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War heroes of the railways remembered
THE sacrifice made by the war heroes of the railways has been remembered through a York service.
Ex-military personnel gathered at the North Eastern Railway Memorial cenotaph on Station Rise today to honour rail workers who died in the two World Wars.
Together with Paul Kirkman, the new director of the National Railway Museum, they laid a wreath at the monument during a poignant service ahead of Remembrance Day, when the UK will fall silent.
Museum staff attended the service with Ian Sparks, its explainer developer and a former member of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, Terry King, who served in the Royal Horse Guards, and Shaun Houldridge and Stacey Winfield, Royal Air Force veterans.
About 25,000 railway employees died in the two wars, including more than 2,200 members of the North Eastern Railway in the First World War and more than 1,000 London North Eastern Railway workers in the Second World War.
“As an ex-serviceman and a member of the museum staff, I feel obliged to show my loyalty to fallen servicemen and women,” said Mr Sparks, wearing the medals of his father Robert, who fought in Burma and was on the last boat to leave Dunkirk during the 1940 evacuation.
“War has again been to the fore in recent years and many young people have also made the ultimate sacrifice, so this is a particularly poignant service, especially because, as time passes, old soldiers are sadly fewer in number.”
Ian Clarkson, secretary of the British Railways Engineers Ex Servicemen’s Association, also attended the service - conducted by railway chaplain the Reverend Stephen Sorby, and said: “The railways and those who worked on them played a substantial wartime role and many lost their lives, so it is important to remember them.”
Today also saw Gillamoor Primary School pupils join residents and parents for a service of rededication to the North York Moors village’s war memorial, which was demolished when hit by a car in March.
A replica was carved and installed on the village green with the pupils burying a time capsule underneath including accounts of the accident, a Jubilee coin, a Top Trumps card, a sports day medal, newspaper cuttings, 2012 pennies and a 2012 poster. The service was conducted by the Reverend Mark Brosnan and Methodist minister Reverend Norma Davey.
Head teacher Alison Tweddle said: “The memorial is really important for the children and they were devastated when it was knocked down.”
As reported the fallen will also be remembered at services across the region on Sunday.
A delegation from France will be at The French Memorial in Elvington, at 11am, alongside representatives from RAF bases and Air Attaches of Allied nations, and residents. A remembrance ceremony at the Yorkshire Air Museum’s Station Chapel and Memorial Garden is at 1.30pm.