Author Archives: simonbatchelor2014

Armoured trains in the First World War

Fearing invasion in 1914, the government of the United Kingdom sought ways in which to protect our shores.  One of the measures mooted was the use of an armoured train based somewhere on the East Coast. The idea was that an … Continue reading

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The Last Campaign of the railway ships

In March 1918 a treaty between the Central Powers and the newly formed Bolshevik government of Russia was signed at Brest – Litovsk (now Brest in Belarus) which effectively ended the war on the Eastern Front. This had two major … Continue reading

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Maids of all work

So far in these blogs I have looked at what could be called the more glamorous jobs performed by ships requisitioned from the Railway Fleet, but the rapidly expanding Royal Navy also needed ships to perform the day to day … Continue reading

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Transporting the wounded: Railway ships as floating ambulances

At the outset of World War 1 the Admiralty requisitioned many ships from the fleets of Britain’s railway companies and their affiliates. These ships were converted to serve a number of purposes including the transport of wounded servicemen. Technically a … Continue reading

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Port of Richborough and the birth of the cross channel train ferry.

How to keep an army in the field supplied with sufficient arms, ammunition, food and other essential supplies to keep it effective is a fundamental question asked by all military commanders. The difficulty of this undertaking is increased when that … Continue reading

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The most dangerous job of all

Simon Batchelor, our Assistant Curator of Collections, continues to explore the impact of World War One on Britain’s railways. Of all the tasks carried out by railway owned ships minesweeping was the most vital; it was tedious, it was relentless but … Continue reading

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5th and 6th June: Two significant dates in wartime Railway Shipping

So far my blog posts have concentrated on the service given by railway owned ships during the First World War, but two significant anniversaries occur this week involving events in the Second War. June 5th marks the official end of operation Dynamo … Continue reading

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