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Posts Tagged ‘Merchant Navy Day’

By the very nature of the fact that you read this blog of mine, you will I am sure like me not help but admire the Bulleid Merchant Navy paciifics in either original air smoothed or their later rebuilt form. It is of course  great that a number have been preserved and are at various stages of restoration / preservation. Regular readers of this blog will know, via the two dedicated pages that I have been for a while a shareholder in both 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. and 35011 General Steam Navigation. I am also a member of the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society that maintains and operates 35028 Clan Line in such wonderful running condition on the main line.

35011 at her new home on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway

The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society that has relocated, in April this year, to its new home at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway (yes it is in Swindon but not on that railway but the old Midland and South Westen Junctin Railway!) which enables a wider range of work to be carried on the locomotive was not practical at its previous temporary location.

Myself hands on, finding out just how heavy a 17ft long Bulleid Boiler tube is as we remove them!

Work has started in ernest to remove items that either need restoration or due to her be being restored in the Bulleid original condition are no longer required for this locomotive. Removal of the boiler tubes has also started prior to the boiler being lifted in due course to allow full restoration work on the chassis to commence.

In additon to being able to enjoy getting my hands dirty on the 1:1 scale locomotive going back to my engineering roots, I am delighted to be able to announce that I accepted a request by the The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society and the General Steam Navigation Community Interest Company (CIC) to become both a trustee of the Restoration Society and a Board Director of the CIC.
Membership of the Society costs only £12 per year and full details on how to become a member can be found here. Also full updates on progress can be found on the 35001 Society website here.

35006 flying the Red Ensign and a commorative headboard for Merchant Navy Day

As I reported last month the 3rd September is now, since the year 2000, recognised as being Merchant Navy Day with its’ slogan  ‘ Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day – 3rd September’.

35006 heading towards Toddington

Merchant Navy Day  has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘island nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports.
This year Merchant Navy  Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ ran on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day.

No.6 approaches Hayles Abbey Halt

She was suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard and flying the Red Ensign flags for the occasion. The day started with a brief remembrance service at 9.30 am for members of the Merchant Navy Association, at Toddington station, before pulling the 10am departure for Cheltenham. I spent an enjoyable day as a guest on the train and also took the opportunity later in the day to photograph her from vantage points along the line.

35028 still looking pristine having arrived at Salisbury

Lastly,  in the company of my parents spent a very enjoyable day travelling over 400 miles and 14 hours behind the splendid Merchant Navy pacific 35028 ‘Clan Line’ on the UK Railtours ‘Atlantic Coast Express’ that although it didn’t actually reach the coast, headed from Waterloo to

No.28 at Exeter Central

Exeter via Salisbury down the South Western, returning via Bristol, Bath and Westbury to Salisbury before returning up the South Western back to Waterloo.

Clan Line meets the new at the Buffer stops at Waterloo having travelled over 400miles

35028 ‘Clan Line’ is a credit to the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society , and whose professionalism, superb condition, upkeep and operation is something that all persevered locomotive operators must aspire to. She performed fantastically well, unassisted with 12 coaches in tow, with some very spirited running regularly hitting 75mph for prolonged running and also topping Honiton Bank from a standing start at the end of Axminister loop in the rain (where we stopped to allow a up service to leave the section) at around 27mph,  as well as looking great she sounded fantastic too!
I also admit that we travelled in first class dining so in addition to enjoying such Bulleid Brilliance we were extremely well fed and watered throughout.

My friend and fellow Bulleid fan Alex Clements captured 35028 at various locations, including climbing Honiton Bank,  throughout the day and his excellent video can be seen below…enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this Bulleid Brilliance update, if you are able to get involved in any way with any of the Locomotive societies, you will be made more than welcome and every little helps and it is also very rewarding.

[Apologies for the inital draft post going live and emailed to subscribers before it was intended and fully proof read!) 

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Following many years of lobbying to bring about official recognition of the sacrifices made by merchant seafarers in the two world wars.
The slogan is ‘ Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day – 3rd September’
Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘island nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports.
Why 3rd September? –  This date marks the sinking of the Merchant Navy ship – S.S. Athenia in WWII – the very first casualty of the war – torpedoed by a German U-Boat, with the loss of 128 lives, within 10 hours of the declaration of war on 3 September 1939, by Neville Chamberlain and the outbreak of  World War II. The Merchancy Navy Asscociation aims to ensure the recognition of the Merchant Navy Veterans and the critical and strategic role of the Merchant Navy in times of war and conflict. The Red Ensign flag or “Red Duster” as it is affectionately known, is the recognised flag of the British Merchant Navy and has been flown by British merchant and passenger ships since 1854.

As per my post here, to commemorate 100 years of the Merchant Navy, and in remembrance of all those from various countries throughout the world that served in the Merchant Navy and who lost their lives during wars, conflicts and campaigns, Merchant Navy  Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ will be running today on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day.

The headboard carried by 35006 to commemorate those in the Merchant Navy who fell during two World Wars and in subsequent conflicts (Andrew Marshall)

She was be suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard (see left) and flying the Red Ensign flags for the occasion. The day started with a brief remembrance service at 9.30 am for members of the Merchant Navy Association, at Toddington station, before pulling the 10am departure for Cheltenham.

The Merchant Navy was formally known as the Mercantile Marine in the First World War.  During both world wars, Germany operated a policy of ‘unrestricted submarine warfare’, or sinking merchant vessels on sight. By the end of the First World War, more than 3,000 British flagged merchant and fishing vessels had been sunk and nearly 15,000 merchant seamen had died.

Following their service in the First World War, King George V bestowed the title of “Merchant Navy” on the British merchant shipping fleets, in 1928 he gave Edward, Prince of Wales the title of “Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets”, more recently this title has been held by our current Queen Elizabeth II.

When the United Kingdom and the British Empire entered the Second World War in September 1939, George VI issued this message:

“In these anxious days I would like to express to all Officers and Men and in the British Merchant Navy and the British Fishing Fleets my confidence in their unfailing determination to play their vital part in defence. To each one I would say: Yours is a task no less essential to my people’s experience than that allotted to the Navy, Army and Air Force. Upon you the Nation depends for much of its foodstuffs and raw materials and for the transport of its troops overseas. You have a long and glorious history, and I am proud to bear the title “Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets”. I know that you will carry out your duties with resolution and with fortitude, and that high chivalrous traditions of your calling are safe in your hands. God keep you and prosper you in your great task”.

Britain’s merchant fleet was the largest in the world during both world wars. In 1939, a third of the world’s merchant ships were British, and there were some 200,000 sailors. Many merchant seamen came from parts of the British Empire, such as India, Hong Kong and west African countries.
During the Second World War, 4,700 British-flagged ships were sunk.  German U-boats alone sank over 2,800 Allied ships. The United Kingdom alone suffered the loss of over 2,200 ships, which was 54% of the total Merchant Navy fleet at the outbreak of the Second World War.  32,000 merchant seafarers were killed aboard convoy vessels in the war, but along with the Royal Navy, the convoys successfully imported enough supplies to allow an Allied victory.

The Southern Railway Bullied Merchant Navy Class first built under wartime conditions in 1941 recognised the role of the Merchant Navy with all eventual 30 members of the class being named after the shipping lines and carried distinctive nameplates that included the flags of the shipping lines within. The c;lass were built with many Bullied novel features inclding chain driven valve gear encased within an oil bath and charatoristic air smoothed casing and Buleid-Firth-Bron wheels.  All examples of the Merchant Navy class were rebuilt along more conventional lines, with 35006 and 35028 Clan Line being the last two examples to be modified in 1959.
No. 11, 35011 is curently being ambitiously reurned to original condition by the General Steam Navigation Society of which, like for No.6, I am also  Sharehlder.

Although this post has given me the chance to share a few pictures of Bulleid Merchant Navy class locomotives and models, it is primarily to recognise and commemorate the sacrifices made on our behalf by merchant seafarers ‘We Will Remember Them’.

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To commemorate 100 years of the Merchant Navy, and in remembrance of all those from various countries throughout the world that served in the Merchant Navy and who lost their lives during wars, conflicts and campaigns, Merchant Navy  Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ will be running on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day – Tuesday 3rd September 2019.

35006 in the sunshine at Toddington

Locomotove No.6,  which was built in 1941 for the Southern Railway and formally named after the shipping company P&O in 1942 – with the unveiling of a grand nameplate on the side of the locomotive,  is based at Toddington station on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway which runs between Cheltenham Race Course and Broadway in the Cotswolds.

35006 has the signal off at Cheltenham Racecourse (ready to run around rather than head further south)

No.6  will be suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard and flying the Red Ensign flags for the occasion. It is intended to have a brief remembrance service at 9.30 am for members of the Merchant Navy Association, at Toddington station, before pulling the 10am departure for Cheltenham.

Following many years of lobbying to bring about official recognition of the sacrifices made by merchant seafarers in the two world wars and since, Merchant Navy Day became an official day of remembrance on 3 September 2000.

Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘island nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports.

The Merchancy Navy Asscociation aims to ensure the recognition of the Merchant Navy Veterans and the critical and strategic role of the Merchant Navy in times of war and conflict.
Why 3rd September? –  This date marks the sinking of the Merchant Navy ship – S.S. Athenia in WWII – the very first casualty of the war – torpedoed by a German U-Boat, with the loss of 128 lives, within 10 hours of the declaration of war on 3 September 1939, by Neville Chamberlain and the outbreak of  World War II.
Anyone who wants to come along and see and photograph the train is welcome to turn up at Toddington – entry is free. Anyone wanting to travel, this is a normal service train,  just buy a ticket and jump on board, all are welcome

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