The day at Sheffield Park started with the disapointment of hearing that SECR 178 had failed and was to be substituted with the BR Class 09 Diesel Shunter on the brake van rides. This did not seem to dampen the enthusiasm of demand!
At 10:30 the troops of the 10th Essex arrived at the front of Sheffield Park Station and paraded before falling out for a bit of R&R. they were back at intervals to give demonstrations of bayonet drill, complete with chilling yells!
A recruitment office was set up on the platform and every time a train arrived a new bunch of recruits were sworn in and took the King's shilling (chocolate of course!). They were then gven some basic drill training followed by a talk on the conditions in the Army. Finally Capt. Thrush gave a talk about the army logistics and the role of the railways and in particular the SECR locomotives sent to France.
At 2:15 a Guard of Honour was mounted by the 10th Essex prior to the unveiling of the tank to show the livery the loco carried exactly 100 years ago. the ceremony continued with Russell Pearce saying a few words before he and Graham Aitkin (Senior SM Sheffield Park) unveiled the tank. immediately following this the Chaplin read the Exultation, Clive laid a wreath and there was a two minute silence before the Guard of Honour was dismissed.
There was a lot of interest in the Matthew Coussins painting, and we sold 5 prints on the day. there was also a second print showing 27 in four different liveries, this also sold out on the day! if you would like copies of either print, please either see Matthew in the Railway Artists van at HK or we will have a further supply at the AGM.
The Commemorative badge was a great success and many disappeared from the stand during the day. if you would like one of these, we will have them with us on the special train on Sunday, at the Southern at War Weekend (Sunday only) and at the BRPS AGM.