A Railway Funeral

By kind permission of John King, Author

One death to occupy considerable space in the local newspapers, but not related to hostilities, was that of William Thomson on 27th September when he was in the course of moving to Broadstairs. After 48 years’ service on the railway, he had retired in 1911. The funeral at Plaistow was attended by a galaxy of railwaymen and included Sir Francis Dent (the General Manager of the South Eastern & Chatham Railway), several senior officers of the Company, H C Trigg who was now Station Master at Westerham, the Station Masters at Grove Park, Sundridge Park and Bromley North and over fifty other Station Masters. There were also officers from other railways. The coffin was carried by Chief Travelling Ticket Inspectors.

On a brighter note was the news received in October by the former Choir-master of St Mildred’s, W J R Helder, that his son was safe, albeit as a prisoner of war, after the Royal Flying Corps aircraft in which he was the observer had been forced down. Helder, whose father had once been the vicar, lived at 149 Burnt Ash Hill.

The excursion of the St Augustine’s Mothers Meeting on 20 July to Southend was perhaps a little surprising as air raids had already hit the resort and it was not the simplest of train journeys. Less ambitious was the Sunday School excursion on 31 July which went in three brakes to Shirley; while St Mildred’s went no further on 15 August than to Walter Wood’s Horn Park Farm. Earlier in the year he had been reported to be suing the Mayor of Deptford for damage beyond wear and tear done by over 500 military horses in one of his fields. Baptist Paster J Waite Davies lent swings for the children’s diversion. The ASC band was again in evidence when it played in the gardens of the vicarage of St Augustine’s at a Sale of Work on 21 September, £60 being raised to reduce the church’s building debt as a result of its expansion in 1912.

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