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Author Topic: Train of the Unknown Warrior  (Read 3666 times)

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Offline Nemo

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Re: Train of the Unknown Warrior
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2017, 10:55:06 »
One of 4 IWM images of a rose:

And another of the coffin on board HMS Verdun:

Offline Tom Burnham

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Re: Train of the Unknown Warrior
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2016, 23:54:23 »
The Cavell Van (SE&CR No 132) is now preserved on the Kent & East Sussex Railway, with a display inside including a replica of the coffin used for the Unknown Warrior.  It had previously been used similarly for transporting the bodies of Nurse Edith Cavell and Captain Fryatt (hence the nickname of "Cavell van", later used by railwaymen for all the class of vans of which 132 was the prototype).  The van was on display in the centre of Norwich in October in connection with the commemoration of the centenary of Edith Cavell's execution.  It can normally be viewed at Bodiam station when K&ESR trains are running.  See further details -!cavell_van_norwich_1

Offline Alastair

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Re: Train of the Unknown Warrior
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2015, 15:16:29 »
Marvellous! A truly worthy subject with a lot of information I didn't know. Thanks so much for posting, CommanderChuff and for the pictures conan.


Offline conan

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Re: Train of the Unknown Warrior
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2015, 19:05:12 »
Here's some photos of the solemn occasion

In the middle of thisTelegraph article is a reference to the train (from paragraph 26).
To remain ignorant of what happened before you were born is to remain a child......Cicero

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Train of the Unknown Warrior
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2015, 17:27:32 »
I have a much loved and read copy of 'The Railway Magazine Miscellany' which covers 1897-1919 and around 1909 there is a complaint that the SECR seldom if ever turn the lights on during the day or early evening. It is pointed out that the line runs through several long tunnels and some passengers are somewhat disturbed by the lack of lights. So I imagine that a lighted train would be worthy of a report.

A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Offline CommanderChuff

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Train of the Unknown Warrior
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2015, 17:17:10 »
The train which conveyed the remains of the Unknown Warrior from Dover has been the subject of much discussion in the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Society, (SEC Soc).  We have discovered that there are many gaps in our knowledge and we would like to share what we know with the forum in hope that you could help to complete the story.

1. HMS Verdun arrived at Dover Admiralty pier at 15:30pm on Wed 10 Nov., 1920 and berthed about one hundred yards from Dover Marine station. 

2. The coffin was escorted to the train in Dover Marine and loaded in about 1 hour.  It was placed into a Cavell Van (No132) and the wreaths into another vehicle.  There was one saloon coach for the officer and 15 soldiers of the guard.  The Times reported that the wreaths were placed into the saloon compartment of this vehicle whilst the soldiers were crowded into the remaining seats.

3.  The train was the Up Boat Train to Victoria and was timetabled to depart from Marine station at 16:25 with arrival scheduled at 18:52.  The funeral van and coach were attached to the rear of this train which was made up of the No 20 boat train stock (dating from 1905).  The train departed at either 17:20 or 17:50pm.  The next scheduled boat train (using No.24 train stock) was due to leave at 17:10.  These were conditional timings and were dependent upon the tides and the arrival of the cross channel boats.  The train has been described in some accounts as being 'special' but our understanding is that there was no special arrangements made by the railway for this event, notwithstanding the carriage of the bodies of Cavell and Fryatt as precedents, except for the preparation of the engine.

4.  The train was pulled by SECR 4-4-0 loco class E1 No 506, (as described by Bradley).  This loco was a replacement for No 179 which failed for a broken tyre, and both were specially prepared by painting them in glossy black.  No 506 was photographed in this livery two years later.

5.  The train was observed to travel very slowly through the stations on its way to London travelling over the route Dover stations, Kearsney, Shepherdswell, Adisham, Canterbury East, Faversham, Sittingbourne, Gillingham and Chatham. It was reported that it was a 'great lighted train rushing past' (Daily Mail 11 Nov., 1920).  This seems to imply that the normal trains in 1920 did not have the carriage lights switched on at night. 

6.  The train arrived at Victoria and berthed at the normal arrival platform 1. The Times reported that the funeral van and coach were detached from the rear and shunted into platform 8 by a small engine at 20:32pm (according to the plaque which marks the spot in Victoria).  This platform was noted by the Times as being on the Brighton side.  We understand that platforms 1 to 8 were on the LCDR (to become SECR) side of the station, with the Brighton platforms towards the western side.

7.  The van and coach was berthed in platform 8 until the next day.
Royal Navy, Aircraft Engineer, Project Manager, Yachtsman, Eroica Cyclist,  Railway Modeller


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