1955 STRIKE 


The reason for the A.S.L.E.F National Strike of 1955 lay behind the wage increase by the 
Transport CommissionA.S.L.E.F. felt that this offer of between 9% for the lower Footplate 
Grades to only 1% for the higher had eroded differentials between Enginemen and Motormen and other Railway Grades. After protracted negotiations led to no agreement being reached the National Strike was called for from midnight on Saturday May 28th.
The Chairman of British Rail Southern Region Area Board stated that out of 1000 Motormen employed only 42 had reported for Duty. The N.U.R. did not support the Strike but very few Enginemen or Motormen were in that union.
At Brighton on Whit Monday only 12 Trains ran all day to and from London only a fraction of what would normally been the case on a Bank Holiday.
The Strike lasted for 17 days being called off after The Transport Commission agreed that there was a case for higher rewards adding 2 % for the higher grades of Enginemen and Motormen.
The Strike had been backed by almost 100% of A.S.L.E.F. Members. On June 29th the very few who had defied the call to strike were expelled from the union by the Executive Committee.   



Extracted and adapted from

Tunbridge Wells Branch Meeting

Sunday April 24th 1955, at 10.45 a.m.

at the Welfare Rooms, Central Station.

Bro C.R. Cornford presiding

Members present Bros. R. Cornford, V. Rumley, R. Sulivan, K. Savage, A. Brooker, 

R. Bridger, F. Bone, L. Evans,W. Wareham, K. Cavie G. Howis, W. Gent, W. Ovenden, 

A. Dodwell, F. Robinson, B. Gower, D. Nye & D. Ward

Strike Action

In view of the impending strike action called by the Executive Committee arrangements  were to be made to hold strike meetings in the Wheatsheaf Hall, Victoria road. Morning and evening meetings on Wednesday 27th April and if need be on Sunday morning and evening April 30th 1955.

Strike Committee

Proposed R. Sullivan seconded K. Cavie – 

Bros. Cornford, Russell, Robinson, Wareham, Brooker, Rumley & Savage. 


Picket Points 2 men at each point, main entrance, Bates Yard, Show ground Gates, and Top Gates.

Extracted and adapted from

Tunbridge Wells Branch Special Strike Meeting

Wednesday April 27th 1955, at 10.00 a.m.

at the Wheatsheaf Hall .

Bro C.R. Cornford presiding

Members present Bros. C. Kemp, F. Elmer, F. Robinson, R. Saunders, R. Wickens, 

M. Kibbey, D. Ward, C. Woods, R. Jeffery, K. Savage, D. Austin, G. Howis, R. Taylor, A. Dowell, J. Francis, W. Gent, F. Bone, A. Card, W. Wareham, C.R. Cornford 

& C. Russell.

Correspondence Ref No. 50/1955

Strike Decision notice from Executive Committee was read to the meeting

District Council No.4

Bro. R. Cornford gave a verbal a report on the Strike situation from District Council No.4 meeting which he attended as delegate on Sunday 25th 1955. He informed us that Organising Secretary W.J. Cleaver stated that the potential strike is legal and appealed to all to support the call. The reports of Branches all over the area showed favourable support of the strike on behalf of the footplatemen so much so that there had been promises from some N.U.R. footplate staff to come out with us.

Bro. F. Robinson gave his verbal sentiments on the strike situation saying that as an older member he had been through strikes before to uphold the tradition and bearing of the footplateman. He felt that we were falling below our standard in the wage level and we had got to make our stand now to pressure the esteem with which a footplateman had always been held for the benefit of the future of the younger fraternity.

It was suggested by Bro. F. Elmer and seconded by Bro. F. Robinson. 

“That as E. C. member P.G. Hocking was speaking at Tonbridge on Sunday  1st May. Secretary should write to Head Office inviting Bro. Hocking to speak at one meeting on Sunday morning." Carried.

On arriving home secretary immediately sent off to Head Office and received a copy next day requesting  that as Bro. Hocking was an E.C. member he would be in committee at National Level on the Wages Negotiations with the B.T.C. and our own local branch officers to make arrangements to carry the strike through successfully.

Proposed K. Savage and seconded R. Saunders. “That W. Gent be first on 3.0a.m. Tuesday May 2nd.” Carried

Extracted and adapted from

Tunbridge Wells Branch Special Strike Meeting

Wednesday April 27th 1955, at 7.00 p.m.

at the Wheatsheaf Hall .

Members present Bros. D. Nye, A. Hollands, S. Neal, H. Dyer, L. Coomber, A. Murphy, 

V. Vidler, D. Card, G. Chalkin, W. Baldwin, A. Brooker, R. Bridger, B.  Gower,

A. Dougherty, M. Flattman, W. Ovenden, R. Aspey, J. King, J. Mace & R. Cornford

Report was given on the Sunday meeting held at the Welfare Room, Central Station April 24/55 

Picket Messengers

L.Coomber, A. Murphy, D. Card, R. Bridger

Bro. A. Hollands kindly offered to use his motorcycle in the event of the strike taking place to perform the duties as messenger between depots. Bro. D. Nye kindly offered this services as cyclist messenger in the locality.

District Council Report

The Chairman gave a further report similar to the one he delivered at the morning meeting on the District Council No.4 meeting attending on Monday April 25th .

On the advice of an E.C. Member of the strike should take place members could present themselves at the pay table but immediately leave the premises.

The Chairman closed the meeting at 9.0 p.m.


After these Special Meetings were held, I received from Head Office 2 cheques valued at £240 used as strike pay at the rate of £2 per member and 4/- for each child up to school leaving age. These were dispatched from Head Office on April 29th 1955.

On Sunday 10.15 a.m. May 1st 1955, I received the following telegram:-









A meeting was called for 10.45 a.m. To deal with strike duties on Sunday 1st May but on the reciept of the telegram the meeting was called off pending usual Branch Meeting to be held Sunday 15th May or any previous emergency arising. Members were advised that they could hear E.C. Member Hocking speak at the Medway Hall Tonbridge 7.0 p.m. Sunday May 1st  May.

Extracted and adapted from

Newhaven Branch Meeting

Sunday April 29th 1955

With respect to the implementation of the Head office instruction to withdraw our labour on May 1st, attempts were made to arrange meetings in consequence. Two thing were decide, one, that we hold no meetings until our delegate had attended the District Council meeting on April 25th, and two that if possible any action taken would be jointly with our neighbouring Motorman’s Branch at Seaford. This was arranged, and a meeting held on Wednesday April 28th at 10.45 a.m. and 7.0 p.m. for the benefit of the two shifts of men. Our Branch Chairman was able to be present at both meetings. To share the work and the interest it was agreed to draw up a Strike Committee from both these meetings and four strike committee members were elected included one from Seaford and this together with our Chairman made a total of nine. As we had had such a good response from our appeal for member of the non-union fraternity, the morning meeting decided that picketing, either at Seaford or at Newhaven would not be necessary, but the evening meeting revised this decision and a further meeting was agreed for Sunday Evening to draw up and arrange a picket rotor. As events have turned as far, this Sunday meeting has not been required, but the organising of our action had been completed. A despatch rider had been made. The possible total of those who would have worked at Newhaven, were two N.U.R. men, one non unionist, and one boy cleaner, who would of course not have been available for firing. Amongst other things, had the strike to be place, arrangements were made for members to attend the Labour Club between 10 a.m. and 12 noon daily, also suggestions were already raised for social activities to interest the members.


Chairman E. King, 

C. Wilson, W. Mullett, W. Sharpe, R. Bush, J. Giles, D. Renville, R. Hooker 

& J. Hillman. 

Extracted and adapted from

Tunbridge Wells Branch Meeting

Sunday May 15th 1955, at 10.45 a.m.

at the Welfare Rooms, Central Station.

Bro A. Brooker presiding

Members present Bros. A. Brooker, C. Russell, V. Rumley, R. Bridger & K. Cavie.

The Vice Chairman Bro. A. Brooker opened the meeting by asking the Secretary to read the minutes of the previous ordinary branch meeting.

Proposed V. Rumley seconded K. Cavie they were a true record.

The Special Strike meetings minutes held on Wednesday 27th April 1955 were taken as read.

New Membership G. Reeves submitted an application for membership form and was accepted by the meeting. The Secretary informed the meeting that the membership was now 91. Bro. V. Rumley moved and R. Bridger seconded a vote of congratulations on the Secretary for the new he had obtained since taking over his duties.

Branch membership for February 1955 for the T.W.W. branch was entered at the District Council meeting was:-

OURS 86, N.U.R., 11, NONS 1, POLITICAL 85.

Extracted and adapted from

Newhaven Special Branch Meeting

 May 27th & 28th 1955

Joint meetings were held with the Seaford Branch at the Labour Club, Newhaven, to finalise arrangements for the strike.

It was agreed to have pickets on the Gate on Sunday morning 29th May 1955 at Newhaven Loco. and that no further pickets would be necessary. Members would then meet daily at Labour Club, between 10 a.m. and 12 noon except Whit Monday. 

Pickets were. 

Bros. J. Lower, W. Lipscombe, J. Giles & C. Wickenden.

Extracted and adapted from

Tunbridge Wells Branch 

Report of a Special Meeting

Held on Friday May 27th

at the Wheatsheaf Hall

A. Brooker presiding

The Chairman outlined the Circular letter, No. 55/1955 and the read the proposal of the B.T.C. And it was pointed out that at this depot the 6.6 a.m. would be the only turn to benefit namely 3d per day, and fireman 2 ½ per day.

Discussion on men working ballast trains on Saturday night, advised men to complete turn to nearest depot.

Bro. J. Wareham being on holiday, it was moved by Bro. Cavie & seconded by Bro. R. Sulivan that Bro L. Evans be asked to take his place on Strike committee.

Sunday picketing was discussed, and it was suggested 5.40 a.m. To 10.15 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Main Gates and Broadwater Lane to be covered.

Members present Bros. P. Underwood, J. Wareham. R. Sullivan, K. Cavie, D. Nye, 

E. Dunmall, L. Stephenson, R. Wickens, D. Tasker, A. Brooker, G. Howis, R. Jefferys 

& K. Savage.

 Extracted and adapted from

Tunbridge Wells Branch 

Report of a Special Meeting

Held on Friday May 27th 1955 

at the Wheatsheaf Hall

at 7.0 p.m.

F. Robinson presiding

Bro. F. Robinson the gave details of C. Russel's illness and arrangements pending

Bro. L. Evans was then moved for strike committee in place of J. Wareham who was on holiday. Carried

Picket for Sunday was then arranged

Main Gate

Bro. L. Coomber 5.40 a.m. to 8.0 am

Bro. V. Vilder 8.0 a.m. to 10.15 a.m.

Bro. F. Diplock 1.30 p.m. to 4.0 p.m

Bro. J. Pring 4.0 p.m. to 6.0 p.m.

Broadwater Lane

Bro. F. P.age 5.40 a.m. to 8.0 am

Bro. R. Coomber 8.0 a.m. to 10.15 a.m.

Bro. R. Bridger 1.30 p.m. to 4.0 p.m

Bro. F. Robinson  4.0 p.m. to 6.0 p.m. 

A vote of thanks was then moved for Bro. F. Robinson by Bro. R. Bridger and seconded Bro. L. Evans, also for Bro. A. Brooker, moved by Bro. V. Rumley and seconded by Bro. 

P. Pepper for taking over at this late stage. Carried

Members present Bros. A. Hollands, P. Pepper, R, Bridger, J. Pring, L. Evans, 

F. Diplock, A. Benton, E. Dunmall, F. Page, L. Coomber, V. Rumley, F. Robinson, 

R. Saunders, R. Coomber, A. Gordon, H. Dyer & G. Reeves.



JULY 1955



It is with great pleasure and pride in our hearts that we can report in this special issue of the 

JOURNAL such a splendid response by all our Motormen, Drivers, Firemen and Cleaners, 

members of No.1 and No.2 Branches, to the E.C.’s call May 28th and also to include in this 

report a tribute from Bro. C. Batchelor, who says:

“Congratulations to Brighton for 100 per cent response to the call of the E.C. for strike 

action. One member in steam and one “Non” spoilt the record.

Thanks are due to the Branch Secretaries and Strike Committee for carrying out of their 

duties so well, also to the N.U.R. members who came out and thus assisted in getting our 

grade recognised.

This proves that there is only one Union for footplate staff, that is the A.S.L.E.& F.

The bond between the Electric and Loco depots during the strike should now be 

maintained in all L.D.C. and social matters.Keep the good work up brothers!

Yours fraternally, C. Batchelor.”

These remarks by Bro Batchelor make all the work and trouble involved very much

worthwhile, to know that ir was so appreciated. Lets us hope this spirit of brotherhood will 

long be kept alive through the medium of our branch rooms.

F.W. Musk

Branch Chairman


WJ. CLEAVER - District No.7

During the crisis period I addressed special meetings at AshfordBrighton Nos1 and 2 

(twice), Colchester (twice)Paddington, Slough, Reading Nos. 1 and 2 branches, Hitchin

Southall, Kentish Town, Stratford, CricklewoodClacton, Parkeston Quay, Wimbledon and 

districtSouthend and Shoeburyness Joint, Feltham, Eastbourne, NewhavenKing's Cross, 

Gillingham and Didcot. I also addressed the special meetings of the London and Redhill 

District Councils.

Packed halls were in evidence everywhere and votes of confidence in the General Secretary 

and the Executive Committee were in every instance unanimous.

 1955 A.S.L.E.F STRIKE 

Bognor & Littlehampton branch members

Photo taken outside Littlehampton Railway Station, back of the Co-Op in Albert Road.


This photo feature Littlehampton Motormen and 

Bognor Engine Driver, Firemen, Cleaners & Motormen

Only some names are remembered which includes

Jim Ricketts (second row middle wearing black coat with white shirt collar opened).

Alec Lovell (light coloured raincoat and cap?) 

Edgar Tuck (1st on the left standing wearing cap and rain coat)

Stand Janaway (standing behind the child)

Fred Janaway (4th from the right back row)

Robert ’Todd’ Slaughter (6th from left back row)

A. Janaway.


During the 1955 strike we only had two come into work, one of them was my driver, on the 
Saturday night I asked him if he was coming in, he said yes, I said goodbye Alf, and that was the last time I spoke to him except on duty, and that was not social vocabulary! The other was an N.U.R. man, he didn't last long after!




Jim Sayers, Charlie Jenner, Peter Miles, Bob Hickman, Unknown, Den Reed, Jack. Knight, Sandy Holman, Jim Covey, Jim Smale, Jim Burtenshaw, & Ken Owens


Max Sumner, Dave Shopland, Jim Green, Peter Stark, Tim Turner, Pat Laker, Ken Drew, Archie Setherton, Charlie Miles, J. Robinson, J. Bradley, George Slight, Charlie Mapston, Gordon Knight, Percy Terry, George Rice, Colin Smith, Bill Peacock, Roger Hopkins, W Bungy Charman & Sid Ellis. 


(kneeling) Chris Burton, Ron Coveney, Fred Stoneman, Bill Barratt & Charlie Stokes (Branch Secretary).

There are number of striking ASLEF members missing from this photo, due to them not having any transport to able to attend the strike meetings.


The Locomotive Public House is now known as the “Moonraker" which is situated in Three Bridges Road.

Ray Young’s Memories of this photo

For those like myself seeing this picture takes you back to those days of friendship and fraternity, it seems that it only happened a few years back. 
Engineman George Taylor did move to Horsham and lived at Christ Hospital, his wife unfortunately was killed by a train there.
Max Sumner emigrated to Australia soon after the strike, 

Archie Setherton moved back to the West Country as did Ken Drew. 

Jim Covey lived the later part of his life in Sharpthorne, I think he joined his daughter there, 

Ron Coveney became an inspector on the South Eastern 

Sandy Holman went to East Africa to work on the railway, 

Peter Stark became a Driver at Selhurst before moving over to management.

Les Wilson although a member of the N.U.R. Joined us for the strike period.

Some men were absent for the photograph it was I believe taken on the day we returned to work hence the overalls Colin Smith, Jim Burtenshaw, 
Chris Burton & Ron Coveney, are wearing, 

Ray Young was absent as myself and Jack Owen had taken a message to Fratton Depot.

(no mobile phones in those days.)




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