“Wallace Arnold Oakes (deceased), Locomotive Driver, British Railway Board Crewe (Sandbach). Mr Oakes left Crewe driving the steam locomotive of a relief express passenger train. The train consisted of ten coaches and was reasonably well filled with passengers. When about seven miles from Crewe travelling at nearly sixty miles per hour the engine cab was suddenly filled with smoke and flames blowing back from the firebox. The fireman at once climbed through the side window and somehow managed to get on the cab steps where he extinguished his burning clothing by rubbing himself against the plating. He could not see into the cab but realising the brake had been applied he remained on the step until the train stopped. The flames subsided at once and he-entered the cab to find that Oakes was missing; he saw him lying on the cutting slope just ahead of the cab. His clothing was severely burnt and the flesh beneath had suffered similar to an extent described later as 80 percent of the body. Oakes was however still able to speak at that stage but was dazed. The first person to make an inspection of the controls was a fireman from an up train which was stopped to pick up the injured men. He found the brake fully applied, the regulator partly open an the blower valve open. It seems apparent therefore that Driver Oakes instead of quitting the cab as soon as the blow-back occurred remained to apply the brake, open the blower and probably close the regulator partly. The position in which he was found shows that he did not leave the engine until it had come to rest. Mr Oakes must have been aware that to remain at the controls of the locomotive was a grave risk to his own life. Nevertheless he applied the brake full and took all the measures he could to reduce the effect of the blow-back. Mr Oakes gallant action showed that his first thought was for the safety of his passengers and he thereby sacrificed his life, for he died a week later. He set an outstanding example of devotion to duty and of public service.”
Sadly, he was buried in an unmarked grave in St Matthew’s Churchyard, Haslington, Cheshire. Since his death, Wally Oakes GC has had two locomotives named after him, and there is a plaque in his memory at Crewe Railway Station.
The headstone took a campaign through a national Railway Magazine to raise the funds to be erected. It came about through a request that Mark Green had from the magazine for a picture of Wally as his medals were being sold (bought by Railway Museum in York) and they didn’t know he was in an unmarked grave.
My visit to Stroud in September 2017 was somewhat of a disaster, although a number of goals were achieved. One of those goals was to photograph any war memorials that I would see on my way. Unfortunately the Stroud War Memorial was in an area which was far removed from where I ended up but one day I may return. As far as I can see it is situated at 51.747915°, -2.214784°.
The major war memorial that I saw was in St Laurence Church in Stroud, and the World War 1 section was remarkably legible.
Flanking this central Roll of Honour are the names for the Second World War. A Book of Remembrance is kept in a glass case near the memorial.
My next memorial I found in The Holy Trinity Church which I passed on my way to the cemetery. The memorial looks like it was made from alabaster and it had a screen blocking off the best view. The two windows on either side of it confused my camera too.
A shot from the side did leave me with a more legible Roll of Honour so all is not lost.
That was my collection from Stroud. I will have to return one day to get the war memorial and revisit Painswick. Just not this year.
The first was outside the parish church of Saint Mary in Painswick.
The memorial is surrounded by Yew trees, and I believe that there are 99 of them in this churchyard! unfortunately the weather was grey and gloomy and I did not take as many images as I would have liked. It was designed by Arts and Craft architect Frederick Landseer Maur Griggs and was erected in 1921 and commemorates the men from Painswick who lost their lives in the two world wars.
The weathering of the stone has made the memorial hard to read, so it may be easier to have a look at the memorial inside the church.
What makes this memorial interesting is that it not only commemorates those who lost their lives in the two wars, but also those who served in it. The gold engraved names are of the former. I have darkened portions of the image to enhance legibility,
It is a nice touch to know that all of those who served are on the ROH, and it is one of the few occasions that I have seen it done. Unfortunately though there were chairs in front of the memorial so I was unable to get all of the plaques. I was also pressed for time so could not be picky about my pics. The one thing I do know is that the village lost a lot of men in the wars, and I expect this church was the centre of the many memorial services that would have been be as a result of the wartime deaths.
“George Hinckley, Able Seaman of Her Majesty’s sloop “Sphinx.” Date of Act of Bravery, 9th October, 1862
On 9 October 1862 at Fenghua, China, Able Seaman Hinckley of HMS Sphinx volunteered to go to the rescue of the assistant master of the Sphinx, who was lying in the open severely wounded. The able seaman went out under heavy and continuous fire and carried the assistant master to the shelter of a jess-house 150 yards (140 m) away. He then returned and carried a wounded army captain to safety.”
He is buried in Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth, Devon.
This memorial to the soldiers of East Rand Proprietary Mines Boksburg, who lost their lives during World War 1, is to be found in the South East corner of the intersection between Main Reef Road and Pretoria/Comet Rds. The image was taken by Peter Moss and is used with his permission. There are 4 ROH plaques on the memorial (3 plaques not shown)
The small building in the background is part of the old mine offices from one of the many mines that were consolidated into ERPM under Sir George Farrar, whose name appears first on the memorial.
The first plaque on the memorial
Sir George Farrar is buried in a small plot close to Bedfordview.
The grave of Sir George Farrar at Bedford Farm
At some point the buildings shown in the background were being demolished without the requisite permission, although the demolition was halted it left the structures in a derelict condition. The previous owner of the mining village site erected concrete palisade fencing parallel to Comet Road, which cut off access to the war memorial. It is not known (2018) what the situation is like now. However, this memorial is in danger of suddenly disappearing and is now being added to my extinct list. More information regarding the 2016 situation may be found at the Heritage Portal