SOUTH EASTERN & CHATHAM RAILWAY
Railway Works Rolls of Honour
Mechanical Engineer’s Department
Great War 1914 – 1918
The South Eastern
& Chatham Railway (CME’s department) Rolls of Honour bear
testament to the enduring sacrifices made by the staff and employee’s
of the Ashford Railway Works who served in His Majesty’s colours
during the Great War.
originally hung in the CME’s Office at the former Ashford
Railway Works. They remained there until the Railway Works were
closed down in the early 1980’s bringing 100 years of Ashford’s
railway heritage to an abrupt and disappointing end.
The rolls can
be viewed in the Railway Room at Ashford Library. They hang on the
wall quite high up which presents a problem for those interested
in carrying out research on the men’s names.
The first and
second rolls are of men who served and survived the war. They do
include some men’s names who went on to lose their lives.
The third roll is of men who fell in the service of their king and
G.H Pearson was appointed as the Works Manager of the Ashford (SE&CR)
Locomotive Yards. It was Pearson who actually ran the Ashford railway
works on a day to day basis. Of course Pearson reported to Maunsell
who headed the C.M.E’s department from offices in the railway
works and from SE&CR offices at London. It is thought that Maunsell
had a small office in Ashford but that he spent most of his time
in the London.
Ashford Railway Works was of vital importance to the operation of
the South Eastern & Chatham Railway and indeed to the UK war
effort as a whole. As well as storing and maintaining the equipment
needed to keep the railway lines open, the Ashford works and its
skilled workers designed and manufactured rolling stock, carriages
and steam locomotives. During the war years Maunsell continued to
strive to modernise the railway with the introduction of the “N”
class moguls and he re-built and modernised versions of the earlier
is almost unkown that the Ashford Railway Works contributed to the
war effort in many other ways. Throughout the war years the works
manufactured damping gear for 18lb artillery guns and constructed
various innovative railway based artillery platforms. Indeed by
1916 this kind of non railway related work reached as high as £80,000
a month and by October 1917 the monthly figure was approaching £104,000.