THE rail industry has commemorated the thousands of railway workers who lost their lives during World War 1.
Network Rail, the Rail Delivery Group, Transport for London, the Railway Industry Association, Iarnród Éireann/Irish Rail, the RMT, ASLEF and TSSA were among the organisations at the Railway Workers Centenary Memorial Service, held at Southwark Cathedral yesterday. The event marked 100 years since a service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral which was attended by King George V to remember the contribution of the railways during the war, and particularly more than 20,000 railwaymen who died in service of their country.
HRH The Duke of Gloucester, who is the grandson of King George V, attended the service to pay his respect.. Among the other 597 guests were Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy and chief executive Andrew Haines as well as the families of many railway workers who lost their lives during the conflict.
Sir Peter Hendy said: ‘Over 100 years on from the end of World War 1, this memorial service was a great opportunity for the railway industry to come together and remember the hundreds of thousands of railway workers who served their country, over 20,000 of whom made the ultimate sacrifice. It was important to pay our respects to those workers, whose contribution will never be forgotten.’
Graham Wood, whose grandfather Wilfred Wood was awarded the Victoria Cross for his wartime service, was among the congregation.
He said: ‘My grandfather was a railwayman who won the Victoria Cross on 1918. I was delighted to be invited today, 100 years on, to remember him and the thousands of others who served their country.
‘Today is the first time I’ve worn the Victoria Cross to any event in all the years it’s been in the family. It’s been a lovely day out and I’ve enjoyed it very much.’
Southwark Cathedral was chosen to host the centenary service because of its long association with the nearby railway communities at London Bridge, Waterloo and Blackfriars.