Keeping the railways going throughout the Great War

New railway book telling of the work done by all the railway companies during the Great War.
New railway book telling of the work done by all the railway companies during the Great War.
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There are dozens of books about the First World War being published, everything from the cause to the peace process.

Many of the famous battles that took place are being dissected using, I feel, the authors’ interpretation rather than fact.

But one methodically-researched book that has just been published tells the story of how the railway workers coped with running the system over the four years of conflict.

There are more than 100 photographs from the many different railway companies of the time.

Written by Jeremy Higgins, there is a forward by renowned railway fan Michael Portillo.

n On August 25, 1925 the cruiser HMS Effingham left Portsmouth on a maiden voyage to India and Ceylon.

Effingham was a heavy cruiser and served as flagship of the Far Eastern Squadron in the East Indies from 1925 to 1932.

No doubt many of the crew lived in Portsmouth and grew up in the town, never knowing that one day they would see sights that few had ever seen.

Some of her sailors are pictured below right. Below left, we see the log for the ship from when it left Portsmouth until arriving at Bombay on December 23, 1926.

n On the opposite page, we have a photo from Paul Costen’s collection showing a private school located in the Waterlooville area and called Upper Mount School.

Did you attend this school and can you tell me where it might have been exactly?

nFinally, would you like the chance to fire a Second World War 25lb field gun?

The opportunity can be yours if you are attending the Southwick village D-Day Revival weekend on June 6-7.

The gun has been loaned for the event by Fort Nelson and the winner will actually sit alongside a professional gunner and ‘pull the trigger’.

Entrants must be over the age of 14 and be available at 2.30pm for the 3pm firing on June 6.

To enter, just answer these two questions, the answers to which can be found online at

1. What was the full name and rank of the American overall commander in charge of operations during D-Day?

2. What was the name of the squire of Southwick whose home was requisitioned by the navy and never returned to him?

Please include your name, address, age and phone number. If you win you will be responsible for getting to and from Southwick at your own expense.

E-mail your answers, to arrive no later than midday on June 3, to

Please remember to include your name, address and daytime telephone number.