TIME TABLE FOR VICTORY, BRITISH RAILWAYS WAR HISTORY 1939-45, by Evan John (E. J. SIMPSON) The British Railways, 1947 [ebook]

£3.95

Hard back book, blue cloth boards, 9”x 6”, pp.268, frontispiece, Churchill shaking hands with loco driver, 56 B&W half tone photos, 14 maps and diagrams, plus folding map to rear.

Description

The four main railway companies each published a history of their wartime service. The GWR – always a cat that preferred to walk by itself was first off the mark with two, the first before the war was over, the second dealing with the service of its ships in Operation Dynamo, came out the following year-

 

The Un-Beaten Track by Collie Knox, with Message from the Prime Minister, Cassell and Company, 1944[ebook]

Dunkirk and the Great Western, by Ashley Brown, Great Western Railway, 1945 [ebook]

Next came histories from the Southern, and the LMS. The Southern’s suffered fro being written by a golf reporter, unemployed as so many courses were given over to “Dig For Victory” and travel to the USA  for the frivolous business of writing about golf was forbidden. Darwin was clearly out of his comfort zone, and one feels sorry for whoever Public Relations Officer Cuthbert Grasemann deputed to be his minder.

Nashe’s book for the LMS is much better, benefits from a larger format, and has some splendid colour illustrations

War on the Line, by Bernard Darwin, Southern Railway Company London 1946 [ebook]

The LMS at War, by G.C, Nash, London Midland and Scottish Railway, 1946. [ebook]

Last but by no means least came the LNER’S contribution, written by a noted economic journalist, it is rather more serious in tone mentioning the cost of the war to the railways and with nationalisation on the horizon should be seen as part of the LNER campaign to ensure a fair deal for shareholders.

By Rail to Victory – the story of the LNER in Wartime, by Norman Crump, London & North Eastern Railway 1947 [ebook]

The four companies, while continuing, on a much reduced scale to promote their own businesses, as early as 1940, were advertising as “The British Railways” and they established a joint Press Office.

This organisation, lately run by George Dow pruduced two very well illustrated booklets covering the network as a whole.

British Railways in Peace and War, by Anon., British Railways Press Office, Waterloo Station, 1944 [ebook]

Now it Can be Revealed, More About British Railways in Peace and War, by Anon., (George Dow) British Railways Press Office, Palace Chambers, Bridge Street, Westminster, London, 1945 [ebook]

It can be said that the individual company war histories give a tactical view of the railway at war, but TIME TABLE FOR VICTORY is a strategic study, which illustrates the herculean task undertaken by the Railway Executive Committee in co-ordinating the entire effort. It is very well written and contains some unusual material, like the LUFTWAFFE aerial photograph of a failed attack on the Forth Bridge.

 

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