The changing face of the dockyard and its railway

Pier Road approach to the Harbour Station with the line to South Railway Jetty  crossing right to left.
Pier Road approach to the Harbour Station with the line to South Railway Jetty crossing right to left.
Looking down London Road circa 1903. The Horndean Light Railway tracks are on the right.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

NOSTALGIA: Tramlines await the first cars to climb to top of Portsdown Hill

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Bob shares some interesting pictures of the docklands railway and the tragic tale of a British soldier who died in a POW camp.

Three of today’s photographs are connected as they show the railway line that branched off the main line just before Portsmouth Harbour station and crossed the harbour on a viaduct to South Railway Jetty (SRJ) in the dockyard. It was at one time called Farewell Jetty.

Almost the same view of Portsmouth harbour today from the Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf.

Almost the same view of Portsmouth harbour today from the Spinnaker Tower, Gunwharf.

In the first picture we see the viaduct crossing the harbour with a swing bridge just before joining the SRJ and there is a white barrier across the line to warn drivers that the bridge was against them. The photograph was taken after January 1922 as this was when HMS Victory was placed in dry dock and can be seen in the upper right side.

In the other harbour photograph we see the scene today. Things have changed dramatically although the SRJ remains as do all the other locations in the dockyard. New sheds have been built to the right and HMS Warrior is now moored where many boats once rested at anchor.

Yesterday I was talking about Prisoners of War and what became of them and today I have the sad story of AB John Player Genower RN who served on the third ship to carry the name Illustrious when she was sunk at the Battle of Jutland.

John was rescued by a German ship and interned at a camp near Brandenburg. On the evening of March 9, 1917, the hut John was in caught fire. John tried to escape through a window but was bayonetted in the chest and fell back into the hut where he was consumed by the fire.

Able Seaman John Player Genower, a former Illustrious sailor, who died tragically at the age of 24. Photo courtesy of Tim Genower.

Able Seaman John Player Genower, a former Illustrious sailor, who died tragically at the age of 24. Photo courtesy of Tim Genower.