Application for twelve days’ paid annual leave lodge with R.S.C.

Further war wage increases secured.


Extracted from Blood & Custard Website

London Bridge Friday 14th February 1944

Extracted and adapted from 

Newhaven Branch Special Meeting

Sunday February 20th 1944

The meeting was opened at 7.15 p.m. By Bro. Rookley, who with a short few remarks from the Chair called upon the speaker Bro. W.J. Cleaver to address the meeting. Bro. Cleaver in his remarks spoke of the activities of our Society during the years of the war. Calling to our minds, the propaganda used by the Government to increase the war effort, in so doing he called to mind the pledge of "Equality of Sacrifice" necessary for the conduct of the war, but by so doing reminded as of the unequally as forthcoming from the Government. 

Bro. Cleaver went on to explain how the Society endeavoured to safeguard our interests in these times of National Stress, and gave an outline if the proposed National Agreement, together with the proposals for a superannuation fund. Many and varied were the point touched on by Bro. Cleaver who made it plain to all present that as vast changes may take place in the Railway managements or some form of public ownership be evolved, together with other means of transport, it was more than ever necessary that we had parliamentary representation, and called upon member to pay the political fund to assist to this end.


Extracted from Blood & Custard Website

Redhill - Earlswood Wednesday 23rd February 1944
Streatham Hill Thursday 2nd March 1944
Eastbourne Tuesday 14th March 1944
Beckenham Saturday 25th March 1944

Munition Train at Seaford


MAY 1944


It is not often that we have to appear in print; indeed, our meetings are often few and far between, due largely to the war and the various war time activities in which everyone is involved in greater or lesser degree. An exception come on February 20th when a special meeting of the branch was attended and addressed by Organising Secretary, Bro. W.J. Cleaver. Those of our members, and those from Seaford Branch who attended at our invitation, received a fine tonic in the speech delivered by the speaker, who, only having an hour for same, had to be brief. Bro. Cleaver spoke on the situation to-day, and trend of events, and outlined our Society’s policy for the future, making special reference to our need for political representation in Parliament, and our need to support the Political Fund. We tender our grateful thanks to Bro. Cleaver for his visit and hope that next time he visits our branch still members will be present to hear his message

Branch Secretary


World War ll   Just before D-Day (6th June 1944) freight services were disrupted somewhat as Drove (Singleton) and Cocking Tunnels were used for storing ammunition wagons for the royal Navy and double steel doors were build across either ends of each tunnel with a 24hour armed guards at each.


Newhaven Harbour June 6th 1944


Extracted from Blood & Custard Website

Brighton Saturday 17th June 1944
West Croydon Saturday 17th June 1944
Victoria Sunday 18th June 1944
Forest Hill Thursday 22nd June 1944
West Croydon Friday 23rd June 1944
Windmill Bridge Junction Friday 23rd June 1944
Victoria Sunday 25th June 1944
Streatham Hill Friday 30th June 1944


Eastbourne Enginemen

Left ~ Right: Derek Carter, Pat Ray, Arthur Divall, unknown Collins 

Peter Dove c1944 


Two firemen Graham White & George Howes who were formerly of Bognor Locomotive Shed. 

 Extracted from the book Going of the rails

The “Midhurst Turn”

Enginemen working from Bognor looked forward to the “Midhurst Turn”, not least because the booking on time was 8:30 a.m. rather than the usual 3:30 a.m.! The duty was looked upon as a week’s holiday. It started each day by taking a light engine – frequently a “Vulcan”, one of the old L.B.S.C.R.’s 0-6-0 tender engines of class “C2x” – to Chichester, where it waited for 15 minutes.

During World War II Chichester had an extensive marshalling yard at which additional sidings had been installed for wartime traffic. Also there was a triangle for turning engines. The site is occupied now by the Westgate Leisure Centre. After a quick cup of tea the crew would back the engines on to the goods train for Midhurst which usually comprised box vans with supplies for the village shops, and wagons – some full, others empty for coal yards at Lavant and Singleton.

On obtaining the right of way from the yard the train set out, and the signalman in Fishbourne Crossing signal box would be ready, holding out the staff for the fireman to grab as they passed, whereupon the train had a clear path up the line. The climb out of Chichester to the first station of Lavant was on a gradient of 1 in 75 and on the journey care had to be taken, especially with heavy beet trains. In the days when goods trains did not have continuous brakes there were always fears that the wagons might overpower an engine on down grades. George Howes recalled how one driver misjudged his approach and smashed into the Fishbourne Crossing gates which had only been repaired the previous day. The driver had such a fright as thought he might hit a bus on the crossing he lost all his hair after the accident and it never grew back.

Graham White used to get Freddie Gun, the coalman at Bognor shed, to throw up some extra coal when he was refuelling the engine. As they proceeded past the troops he used to throw out large lumps of coal which the soldiers would retrieve for use in the stoves of their field kitchens. In return, they threw all sorts of items into empty wagons in the train, such as chocolate, tins of corned beef, tinned soup, dried eggs and Canadian cigarettes. Such goodies were in short supply to civilians subject to wartime rationing. At Lavant the spoils were retrieved from the wagons and shared out between enginemen and guard.

The American armed forces had a large mess tent on Singleton station and likewise gave the crew food such as cheese, butter and bacon which was in far from plentiful supply in the local shops. The platelayer would also present the crew with a rabbit when he had one. 

That goes some way to explain why work on the Midhurst the line was so popular: nobody wanted to miss their turn!

George Howes also found this turn of duty quite profitable for shooting game. In the locality of Singleton station pheasant were always to be found and the Landlord at the Terminus at Bognor would give him 30/- a brace which would boost his earnings quite considerably. The modus operandi was that if George bagged two pheasants with his pistol the driver would slow up. George would then jump off the engine and try to get back: if unable to do so he would clamber aboard the guard’s brake van. According to George, “I really wanted to get back on the engine as my mate would load the gun. One day I come away with 18 pheasant.”

This pastime wasn’t a preserve of the footplate crew as Graham White knew of a guard from Littlehampton who fired a shotgun from his brake van. Graham and the driver used to keep an eye on him, and if he found his target they wound on the brakes.

Once allied forces had invaded Europe the line was no longer used for storage of wagons of ammunition and once more trains went through to Midhurst. But the lines attraction for the footplate crews remained. At Christmas time holly and mistletoe would be collected from the line side for use at home and Christmas trees were readily available at Cocking.

On arrival at Midhurst at about noon, the train would pull up to the tunnel near the station. The Fireman would jump off the locomotive and go straight into the porter’s hut where a kettle was always on the boil. Billycans were filled and, as the engine chugged back into the goods yard, the fireman would climb aboard the engine. Driver and Fireman would have their meal before shunting the yard. If not much shunting indicated, the crew would stroll down the town, leaving the engine to simmer on its own.

On a normal rostered turn the train would make its way to Petworth. Out of Petworth was uphill and the crew would have an n unpleasant time when the engine was working hard with steam and smoke filling the cab. In winter, the crew wouldn’t risk putting their heads out of the cab as icicles might be hanging down from the roof of Midhurst Tunnel. Quite thick at the top, the icicles tapered down, and frequently almost touched the ground. 

While passing through Midhurst Tunnel, driver and fireman would their breath hoping that the engine would give them little trouble so that their ordeal would be over as soon as possible. It would help if the locomotive was being fired properly and emitting the minimum of smoke. Just after the war George Howes recalled that “smoke-jacks” were out and about, intent on keeping their eye on engines coming up the line, and ready to file a report if they thought that too much smoke was being emitted.

On to Selham where the normal routine would take place of trucks being delivered and coupled up. From here loads of chestnut fencing was sent out to Petworth with a passenger service still in operation strict timekeeping had to be observed on this part of the line.

Petworth was the end of the turn for the Bognor crew. They would go to the signal box situated on the bank to make a cup of tea, or on very hot days the local pub would be visited. First the yard had to be shunted, the train marshalled, and the locomotive ready for the relief crew. Coal was moved forward in the tender, and the engine oiled round for the Horsham men who worked the train from Pulborough to Petersfield. Then the Bognor crew travelled home “passenger,” first on the motor train to Pulborough and then by electric service to Bognor Regis. For railwaymen, a journey home by passenger train in this way was said to be “on the cushions.”

The Chichester to Midhurst turn ceased quite abruptly for Bognor men in 1951, when the engine of the Midhurst goods train met with disaster when a stretch of railway line between Singleton and Midhurst had been washed away. The decision was taken that it was uneconomic to restore the line and thereafter the Chichester to Midhurst goods service ceased.


Extracted from Blood & Custard Website

Victoria Saturday1st July 1944

Streatham Hill Saturday 1st July 1944, 
Involving the 2.37 p.m. Streatham Hill to Victoria (Empty Coaching Stock)
New Cross Gate 2nd July 1944
St Helier - Morden South Tuesday 4th July 1944 St. Helier to Morden South 8.41 a.m. Wallington to Holborn Viaduct
Victoria Wednesday 5th July 1944
New Cross Gate Friday 7th July 1944
Crystal Palace Tuesday 11th July 1944
Involving the 8.9 a.m. Epsom Downs to Victoria and the 8.31 a.m. Victoria to Coulsdon North
London Bridge Saturday 15th July 1944
Battersea Park Sunday 16th July 1944
Involving the 6.28 p.m. Tattenham Corner to Victoria
New Cross Gate Friday 21st July 1944
Wallington Thursday 27th July 1944
Involving the 5.18 Victoria to Epsom Downs
New Cross Gate Wednesday 2nd August 1944
Involving the 7.4 a.m. London Bridge to Ore and the 7.18 a.m. London Bridge to Epsom Downs
Crystal Palace Tuesday 8th August 1944
New Cross Gate - Brockley Wednesday 16th August 1944
Involving the 6.24 p.m. London Bridge to Coulsdon North
Herne Hill Wednesday 23rd August 1944 
Involving the 8.43 Holborn Viaduct to Wallington
Nr South Bermondsey Thursday 26th October 1944
Involving the 7.47 a.m. London Bridge to London Bridge and the 8.31 a.m. London Bridge to London Bridge 
Nr Brockley Wednesday 1st November 1944 
Involving the 4.58 p.m. Brighton to London Bridge and the 5.45 p.m. London Bridge to London Bridge. 
New Cross Gate Saturday 25th November 1944
Selhurst Friday 14th July 1944

London Bridge Sunday 6th August 1944
Beckenham Junction Saturday 11th November 1944

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