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The Railway at War Collection

The GWR during the First and Second World Wars

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78 Items

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The Railway at War Collection: First World War

First World War Collection
26 Items

The Railway at War Collection: Second World War

Second World War Collection
135 Items

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: SS St Julien as a hospital ship, at Newport Docks, c. 1940

SS St Julien as a hospital ship, at Newport Docks, c. 1940
This image shows SS St Julien at Newport Docks following her conversion into a hospital ship, as denoted by the red cross painted on the side of her hull

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Evacuees at Paddington Station in 1939

Evacuees at Paddington Station in 1939
This moving image of evacuees making their way along platform 4 at Paddington Station was also taken during the 4 day evacuation of London and other major cities in September 1939

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Leatherwork for howitzers and 8 pdr guns, made at Swindon Works, c. 1915

Leatherwork for howitzers and 8 pdr guns, made at Swindon Works, c. 1915
This array of items shows the type of leatherwork that was undertaken at Swindon Works for both howitzers and 8 pdr guns, as requested by the Royal Arsenal

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Macaw B railway wagon No. 84350 loaded with gun carriages at Swindon Works, c. 1915

Macaw B railway wagon No. 84350 loaded with gun carriages at Swindon Works, c. 1915
Macaw B railway wagon No. 84350 has been photographed here loaded with 2 gun carriages awaiting dispatch from Swindon Works

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: 8in. howitzer gun carriage on an Open B wagon at Swindon Works, c. 1914

8in. howitzer gun carriage on an Open B wagon at Swindon Works, c. 1914
This 8in. howitzer gun carriage was one of the first batch to be made at Swindon Works. It sits on an unfinished OPEN B wagon awaiting dispatch

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Naval guns at Swindon Works, alongside Star Class locomotive, no. 4013 Knight of St Patrick, c. 1915

Naval guns at Swindon Works, alongside Star Class locomotive, no. 4013 Knight of St Patrick, c. 1915
A view of four naval guns at Swindon works, positioned with Star Class locomotive, no. 4013 Knight of St Patrick on show on the turntable. This is very much a publicity photograph for the GWR

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: 6in. naval guns on display on Macaw B wagons at Swindon Works c. 1915

6in. naval guns on display on Macaw B wagons at Swindon Works c. 1915
6in. naval guns on display on Macaw B wagons at Swindon Works. The guns were sent in from elsewhere, but the manufacture of 40 large field carriages upon which the guns were mounted was a specialist

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Naval guns outside A Shop, Swindon Works c. 1915

Naval guns outside A Shop, Swindon Works c. 1915
Four 6in. naval guns are proudly displayed on the tracks outside of A Shop, with County Tank, No. 2232, in steam, just behind. The guns are mounted on carriages with limbers attached

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: No 18 Stamping Shop at Swindon Works in 1915

No 18 Stamping Shop at Swindon Works in 1915
A view of No. 18 Stamping Shop from March 1915, showing the reverse of a stationary boiler. At the bottom left of the image are sheets of metal ready to be heated in the gas furnaces just above

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Nordenfelt anti-aircraft gun in V Shop, Swindon Works c. 1915

Nordenfelt anti-aircraft gun in V Shop, Swindon Works c. 1915
This striking image shows a newly made 6 pdr Nordenfelt anti-aircraft gun complete with mounting platform and protective skirting

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Carriage and Wagon Stamping (No. 18) Shop in 1915

Carriage and Wagon Stamping (No. 18) Shop in 1915
This image of the Carriage and Wagon Stamping (No.18) Shop was taken in March 1915. Although no men are in shot, it shows the busy, dirty and hot nature of this workshop

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Swindon Works Polishing Shop in 1914

Swindon Works Polishing Shop in 1914
A photograph taken on 7th August 1914 of the Polishing Shop in the Carriage and Wagon Works. French polishing was a skilled trade

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Female employees at Swindon Works making lamps, c. 1940

Female employees at Swindon Works making lamps, c. 1940
A larger group of female employees have been photographed here engaged in the making of lamps at Swindon Works. The tin lamp bodies

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: U. S. 0-6-0T shunting tank engine No. 1940 in its black War Department livery, 1942

U. S. 0-6-0T shunting tank engine No. 1940 in its black War Department livery, 1942
This is an unusual inclusion in the photographic collection at STEAM, being an image of a U.S. 0-6-0T shunting tank engine which never actually worked the Great Western network

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: USA S160 2-8-0 locomotive No. 1606 coupled to an ambulance train, 1942

USA S160 2-8-0 locomotive No. 1606 coupled to an ambulance train, 1942
Once the USA joined the war following the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941 the GWR became involved in the provision of rolling stock for use by the American Army

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: American S160 Class 2-8-0 locomotive No. 1609 upon arrival at Newport Docks, 1942

American S160 Class 2-8-0 locomotive No. 1609 upon arrival at Newport Docks, 1942
From late 1942 American locomotives began to arrive at the Great Westerns South Wales Docks, having been shipped over from America to assist allied forces both in Britain and on the Continent

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Carriage No. 4329 from US General Dwight D. Eisenhowers Alive train in 1942

Carriage No. 4329 from US General Dwight D. Eisenhowers Alive train in 1942
One of the most important areas in which the GWR was asked to support both the war effort and the US army was in the provision of what was codenamed the Alive train which was to be used by the US

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Presentation of a War Savings League Cup to members at Swindon Works, 1944

Presentation of a War Savings League Cup to members at Swindon Works, 1944
This photograph was taken on 20th April 1944 and shows Chief Mechanical Engineer, F.W. Hawksworth, presenting a War Savings League Cup to members at Swindon Works

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: US soldiers embarking a ship in a GWR South Wales Dock, 1942

US soldiers embarking a ship in a GWR South Wales Dock, 1942
The GWR docks in South Wales became busy points for the arrival and departure of US troops from mid 1942 when the first American ship to arrive at the Companys docks berthed at Swansea on the 18th

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: American Flag flying from Paddington Station hotel on July 4th 1941

American Flag flying from Paddington Station hotel on July 4th 1941
This image shows the American Flag flying from the front of the hotel at Paddington Station on July 4th, American Independence Day, 1941

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: A 16 inch gun barrel loaded onto an eighteen wheel gun wagon in 1942

A 16 inch gun barrel loaded onto an eighteen wheel gun wagon in 1942
This photograph, taken at Old Oak Common on the 10th April 1942, shows a 16 inch gun barrel that has been loaded onto an eighteen wheel gun wagon ready for delivery

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Brake Third coach No. 3307 converted into a mobile cleansing unit, 1941

Brake Third coach No. 3307 converted into a mobile cleansing unit, 1941
The fear of gas attack was of paramount concern during World War II, as demonstrated by the mass issuing of gas masks prior to the outbreak of war in 1939

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: GWR lorry delivering paintings from the National Gallery to a slate mine in Wales in 1940

GWR lorry delivering paintings from the National Gallery to a slate mine in Wales in 1940
This photograph of a GWR lorry was taken around 1940. It shows the in delivery of historic and valuable paintings from the National Gallery in London to the disused Manod slate mine at Blaenau

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: 16 inch naval gun loaded on a set of four POLLEN E wagons, 1944

16 inch naval gun loaded on a set of four POLLEN E wagons, 1944
This image shows a 16 inch naval gun being carried on a set of four POLLEN E wagons in March 1944. Built in the early 1900s

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Military tanks loaded onto Crocodile G wagons, c. 1939

Military tanks loaded onto Crocodile G wagons, c. 1939
A train load of military tanks, loaded onto Crocodile G wagons, make their way through Acton, en-route to the Channel Ports, for shipment over seas

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Chevrolet Thornton military trucks lined up at Caerphilly Works, 1941

Chevrolet Thornton military trucks lined up at Caerphilly Works, 1941
This image taken in April 1941 shows five Chevrolet Thornton military trucks lined up outside the GWRs works at Caerphilly. These trucks were imported from the USA and arrived unassembled in crates

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: A Sea Hurricane being loaded onto an armed merchant ship at Cardiff docks, c. 1941

A Sea Hurricane being loaded onto an armed merchant ship at Cardiff docks, c. 1941
As well as assisting in the transportation of military goods by rail the GWR also facilitated the war effort at their docks

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: 0-6-0 Dean Goods locomotives No s. 2479, 2576, 2425 and 2399 in the process of being scrapped, c

0-6-0 Dean Goods locomotives No s. 2479, 2576, 2425 and 2399 in the process of being scrapped, c. 1949
The sorry sight of four The sorry sight of four 0-6-0 Dean Goods locomotives, photographed in the late 1940 s, in the process of being scrapped. Identified as engine No s

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Railway carriage converted to an ambulance ward car, c1939

Railway carriage converted to an ambulance ward car, c1939
This internal view of an ambulance ward car gives a clear image of both the ingenuity used in converting rolling stock for medical use, but also the cramped conditions endured within these vehicles

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: A corridor brake composite carriage converted into a rail mobile emergency canteen, 1941

A corridor brake composite carriage converted into a rail mobile emergency canteen, 1941
In November 1941 this 56 feet corridor brake composite carriage was converted at Swindon Works into a rail mobile emergency canteen

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Siphon G Wagon converted to ward car No. 3209 in 1943

Siphon G Wagon converted to ward car No. 3209 in 1943
By the spring of 1940 Britains railway companies had supplied 25 ambulance trains for use both at home and abroad. In September 1942 the government ordered a further 27 ambulance trains

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: A paper recycling cart outside the General Stores at Swindon Works, 1941

A paper recycling cart outside the General Stores at Swindon Works, 1941
A paper recycling cart outside the General Stores at Swindon Works in 1941. Bound bundles of paperwork and ledgers can be seen piled on the cart ready to be taken away to be pulped

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Bomb damage to the GWRs salvage warehouse in London, 1940

Bomb damage to the GWRs salvage warehouse in London, 1940
In a cruel twist of fate, this image from the 15th November 1940 shows bomb damage to the GWRs salvage warehouse at Park Royal in north-west London

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: 2-8-0 locomotives under construction in AE shop, 1943

2-8-0 locomotives under construction in AE shop, 1943
In this image, War Department 2-8-0 locomotives are shown under construction in AE shop at Swindon Works in May 1943. In order to meet the demand for locomotives for war work

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Great Western Tender, No. W84, formerly No. 2641, 1941

Great Western Tender, No. W84, formerly No. 2641, 1941
Great Western Tender, No. W84 is featured in this official image taken in April 1941. Formerly No. 2641, this 4000 gallon engine tender was requisitioned by the Government for use with a fire

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Dean Goods locomotive No. 2533 in War Department black livery

Dean Goods locomotive No. 2533 in War Department black livery
This official photograph of a Dean Goods locomotive No. 2533 was taken at Swindon Works in October 1939 prior to its shipment overseas

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Evacuees waiting outside the departure platform at Paddington in 1939

Evacuees waiting outside the departure platform at Paddington in 1939
One of the very first war time roles that the GWR was engaged in was the evacuation of children from cities to the relative safety of the countryside

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: The 13th Battalion Home Guard at a rifle shoot at Liddington, c. 1942

The 13th Battalion Home Guard at a rifle shoot at Liddington, c. 1942
The 13th Battalion Home Guard at a rifle shoot on the chalk ridge at Liddington, near Swindon. The Home Guard evolved to be a well-equipped trained army and would partake in numerous drills

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Swindon Home Guard manning an anti-aircraft gun platform, c. 1940

Swindon Home Guard manning an anti-aircraft gun platform, c. 1940
Swindon Works was considered a prime target for aircraft strikes during World War II. Here, two members of the Home Guard are manning an anti-aircraft gun platform situated on the roof of uniform

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: GWRs Home Guard battalions on parade at Castle Bar Park in London, c. 1940

GWRs Home Guard battalions on parade at Castle Bar Park in London, c. 1940
The Home Guard was originally known as the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV). The LDV was formed in May 1940, but in August 1940 the LDV changed its name to the Home Guard

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Van loaded with waste paper from the General Stores at Swindon Works, 1941

Van loaded with waste paper from the General Stores at Swindon Works, 1941
Paper salvage was introduced by the Government at the outbreak of war in 1939. It was designed to encourage the recycling of materials to aid the war effort

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Standing down parade of 13th Battalion Home Guard, Swindon Works, 1944

Standing down parade of 13th Battalion Home Guard, Swindon Works, 1944
By the end of 1944 the threat of invasion from Germany became unlikely and it was decided that the Home Guard could be stood down

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Presentation of the Wiltshire Home Guard in 1944

Presentation of the Wiltshire Home Guard in 1944
This photograph shows the presentation of an award to Home Guard member Mr C Wheeler in April 1944. He was a member of the 13th Battalion of the Wiltshire Home Guard which was formed in 1943 to

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Bomb damage to No. 24 shop at Swindon Works in 1942

Bomb damage to No. 24 shop at Swindon Works in 1942
Swindon Works should have been a prime target for the German Luftwaffe, but the Works remained relatively unscathed from any air raids on the town

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Air raid damage to goods wagons at Newton Abbot Station in 1940

Air raid damage to goods wagons at Newton Abbot Station in 1940
On 20th August 1940 Newton Abbot Station was attacked by three German planes. This images shows the devastation that was caused by both bomb damage and extensive machine gun fire

Background imageThe Railway at War Collection: Mogul locomotive No. 8314 with bomb damage in 1941

Mogul locomotive No. 8314 with bomb damage in 1941
A 4300 Mogul locomotive, No. 8314, lies amongst the debris following an air raid in Weymouth on 17th January 1941. Star Class locomotive, Princess Charlotte



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