R.S.N.T. Decision No.5, declining claims for improvements in wages and conditions of service.

Passage of Military Training Act.

A.A.D. authorised maintenance of membership, free of contributions of members called to the colours.

Base rates of Cleaners age 20 and 21 years to increased by 3 shillings per week (July).

Following rejection by the companies of a programme of 
improvements submitted by A.S.L.E.& F., strike notices handed in, to expire 26th August. Notices subsequently withdrawn owing to the international situation and negotiations resumed (Sept 3).
Decision no.6 awarding certain improvements in Enginemen’s rates of pay


On the 1st January 1939 the Dyke Railway finally closed, and on the last trip before closure 

the destination board read ‘JOURNEY’S END’ rather than ‘DYKE’.  


Brighton Driver receiving the staff from the Devil Dyke’s Signalman (centre) along with the 

train’s Guard

One morning when the first train was retuning to Brighton it met a large horse on the line. 
Whistling and the blowing of the cylinder drain cocks made no impression on the beast. The 
fireman was sent forward to remove the animal but as he advance shouting and waving his 
arms, the horse looked coolly at him. Then began it began to walk purposefully towards the 
advancing fireman, who, not being a country lad, was overwhelmed by the size of the beast. 
After a final yell, it was the fireman who bolted - for the engine! The horse turned round and 
walked down the line, followed at a respectful distance by the train.

On many occassions the drivers of the Dyke trains had to put out, on the way back, the 
lineside fires their locomotives had started on the way up. During at least one winter a train 
was unable to reach the terminus owing to a snow drift which had to be shovelled through.
Driver A. Geere, of Brighton, remembers working the last train from the Dyke one night when the Train Staff was accidently left on the platform at the terminus. Its abscence was not not realised until the train had all but reached Dyke Junction and there was nothing for it but to go back to the summit to collect the Staff.

Brighton driver Fred Gambling, recalls that the Billington E4 0-6-2 tanks were the 
locomotive best suited to the line. Fred also recalls that double-heading was used on some 
heavy loaded services but an E4 with four bogies was the norm during a busy period. 
Fred remembers taking a ballast train up to the Dyke with a class C2 0-6-0. In addition to the brake van at the rear of the train, another was included half way just in case the locomotive stalled and splitting the load became necessary. On this occasion, however, the summit was reached. 

He also remembers that after dark, golfers wishing to join the last train from the Dyke would 
strike matches to signal to the driver to stop the train at the unlit Golf Club Halt!

Unknown Brighton Enginemen holding the Devil's Dyke staff

Brighton Driver John / Jack Smith and Fireman Arthur Sinden worked the last train on the final day of the Dyke Railway.

Extracted and adapted from a book 

about the Dyke Railway


MARCH 1939



Horsham branch held their fourth birthday Tea and Social on February 9, which was attended by Mrs. Shepherd, our E.C. member, delegates and visitors from several branches of our organisatation, also from the local branches of the N.U.R. Women's Guild, Co-op. Guild and Labour Party. The men's branch was reprented by their chairman, and several from their branch helped with the Social. Thanks are due to the committee for the excellent programme; also to our member who made the birthday cake - appropriately decorated with a model engine.


It is such men as Mr. Christmas who have helped to the railway service efficient. This tribute was said to Mr. C.W. Christmas at the Newhaven Labour Club on Sunday, when a presentation was made on his retirement after having served for 49 years on the railway at Newhaven. mr. Christmas was presented with a Westminster chiming clock, and his wife received a dressing clock.

Mr. J.J. Browning presided, and there was a large gathering of friends.

The Chairman expressed regret that Mr. W. Urie, of the Locomotive Department, Brighton, was on holiday and could not make the presentation. Mr. G.H. Hollands, the traffic assistant at Newhaven was also away, but they had privilege upon M.r F.W. Luff, who was in charge of all repairs to locomotives at Newhaven, to present gifts.

Mr. Luff said that Mr. Christmas commenced work in the running shed at Newhaven in 1888, and after three years as a cleaner he was fireman for seven years, as that with 39 years as driver. Mr. Christmas could say that he had a good innings.

The Chairman claimed that he had known Mr. Christmas longer than anyone in the room. Their acquaintanceship began in their school days and they worked together for nearly 47 years. They had worked and played together and he wished both Mr and Mrs Christmas many happy years in retirement.

Mr. W. Clark, who with Mr. Browning had been in charge of the subscription fund for gifts, said they had met with a splendid response from the railway comrades. He considered that if similar funds could be started when other retirements took place, it would be a happy idea.

Mr. A. Pearce, a motorman of Seaford remarked that he a grumble to make, for while Seaford friends had every good wish for Mr. Christmas, they had not been asked to contribute to the gifts. Colleagues at Seaford had asked him to extend their warmest wishes to Mr and Mrs Christmas

Railway accident on the 

Southern Railway 

Brighton Section

Havant 17th June 1939 






Back Row Standing

H 'Soapy' Watson (Ernie), Reg Taylor, A. Stubbs, ?, ?, H. Hemsley, Alf Reichart, A. Hazel 

(Harry), L. (Lincoln?) Godley, George Johnson, Jack Peirce, Les Bunker, ?, Fred Reakes.

Front Row Standing

Chas Taylor, ‘Buster’ Brown (Bill), ?, Harry Mitchell, Bill Aldrych, Spud Taylor, C. Wood 

(Silas), Harry Ware, ?, ?,  H. Durnell, (Jack?) Bell, ?, Verennes,  ?, ?,  Foreman Motorman, ? 

Cudge Taylor.                                                                                                                        

Back Row Sitting

Bert Bolingbroke, C. Crosswaite, Works Driver,  C. Peirce, Fred Wheeler, Les Parker, Stan 


Front Row Sitting

C. Evans (Charlie), K. Peirce, H. Wilson (Flash Harry (P.O.W.), Jim Hatcher, T. Ward 

(Tommy), H. Skinner (Harry), ?, ?T. Smith (Tommy), Bert Parker, McVerall (Canadian 


 50 in total, 37 named & 13 Unknown

Ted Janes recall four of footplate-men, 

who were his Drivers, Alf Reichart, Stan Jessop and Jim Hatcher.

Jim was my mate in the next to top gang and we used to have a duty with a Marsh tank where we went to Glynde to pick up milk then 13-20 Oxted and return with I think the 15-35. on arrival at the loco we had to dispose and prepare for London men who would leave the loco around 19-00 and it was usual practice to wait the arrival of this particular crew in case they needed showing out the yard. Jim and myself both liked visiting the Dog Stadium so on Dog nights we would take turns on who left for the Dogs and who did the work on the engine.
This arrangement lasted all the time I fired to Jim and we were never rumbled. Jim was a 
Gent and had three daughters, he used to remark how nice it was to escape his all  female 
environment to come to work.
I also noticed Harry Hazell in the picture who was at both Crystal Palace Low Level and 
West Worthing with me in  my early driving years. 




We have had during the month of May three of our members passed on to the retired list - Bros. E. Croucher (Scale 1); J. Blake and S. Hart (Scale 7). Bros. E. Croucher and J. Blake reached the age limit, but Bro. Hart has had to retire owing to ill-health and also failing eyesight. All these brothers had a splendid send-off on June 24, when our General Secretary (Bro. W.J.R. Squance) came down and presented these brothers with some handsome gifts from all Trade Unionist at St. Leonards and Ore. We had a large crowd at the concert and presentation, including members fro Ore and Eastbourne.

Bro. Squance, in making the presentations, quoted that these members had served the railways with 48 years’ service and had been members of our organisation for 33 years and that Bro. Croucher was now on the superannuation benefit. Members of this branch, also of the N.U.R., associate themselves with the wishes expressed that these members who have now retired will enjoy both health and happiness.

As our meeting on the following day our General Secretaty stayed to attend same; he gave a report of what lay ahead of us and gave us good courage relating to the 12 days’ holiday with pay, which he said must come to us in the future. He also discussed the R.S.N.T. Decision No.5, and of the meeting the Unions had with the railway companies on June 30. He also enlightened us as to what had been done by the Society in keeping a watchful eye on the treatment of our young members who had to undergo military training.

In conclusion, may I thank the General Secretary for coming down here at our request. We all wish him health and happiness in his coming retirement.

D. Sargent

Branch Secretary

The Railway Service Badges were issued to all railway workers within the railway company they worked for. There was national railway companies.

The Southern Railway (S.R.), The London, Midland & Scotland (L.M.S.), The Great Western Railway (G.W.R.), The London & North Eastern Railway (L.N.E.R.), 

The privately owned railway companies

The Kent & East Sussex Railway (K.E.S.R.), The Shropshire & Montgomeryshire (S.M.R.), The Railway Clearing House (R.C.H). 

There was also London Transport version which had a griffin on the badge instead of the locomotive.


Evacuees arriving at Brighton in late 1939 

Sylvia Woolford Collection

Left ~ Right: Unknown, Newhaven Driver Sydney Turner & Unknown

The photo was taken at Newhaven's Continental Station Sydney Turner is seen talking to some young ladies before departure of the boat train from Newhaven to Victoria London. These girls had been evacuated to Switzerland in 1939 as toddlers so that they were safe during the War and now that the war was over, they had now returned home as young girls.

Extracted from 

'Our Newhaven' web sited

Sylvia Woolford Grand-daughter of Sydney Turne

Extracted and adapted from 

Newhaven Branch Meeting 

Sunday December 17th 1939

Correspondence was then read Secretary reading the replied he had received regarding the lighting of the Shed yard, cost of wiring in War time etc.

With regard to this latter item, correspondence was read in the form of report of District Council No.5, which intimated  that this item was receiving the attention of our E.C. to the foregoing a brief outline of our conditions of service in wartime were given as contained in Head Office circular. Discussion on this subject then took place and proposed by Bro. W. Clarke & seconded by Bro. E. Collington. That a letter be sent to Head Office to protest against the retention of men after 65 years of age where necessary, should this be necessary endeavours should be made by the Society that all men who suffer redundancy thereby should receive credit for, payment of terms for higher grade pay lost whether Driver, Fireman, or Cleaner. Carried.

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