Train picture proved Paul was on the right track

A scene from the school production of Trial By Jury
A scene from the school production of Trial By Jury
A little fuzzy perhaps but here we see Portsdown Hill Road where it meets London Road. The George pub would be on the right behind the soldiers. 'Picture: Barry Cox Collection

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Paul Sutton let out a whoop of joy when he saw this picture last month.

For at last he was able to convince people that a little train did indeed chug around the gardens at Hilsea Lido, Portsmouth.

Paul, of Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth, also did a double take when he examined the photograph closer because he’s convinced he’s in it – the lad behind the driver.

He said: ‘For years I have told people that a miniature steam train went round there and they would not believe me.

‘I insisted I knew because I’d been on it. I often show people the odd feature around the moat by the sea where the flat grass ledge (where the train ran) is supported by some stonework which has no obvious purpose until you realise it probably supported the track.

‘But most exciting of all, I believe the boy sitting behind the driver may be me. When I saw it I dug out an old photo and it looks very much like it and I am even wearing the same top. I would have been about 10 which would put it about 1954.’

He can’t find a picture in his collection of him on the train, but he’s sent these two other pictures taken about the same time – one of him on a horse at Bognor Regis, the other in his garden at home in Dersingham Close, Paulsgrove.

Paul added: ‘I’d recognise those ears anywhere and I’m wearing that top in both photos. Someone out there might know differently so it would be interesting to find out if I’m right.’

He also included this picture, which was also taken in the mid-1950s at Portsdown Junior School for Boys.

It shows a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury and Paul played the part of a juror.

Paul said: ‘The judge is either Mr Fryer or Mr Searle. But there’s no mistaking the Teddy Boy in the dock. That was Mr English who was very popular and always made us laugh.

“A real Mr Chips.’