Published By Ben Hillidge
At the time of the War ‘The Railways’ employed over 2000 staff and was the largest employer in the town. It was the railways and connections that was a major reason Oswestry became a garrison town and the construction of Park Hall Camp.
Oswestry has a rich railway heritage – link to Cambrian Heirtage Railway to learn more. An exhibition of Railway Heritage is on display at the Old Station Building and in Oswestry Transport Museum – in the Station yard. There are other buildings that remain, the old loco works, now Medical Centre, offices and shops, the footbridge and the open space of the loco yards.
In Oswestry the main operators were –
- Cambrian Railway – established its HQ at Oswestry in 1864. The railway served Mid Wales. Oswestry was an important base with goods and marshalling yards, locomotive and carriage works.
- Great Western Railway (GWR) – operated a station and goods yard and also used the loco works. The GWR and Cambrian amalgamated in January 1922.
The Men on the Gates did a variety of jobs, the majority employed by the Cambrian. There were a few skilled, professional engineers but most of the men worked as skilled labour; in the loco works as boiler makers, riveters, fitters, black smiths and metal workers; in the goods and yards as wagon lifters, porters and warehousemen; in the coach works as coach builders, painters, joiners and tarpaulin makers. There were also the ‘labourers’ doing the manual work and, in the offices, clerks and station staff.
Cambrian Railway War Memorial – now in Cae Glas Park, once at the Station, lists the names of Cambrian employees and casualties of war. Many of the names also appear on the Memorial Gates Click Cambrian Heritage Railway WW1 for the names and more information. There is also a Roll of Honour which lists all employees who served in the Forces. Link to Cambrian Railway Memorial.
Private 7078 William A (Alfred) Collins, 6 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. -Employed as a labourer
Lance Corporal 69737 Ernest Ratcliffe Coole, Royal Fusiliers posted to 2/2 Bn London Regiment. – At Talgarth working as Railway Clerk
Second Lieutenant Charles A (Albert) Davies, 7 Bn South Wales Borderers. Railway Clerk with Cambrian Railway, also his brother John a Railway Clerk.
Private 360264 Ralph Evans, 1/10 Bn The King’s Liverpool Regiment (Liverpool Scottish). clerk in Charles A Davies –Secretary’s Office, Cambrian HQ
Captain Eric Guy Harries, 1/7 Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers. – Apprentice engineer
Second Lieutenant Charles H Hughes, 14 Bn Welsh Regiment apprentice engineer
Private 33082 Frank Jones, 6 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. – a Warehouseman, Cambrian Railways
Private 12260 William Jones, 6 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. Railway Porter and Gardener; Temporary Railway Porter at Cambrian
Private 12268 William E Lewis, 6 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. – Apprentice Coach body maker and joiner working
Private 15749 William H Lewis, 6 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. – Fireman, Cambrian
Lance Corporal 8209 Thomas Mills, 1/1Bn. Herefordshire Regiment, – a booking clerk at Rhayder on the Cambrian Railway
Private 12352 Harry H (Heritage) Owen, 6 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. – Blacksmith & Engine fitter
Private 12294 Arthur Roberts, 6 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. Boiler makers Labourer. Also his brother Herbert Roberts was Iron moulder labourer
Sergeant 12269 Alfred R Smith,6 Bn Shropshire Light Infantry. – Apprentice coach painter
Sergeant 718 Henry Tudor, 4 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. a wagon lifter – jacking up or lifting railway wagons and coaches to change wheels.
Lance Corporal 200077 Samuel Vaughan, 1/4 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. – Machinist. Also his brother Edwin employed as wagon builder.
Pioneer 130317 William Boylin, 2nd Special Battalion Royal Engineers. – A former employ of the Cambrian Railways working as a vanman for the Whitchurch Coperative Society at the time he joined up.
Sergeant 200073 William Pryce Davies, 1/4 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. – Coach builder – cabinet maker – served his time in the carriage department of the Cambrian Railway and prior to enlistment was in the employ of Messrs S Aston an Son Ltd (Cabinet Makers)
Corporal 1590 Rowland Evans, 4 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. Apprentice Railway Carriage builder/ Joiner
Private 158 Edward Farmer, 4 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. – Iron moulder and then a Carter for mineral water manufacturer. Possibly changed jobs due to TB/ chest problems?
Private 10493 William P Jones, 2 Bn Coldstream Guards (2 Coy). – Blacksmith striker
Private 6953 PercyPhillips, 5 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. Formerly Railway Painter
Private 28541 Richard Roberts, 10 Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Assistant Boiler Maker. his father, a Boiler Tube) and brother, William, a blacksmith striker. He moved to work at Cammell Laird, shipbuilders on the River Mersey
Private 17435 Richard Vaughan, 5 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. wagon builders apprentice but left to be a general labourer.
Railway – Employer not known
Private 2261 Bert (James Bertram) Whiteley, 1/7 Bn Manchester Regiment a boiler riveter and an iron turner
Private 47268 Joseph (Henry) Whiteley, 19 Bn Manchester Regiment, a boiler riveter and an iron turner
Private 2031 Arthur Llew(elyn) Davies, 1/6 Bn Manchester Regiment. Railway Clerk = poss with GWR
Private 15348 Robert T Jones, 6 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. Railway Porter-father a signal man brother a clerk with railway
Private 59956 John E Bullock, 24 Bn Welsh Regiment. Merthyr where he was working as a platelayer or labourer maintaining tracks and then worked as a stoker/ fireman also for GWR.
Private 55318 Edward D (Delme) Evans, 2 Bn Welsh Regiment. Prior to enlistment he was employed on GWR.
Private 12273 Frank E Jordan, 1 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. – Traffic Department Oswestry (Also his father as GWR worker)
Second Lieutenant BR (Benjamin Richard) Corley Rogers, 3 Bn Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), – GWR Records show him starting at Oswestry before moving to Wrexham as a Railway Clerk in ‘Passengers’
Private 39395 Bertie Cross, 16 Bn Lancashire Fusiliers. – (POSSIBLY) Goods Porter, Manchester
Private 7121 Samuel Richard Lawrence, 1 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. Apprentice boiler maker at Manchester – at Cambrian works and then GWR Goods shed at Pontypool Station.
Glyn Valley Tramway.
Glyn Valley Tramway link to Glyn Valley Tramway web site
Lance Corporal 23734 Trevor K Jenkins, 11 Bn Suffolk Regiment. His father George Morse Jenkins had been manager of the Glyn Valley Tramway.
Great Western Railways
Private 17261 Frank Buckle St Martin’s & west Felton WM – worked at Gobowen Station
London & North Eastern Railway
Lieutenant Herbert Parsons, 10 Bn West Yorkshire. Rgt. (Prince of Wales’s Own). Civil engineer at LNER York previously apprenticeship with Mr Owen Owen Cambrian Railways Oswestry.
London & North Western Railway
Private 17061 Charles Clifford Judge, 5 Bn King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. apprenticeship as a boiler maker. father worked as engine fitter, brotheran engine cleaner both with LNW,
Queensland Railways – Australia
Private 4234 Rueben Williams, 26 Bn Australian Infantry. – Engine driver