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Service held in remembrance of the Great War

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Representatives of the railway industry gathered at Southwark Cathedral on 6 November 2019 to remember the thousands of workers who lost their lives during World War 1.

The congregation included representatives from Network Rail, Rail Delivery Group, Transport for London, Railway Industry Association, Irish Rail, RMT, ASLEF and TSSA.  

The Railway Workers Centenary Memorial Service marked 100 years since a service of remembrance was held in St Paul’s Cathedral, in the presence of His Majesty King George V and 7,000 railway workers and their families, “in memory of the railwaymen of Great Britain and Ireland who have died in the service of their country during the war 1914-1918”.

Over 20,000 railwaymen died in that conflict, out of over 186,000 railway people from Britain and Ireland who answered served in the armed forces.

Enhancing the connection with that service on 14 May 1919, the grandson of King George V, HRH the Duke of Gloucester, attended the service to pay his respects to the fallen. Among the other 597 guests were a number of senior railway industry figures as well as the families of many railway workers who lost their lives during the conflict.

Southwark Cathedral was chosen to host the centenary due to its long association with the nearby railway communities at London Bridge, Waterloo and Blackfriars.

Sir Peter Hendy, Network Rail,
at the memorial service.

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy CBE said: “Over 100 years on from the end of World War 1, this memorial service was a great opportunity for the railway industry to come together and remember the hundreds of thousands of railway workers who served their country, over 20,000 of whom made the ultimate sacrifice.

“It was important to pay our respects to those workers, whose contribution will never be forgotten.”

The stewards at the Railway Workers Centenary Memorial Service were:

  • Mike Brown (Transport Commissioner, TfL)
  • Chris Burchell (Chief Executive, Arriva)
  • Manuel Cortes (General Secretary, TSSA)
  • Dyan Crowther (Chief Executive, HS1)
  • Paul Crowther (Chief Constable, British Transport Police)
  • Chris Green (retired, former Virgin Trains Chief Executive)
  • Andrew Haines (Chief Executive, Network Rail)
  • Peter Loosley (Policy Director, Railway Industry Association)
  • Neil Walker (Exports Director, Railway Industry Association)
  • Mick Whelan (General Secretary, ASLEF)

Graham Wood, whose grandfather Wilfred Wood was awarded the Victoria Cross for his services in the War, was also in attendance. He said: “My grandfather was a railwayman who won the Victoria Cross back in 1918. I was delighted to be invited today, 100 years on, to remember him and the thousands of others who served their country.

“Today is the first time I’ve worn the Victoria Cross to any event in all the years it’s been in the family. It’s been a lovely day out and I’ve enjoyed it very much.”

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