman who, on my arrival, was doing next to no work but when we set up the L P Parker tool arrangements, I promoted him to “Bishop” and we never looked back for he was brilliant in using my name to get things done and was also impervious to threats and bad language! Next is George Walters who lived in Culworth and bicycled through our village of Eydon on his way to and fro. He was an excellent shed labourer who kept the shed front in spotless condition. I asked him to call home on his way to Culworth for something and he introduced himself to my wife as “Walters G”. How times have changed; Frank Furness was an outstanding Foreman’s Assistant who had gradually secured promotion from the Labouring grades. When Cyril Jordan retired some years later, he was promoted Running Foreman ahead of some driver applicants and was said to be quite outstanding; Cyril Jordan (R), a very capable foreman and quid pro quo man with whom I had a complete understanding; both his son and his grandson did very well in management grades on BR.
RH296 Jack Stowe was a very sound and capable fitter in my time at Woodford and when the GC closed he went to Bletchley where he finished his service. The present MD of Chiltern Railways, Adrian Shooter, was AME Bletchley in 1975 and I visited him to note his progress when I was responsible for the career development of all professional engineers on BR/BREL and from 1978, involved in every appointment to be filled by professional or potential professional engineers. RH on right, Jack Stowe having taken the photo.
RH297 Bill Jeynes, Leading Boilermaker and Joe Goode, Leading Fitter, Woodford. They both did their best against the endless problems of terrible water which caused the WDs to leak like sieves; LNER engines were not so bad especially the GCR breeds. Here is an Annesley 04 3742 off a “Runner” and waiting to go out on a return working to Annesley. The Annesley-Woodford-Annesley service was an amazing business, the brainchild of the likes of Reg Munns at Liverpool St HQ, and it worked like clockwork, the fastest loose coupled freight service in this country and no doubt in the world. Class 01 was the normal power but the 04s deputised and did a magnificent job, the simplest, most rugged and reliable heavy freight locomotive ever created in this country.
RH298 See RH295.
RH299 The last week of the GCR, my favourite railway, but this was 1966 and after 1958, the writing was on the wall when the LMR took over. H C Johnson had been General Manager of the LMR and had set up the closure which was carried out by his successor, W G Thorpe, and it was inevitable. The last week, the power was Stanier Black ‘uns and this one 5289 was all to pieces down with the 1350 Nottingham via Princes Risborough and the Aylesbury branch. I had hold throughout and both drove and fired on the return journey with Gentleman George Cave. Here is Driver Hector Boot and myself at Marylebone. It looks like a GW headlight but anything would do on the LMR I’m sorry to say.
RH300 See RH294.
RH301 Marylebone in 1965 with Driver Jack Cammock, a fireman whose name escapes me and Inspector Ron Alder. Jack was a splendid man and he adorned his profession in every way both as an engineman and in his relations with his fellows and with management. He is exactly as he looks, a 100%er. Ron became a dear friend, one of the best. In my time at Woodford, he was Branch Chairman ASLEF and a fireman in No 1 to Mac Rhodes and then Walter Pratt. He became a driver and then, in 1958, an Inspector at Rugby and never looked back finishing as Train Crew Manager at Kings Cross under the Divisional Manager.
RH302 These three had once been a splendid LDC and it was my honour to work with George Wootton (C) and Charlie Saunders, both of whom had retired when the photograph was taken with Ron Alder, by now working at GN House on the staff side under Reg Clay, Div Staff Officer. George, Charlie and I trusted one another completely and I treasure our understanding and memories for, from our different points of view, we were for Woodford and everything it stood for. I was just under 26 years of age when I was appointed Shedmaster and between us we achieved a great deal in those eight all too brief months before I went off to Ipswich. Charlie had been a Leicester fireman on the GC Atlantics and the B17s before the war.
RH303 See RH310 but with RH, the engine is a BR standard, 73159 - quite a good machine. Personally, I preferred the BR Class to the Stanier 5, lighter on water and coal.
RH304 Mac Rhodes and Jack Pratt of Woodford. Jack was Walter’s son in No 1 link and Mac had two sons: Ralph who was the Caprotti fitter at Woodford when the B3 6164 was allocated in 1939; and Frank who became a Loco Inspector at Norwich along with Eric Wilkinson, his junior by four years, who also went to Norwich – those GC men went everywhere. I had left Woodford but heard that 4438 Pom Pom class J11 was working the 1245 Brackley-Marylebone and the 1700 return. 4438 was a wreck in my time and unfit for service. I arranged for the shed drivers to book her all day and every day so that her mileage clocked steadily up at seven mph, the agreed figure for a shunting engine. Of course she never moved but her mileage did and she eventually was towed to Gorton Works for a General and emerged in perfect order. A fiddle or good management? A bit of both but to set her up for any sort of service would have stopped us going through our fleet of V2s.
RH305 Ron Alder and Hector Boot at Marylebone last week of the GC London Extension.
RH306 Outside my office door, always firmly bolted against entry so that potential visitors came in via the Clerk’s office. L-R: Harry Hyam who helped the Clerk with various routine matters; he was rated as an office man whatever that may have been. Ted Webster was the clerk, a very likeable man who had to leave due to some shady work which was never quite unravelled. There were no proceedings, and he left quietly and vanished from the scene. He was an excellent clerk with a remarkable filing system which was simplicity itself but which seemed to produce letters without difficulty. Ted used a spike for each month and therefore had an array of twelve spikes across his desk. He also had a very good memory. Jim Clark was the chargehand cleaner. A non–job as we did not have a cleaner on the premises for nobody would join the railway deep in the country when they could find far better paid jobs in Northampton, Banbury and Daventry indeed it is remarkable how we covered the job as well as we did. Jim would never have been able to control a crowd of cleaner boys and, years later, he was appointed list clerk by some optimist. The corner of the Running Foreman’s office in which he carried out his controversial duties became known as “Puzzle Corner”. A conscientious man who carried the weight of the world on his shoulders whatever he was doing!
RH307 Ron Alder and Hector Boot and Marylebone. The last week of the GC at Marylebone Eng 5289 Black 5 and a poor tool at that!
RH308 Woodford Station waiting for the last one up, a few days before closure in 1966. RH (C) and the Secretary of the LDC, Driver George Wootton, and the Chairman, Driver Charlie Sanders, both of whom had retired. What a wonderful pair. Good fighters for what was right and as straight as a table top, therefore we worked in perfect accord. See RH302 for further details.
RH313-RH321 are taken aboard TSS Invicta, a beautiful sea boat and manned by some good men, one of whom, Stanley Gardiner, Cabin Steward, looked after us in one of his state cabins. A dear man who had been Captain’s “Tiger” on the Canterbury at Dunkirk and throughout the war. The Canterbury, built in 1929, was one of the most beautiful vessels of her generation.
RH313 Stanley Gardiner and RH.
RH314 Stanley Gardiner, RH, “Bowser” McQueen (who had the best state cabins on upper deck) and Les Taylor, dining room steward, who also served behind the bar. Always smart, civil and obliging and great fun. Stanley used to say “My time is your time”, what a marvellous job and they did very well too. We were always first off the boat as Stanley had a way round the back which put us at the head of the queue. 1969.
RH316 RH and Stanley Gardiner, summer, 1968. Forty-five minutes before, I had come off a 231G or K, straight up the gangway to the cabin where Stanley had arranged newspaper on the floor and after a comprehensive wash, tea and sandwiches and then a photo but not when there was what Stanley called “a bit of a chop on”.
RH317 RH and Stanley Gardiner.
RH318 Stanley and Danny Whelan, then Divisional Operating Supt at Liverpool. One of the finest railwaymen with whom I have worked and who tragically died early in 1980 having achieved his ambition to become Divisional Manager, Preston. The Frenchmen loved “Danny Whelan si devoué” for they knew a real railwayman when they saw one. Summer, 1968.
RH318/9 Stanley with Frank Mayes (L) and Sir James Colyer-Ferguson Bt who had first introduced me to France in 1958 with the Fleche d’Or. Henri Dutertre, Henri Meyns and 231E16 Calais-Paris. Here we are en route to France and Frank is making his first journey which I arranged for him. He went on the Flech and we went on train 34 E4, Mec Albert Anicote. Frank came from Barnsley to Kings Cross and then transferred to Stratford as a driver and finally Inspector. Both men became very close friends.
RH320 With Stanley is none other than the great David William Harvey of Norwich, the most remarkable of practical steam locomotive engineers of modern times. How he loved to come to France and to receive the Calais boys on their visits to England.
RH321 Once again Stanley Gardiner, “Bowser” McQueen and Les Taylor at Dover marine before departure and with John Shone, an OM, a Liverpool miller of distinction (Wilson, King) and whose humour and personality and his “Franglais” was loved by the French railwaymen. He and his wife, Ibbs, entertained the 1969 and 1971 Calais groups at their home in Heswell Hills.
RH322 The “Passenger’s Friend” Leslie Ames, Leading Railman at Hooton once GW and LNWR Jt and by 1973 when this was taken a pale shade of its former glory. But Les was a legend for his ability, knowledge, kindness, helpfulness and constant good humour, a wonderful advertisement for the railway. He was always on afternoons so I saw him most evenings. When I left Liverpool, he gave us a kitchen clock which is still going strong. We hear from him every year and he must, like me, be nudging 80.
RH323 Chief Ticket Inspector George Gent was another wonderful railwayman and here he is in 1974 shortly before his retirement when he came across to Marylebone and we had lunch together at a quiet back-street pub to go over old times at Kings Cross. His title was ‘Divisional Chief Ticket Inspector’ for which he was paid a relative pittance but we got him well and truly regraded about 1967 when I was Div Manager, Kings Cross. To watch him on Christmas Eve on Kings Cross, marshalling his forces was a revelation in both quick turn-round of trains and thorough ticket inspection along with his constant civility and advice to the milling crowds most of whom were “lost, stolen or strayed” and then sent clearly and sensibly in the right direction. A true gentleman and railwayman as was Leslie Ames.
RH324 The London Midland Region Divisional Managers at Sedgeford Hall near Stoke for our six-monthly meeting summer 1972. L-R: John Downes, Preston; Ken Davies, Manchester; James Rusbridge, London; Frank Young, Stoke; Bob Gardiner, Nottingham and John Pollard, Birmingham.
RH325 1963-64, Lincoln. Bill Boothright was the Traffic Manger’s chauffeur alongside our bench front seated Ford Consul which were allocated to each Traffic manager in the then Eastern Region and subsequently to each Divisional Manager. Bill had come up the traditional way, Vanboy, Carter, Lorry Driver and Chauffeur of which he was the only one in the District. Such a position held both responsibility and complete discretion and my chauffeurs, Bill at Lincoln, Miss Letitia Rolfe (Sheila Van Damm) at Kings Cross and Albert Bennett at Liverpool were at the top of the class. Bill was always our chef on the inspection coach and gave him his one and only journey on a steam locomotive, 1406 class B1. My quiet instruction to the driver to let rip along the straight of the East Lincs was obeyed to the extent that Bill was hanging on, his teeth chattering and he said “ If that’s what it’s like, those men are heroes. Give me the road any day”. Despite that he enjoyed the experience and he had had a much rougher trip back from Dunkirk in 1940.
RH326 London Divisional Managers, 1965, at their six monthly meetings. L-R, Front: George Weeden, Croydon; Geoffrey Huskisson, Cannon St; Alan Suddaby, Liverpool St; Frank Taylor, Wimbledon. Back: Leslie Leppington, Euston and Mike Johns, St Pancras. Mike died very young and the two Divisions were merged to become London under Leppington. Kings Cross (RH) took the photo.
RH327 Leslie Ames at Hooton with our youngest son, Peter, then about 14, in 1973.
RH329 My Secretary at Kings Cross, Rhoda Powell. She was a marvellous secretary of the relatively old school of railway secretaries who understood the railway and who had worked for a number of officers in different places. Rhoda had been in the Goods Dept and when Geoffrey Huskisson, DGM at Gordon Hill became the first Traffic Manger at Kings Cross, Rhoda came with him. She kept me straight on many things in our four year association and was very quick and accurate with her shorthand. We kept in touch until she died in 1998, and she and Gwenda were great buddies. The snap of Gwenda on our honeymoon in 1949 on my desk was always there and Rhoda’s photo was taken long before I ran to flash about 1975/6.
RH330/1 are both on the Severn Valley Railway about 1975. The Hall class engine is 6960 Raveningham Hall, one of the last to be built, I believe, and L-R is RH, Jack Beaman, SVR Loco Inspector and BR Driver at Saltley, and Ken Payne, closely associated with the SVR and Alun Rees, then Locomotive Engineer of the railway and living with Gill and the children at Arley station where both the Rees children grew up. I have had many very happy times with Alun and the other SYR men over the years and “up the North Pole”.
RH331 6960 at Hampton Lode this time with Alun Rees, now General Manager of the SVR, Jack Beaman and Ken Payne.
RH332 Not a complete photograph of Eric Copping’s engine but good of Eric and an unknown young man. Eric was a Colchester passed cleaner working at Clacton and with whom I travelled on a Britannia to Colchester. He did very well and became a fireman and second man on diesels but left BR to the 70s and migrated to the RH&DR where he had a reputation for hard running, a species of Sammy Gingell. Tragically, he died in the early 80s, far too young. Always with a smile, he would do anything for anybody but he loved a little sprint which did not always commend him to Mr Operating Manager George Barlow.
RH333 Kings Cross Driver George Piggins who regularly worked the blue Deltic to Doncaster and back when it was on trial in 1960 heralding the arrival of our Deltics which revolutionised running on the East Coast.

M Philipe Leroy was riding on the engine, the Motive Power Supt of the SNCF Nord.

RH334 George White, one time Met&GC lorry driver at Amersham and who I know well when I was a boy for he collected my tuck-box and trunk at the beginning of each term. He was short of stature and drove a 1928 Thornycroft, and later a blue Fordson, and I shall never forget how easily he swung that heavy trunk on to his sloping shoulder and carried it down the lorry as though it were nothing. When Amersham Goods Yard was closed and parcels and PLA ceased to be carried, George became a Leading Railman at Chalfont, another Leslie Ames of Hooton, universally liked and respected by the commuters. When he retired well past 65, he helped in the bookstall on the up side at Chalfont during the morning rush hour and here he is about 1975/6. He retired to Thetford and died there in his eighties.
RH335 Here is Sarah Siddons, the CM&EE’s brake block test locomotive based on Acton and regularly driven by George Christie who is on the left. To me, it was an evocative occasion for I had travelled many times on the Met 1200HP Bo-Bos in, and just after, the war, and Sarah was little changed. No vacuum brake and that ferocious and live knife switch in the cab was boxed in although I doubt if anybody was electrocuted by it in its primeval days. I arranged for Paul Ross (R) and Inspector ? to travel to Liverpool on an 86. Neither had been 100mph before! Centre is Richard Batten of the RH&DR and next with the bushy beard is that very up and coming figure who I met for the first time, Roger Paddison who retired early as Depot Engineer at West Ruislip and is now involved to my endless gratitude with Steam on the Met.
RH336 The group shows us (Colin Morris, Divisional Running and Maintenance Engineer, Kings Cross; John Betjeman; Edwin Howell, Divisional Movements Manager; the great WO Bentley and RH) at Wansford which was then in my Kings Cross Division. The photo was taken by Reggie Hanks, ex GWR pupil, trained at Swindon under C B Collett. WO was a Doncaster Premium Apprentice and Pupil of H A Ivatt on the GNR, and John Betjeman was knighted 2 years later. Three distinguished men who loved railways and enjoyed each other’s company on what was an “Inspection”. From Wansford to New England, we propelled our old GN saloon (lovingly restored and now on the Bluebell Ry), and our three guests occupied the armchairs at the front of the coach whilst we watched where we were going over their heads. I treasure the memory.
RH337 The Castle class 7029 had just arrived at Peterboro’ for a month’s work in the hands of New England men who did very well and enjoyed themselves. John Betjeman looks down in the classic pose of the old GWR drivers and behind him stand Reggie Hanks and, beyond, Horace Botterill, Foreman Fitter of vast GN and LNE experience. He and his staff worked hard on 7029 which pleased Pat Whitehouse, the owner and, in conversation with W O Bentley with whom he had much in common, they agreed that they had seen worse jobs than a Swindon engine but 7029 could not really stand comparison with the products of Doncaster. Reggie Hanks preserved a masterly and amused silence.
RH338 John Betjeman and Divl Signals Inspector Harry Beeby examine the gates at Elton.
RH339 John Betjeman outside Wansford station – a typical pose.
RH340 Taken by RH, this includes Reggie Hanks, vice Chairman of the BMC and Geoffrey Wilson, Divisional Commercial Manager at Kings Cross at Wansford. The quiet and reticent WO was a very close friend and we had much in common. He designed the Bentley Rotary engine fitted to the Sopwith Camel in the ’14-18 War, a wonderful engine with ensure the Camel’s fame. Until he joined up (he was a Lieutenant RN throughout the War), he and his brother had the concession for the French DFP car and quietly (as was his way) fitted its hill climbing and racing version with aluminium pistons and devastating results. After the War, he set up Bentley Motors and the rest is history. “What a man” said John Betjeman.
RH341 The Rev Michael Hill, Rector of St Leonards, Chesham Bois and now Bishop of Bristol with John Corfield, Divl Traction Inspector, Liverpool in 1948. We are probably at Runcorn on the up journey with Driver Dick Mingham.
RH342 An American friend, Aubrey Taylor, whose ambition it was to travel to Liverpool on an 86 achieved it in 1975. Here he is with Driver W T Rowe and that Scouse Fen-Tiger Peter Brewin.
RH343 Michael Hill and John Corfield once more this time on the down journey with Driver “H” O’Donnell.
RH344 On the up journey we had Dick Mingham, a delightful man who came from Newton Heath, Manchester but had been at Edge Hill for many years. What better guides could Michael Hill have than Dick and John Corfield who had done their lions share of firing on the Lizzies and Duchesses on the heaviest jobs. John moved to Mollington St, Birkenhead as a driver along with Harold Hale (HJ) and Johnny Kaye (JJ). Scousers were often known simply by their initials.
RH345 See 343.
RH346 Aubrey Taylor and Inspector Ernest Hillyard, once of Rugby and great friend of Ron Alder from Woodford GC. He was an excellent Inspector and we were well blessed with such as Donald Norman who ought to have become Chief Inspector when that position was created in 1969. The driver is Billy Ellis, yet another delightful Scouse character. I was the driver from Runcorn to Watford – it still amazes me that, as Divisional Manager, that so many drivers offered me that privilege.
RH347 Euston about 1987. In the centre is Jack Cherry, a much-loved GP in Abingdon who was going to Liverpool for the first time and also to watch Liverpool play at Anfield – a rugger man through and through! For a short time, the London jobs were manned because of the mileage limitation by two drivers out of the top link, and here are Arthur Owen and Tommy Perkins, both Scouse comedians to entertain Jack and to educate him in railwaywork for both were able men. On arrival and after introductions, Jack climbed into the cab to be greeted with “Now you’re here, Dochter Sherr-ie, wah about a free consultation?” What a happy journey it was too and the return journey was the day of the Bushey disaster when Jack saw railwaywork in the raw.
RH348 Bert Hooker in his last week’s at work on BR. He finished his career a very happy man at Slade Green depot where there was great camaraderie compared with Waterloo and, dare I say it, Nine Elms, something the SECR and its legacy had in full measure at any rate in the London Area. The engine is the Depot shunter, especially “nobbed-up” and named locally and by no means officially after “Ivor the Engine”.
RH349/50 Taken at Bournemouth West. The serious gent on the left is Major Harry Mosse who, with Bert Hooker, became dear friends. Harry loved nothing more than a day with steam and it was he who thrust his way into my office at Liverpool St in 1959 and asked very directly whether he could have a journey to Norwich on 7MT. We changed his regiment from the Gunners to the REs and gave him the necessary and he never looked back. Bert Hooker had vast knowledge and to listen to him was an education. The fireman’s name has gone from my memory but never the other two. I gave the address from the pulpit in Mendham Parish Church at Harry’s funeral and at Bert’s in Eltham Crematorium. Bert began at New Cross Gate in 1934 aged 18 and transferred to Nine Elms as a fireman in 1940. After that he never looked back and, when he retired, he had done it all.
RH351 Reginald Jennings (‘RAUJ’ or ‘Jumbo’ to Marlborough College boys) was a famous Housemaster in his prime both before, during and after the last war. He had always wanted a main line trip on steam but for years he could not find the time when I could have arranged it. But in 1966, the deed was done and we took him from Basingstoke to Bournemouth Central on a Merchant Navy and then back to Southampton on 73037, a Western Region engine and not a bad old boat either. We had prevailed on Reginald to have a little drive which he did up the bank from the New Milton start and onwards to Brockenhurst where the photo was taken.
RH352 Spl 7 my foot! Here is 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair at Parkeston Quay in 1949 when she was on trial. The Railway Executive intended to transfer what they considered to be under-used light Pacifics from West Country to the GE section based at Stratford and Norwich. Our Chief L P Parker was a party to plans for an entirely new high speed timetable using what he hoped would be the class 7 BR standard then on the drawing board. In no circumstances would he have any Bulleids at Stratford on a permanent basis although the engine distinguished itself on trial with a picked crew and Chief Inspector Len Theobald in attendance. This was the penultimate day of the trials and we took a very heavy train to Parkeston with great ease in about 85 minutes. L-R: HQ Inspector, Tom Sands, ex M&GN who retired as Chief Inspector, Norwich; Dr Bill Burritt of Stratford and his regular mate who later moved to Gorton; Len Theobald, an outstanding Chief Inspector for whom LPP had great respect. We emptied the tender by Stratford to load it with good stuff for the high speed trial to Norwich next day. On the return near Swainsthorpe the steam pipe to the steam reverser split and we made the entire journey in full forward gear and unable to reverse.
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