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Goods Handling Personnel

Links to the various grades:

Goods Checkers
Goods Clerks
Goods Guards
Parcels Porters
Porter Shunters

Selected biographies:

J P Askew
A E Aston
W Bowles
F Buckingham
H A Darby
R Harris
J W Hutchings
J W Kingston
J Malin
J Sheppard
H Stacey
J T Tidyman
H P Venn
C E Wadley
F Watkins
J W Watkins
F G Weaver

This section deals with six grades as listed in the left margin. Taken together they reflect the changes, indeed increase, in the handling of good traffic at Ashchurch, where there was a large goods depot with a marshalling yard south of the Tewkesbury-Teddington road and east of the mainline. The railway information is derived mainly from the station lists of the railway's Coaching Department, except in the case of guards, where the source is the records of the Commercial Handling Department.


The following shows the dates on which the various posts were established. There were three phases, the first with a porter by 1871, then increases in posts in the mid-1870s (parcels porters, clerk and checkers), and again in the 1890s (guards and porter shunters, and additional clerk and checker).

Goods/Parcels Porters

In 1871, perhaps also a few years before, there was a goods porter post at Ashchurch. Two Parcels Porter Posts were established in the mid-1870s and the Goods Porter post disappeared. These two posts were closed in the 1890s but were soon replaced with new posts with the same title.

Goods Clerks

A goods clerk post was initiated in 1876 with an assistant clerk following in 1896

Goods Checkers

Two goods checker posts were established, one in 1878, the second in 1896

Goods Guards

A goods guard, later becoming Head Guard, appeared in 1891 with two under-guards the following year. A third under-guard was appointed in 1902

Porter Shunters

Three porter shunters were appointed in 1893, this being the ongoing standard complement

Yard Foreman

A yard foreman, seemingly in charge of the goods yard, came into being in about 1900

In the early 1900s therefore the establishment of goods posts at Ashchurch was a yard foreman, a clerk and assistant clerk, two checkers, a guard and two under guards, two parcels porters and three porter shunters. All the grades except clerks appear regularly in the railway's list of accidents across the network, though not, as far as is known, including any Ashchurch employees. Here they are listed as employed by the Traffic Department. The nature of many of the accidents, for example falling from a wagon, being crushed between buffers etc, is compatible with work such as loading and unloading parcels etc and shunting in the marshalling yard.

There were also an unknown number of engine drivers, perhaps one or two, living in Ashchurch. Given that Ashchurch was not a terminus station for passenger traffic it is possible that these were used in the goods yards, perhaps for shunting operations. They are somewhat sketchy and are detailed in a separate section.

Goods/Parcel Porters

A goods porter post dates from at least 1872. By about 1880 this disappeared, apparently replaced by a new post, called Parcels Porter, which had been created in 1877 and filled by an existing porter. A second Parcels Porter post had been created, also in 1877, by retitling the Machine Youth post. The two Parcels Porter posts were then filled mainly by assistant porters from elsewhere. They came to an end in 1892/3, the first changed to Porter Shunter, the second to (standard) porter. Two new Parcels Porter posts were soon created, the first from an existing porter post in 1893, the second from a recently created Porter Signal post in 1902. These differed from the first two in that they were mainly funded not by assistant porters from elsewhere but by men already porters and serving at Ashchurch itself.

All the holders of the goods/parcels porter posts were short term, staying only a year or two before resigning or moving to another station Because of this only a few were captured in the censuses, and all of these were young men, unmarried and lodging in the village, presumably valid for all those who served thus.

NameJoined Ashchurch frompay incrementsnext known posting
Stone C   18724/1/76 Tewkesbury quay porter
Tallyn T 4/1/76 Grenville Street, signal porter
Redman W 15/5/77 Ashchurch porter1877 resigned 27/1/78
Bowles W19/2/78 Ashchurch porter1878,79c1880 Ashchurch goods checker
September 1877, apparently new Parcels Porter Post created
Anning C 12/9/77Ashchurch, asst porter; 1878 resigned 19/6/78
Sallis W   1878-80 St Pancras
Turner S Wixford, asst porter; 1881 resigned 7/5/82
Tainton J4/7/82 resigned 14/4/83
Smith A14/6/83, Wadborough, asst Porter1884Leicester
Evans J W6/1/84, Kimberley, asst porter 18/3/86 Langley Mill number taker
Quiney A16/7/85, Charfield, asst porter188518/2/86 Hitchen porter
Fleming W18/2/86 Idridgehay asst porter188616/12/86 Sharpness asst porter
Wicks FC20/1/87 unknown188716/8/88 Ashchurch porter
Allen E16/8/88 Studley asst porter 16/5/89 Gt Malvern lamp porter
Roper F16/5/89 Malvern Wells machine youth discharged 2/11/89
Healey J14/11/89 Wadborough asst porter resigned 14/12/89
Wilson TJ19/12/89 unknown resigned 3/3/90
Washbourne NW17/7/90 unknown1891-93
grade altered to Porter Shunter 12/5/93
October 1877, new Parcels Porter Post generated from existing Machine Youth post
Smith WGAshchurch machine youth1878-801/3/81 Ashchurch porter
Court A1/3/81 Ashchurch asst porter18837/12/83 Ashchurch porter
Clutterbuck7/12/83 Iron Acton asst porter188416/7/85 Ashchurch porter
Hartle D16/7/85188615/4/87 Ashchurch porter
Webb O G15/4/87 Coaley Jnc asst porter 19/5/87 Sharpness asst porter
Smith DJ19/5/87 Spetchley asst porter18876/8/88 Didsbury goods porter
Badham W16/8/88 Shirebrook asst porter1889resigned 18/10/85
Jennings W14/11/89 Dudding Hill asst porter1889,9019/4/91 Wickwar porter
Holden EE19/11/91 Stonehouse gateboy called upon to resign 3/2/92
post becomes (standard) porter
1893: new Parcels Porter post generated from existing Porter post
Hepworth G15/6/93Ripley parcels delivery porter18938/4/97 Redland Joint
Smith A17/6/97Ashchurch porter1897-9818/1/1900 Ashchurch porter shunter
Williams EH18/1/1900 Ashchurch porter1900Gloucester
Williams G17/10/01 Ashchurch signal porter  resigned 10/07/02
Harris E16/10/02 Gt Malvern asst porter resigned 19/3/03
Winn LW16/4/03Ashchurch porter1904Gloucester
King G12/8/07 Fishponds porter shunter 17/10/07 Fishponds porter shunter
Smith W G17/10/07 Ashchurch porter  
1901: new Parcels Porter post generated from recently created Porter Signal post
Tandy WC17/10/01 Ashchurch porter1902 
Gregory FJAshchurch porter1903 

Because of their transient nature very few of these were captured in the ten-yearly census or in local records. The few that were are no doubt typical of them all, young men, unmarried, boarding in Ashchurch, usually in the railway cottages:-

Albert Court188115railway porterAshton-under-Hill, Gloucs
Martin Washbourne189118railway porterCleeve, Gloucs
William Jennings189119railway porterFaringdon, berks
William Tandy190122railway porterWorcestershire
John Williams190120railway porterMorriston, Monmth

Harry Predith Venn.

Harry, his second name his mother's maiden name, was was too late in post to have been seen in the available listing of Ashchurch staff, but appears in the Midland Railway 'For King and Country' document as a parcels porter from Ashchurch who enlisted in the armed forces in 1914. He wass born in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, in 1893, his father a [railway] fireman who would by 1901 become an engine driver. He was at home in 1901 and also in 1911, with his widowed mother and without occupation. When he volunteered for army service in September 1914 he was a railway porter. Railway sources associate him with Ashchurch and confirm his grade.

He enlisted with the Gloucestershire Regiment, and was very quickly appointed Corporal and then Sergeant. He was posted to the 9th Battalion which had been formed as part of the Kitchener initiative. He served in Belgium, France, perhaps Italy, and Salonika. His service was beset by illness, which included a spell in hospital in England, and finally he was transferred to the Labour Corps in France. These illnesses were declared the reason for a disability judgement on release.

After the war he returned to his mother's address in Tewkesbury. When he married in 1928, in Ashchurch, he was still a railway porter and in 1929 was living in one of the railway cottages at Ashchurch station. Here he remained until at least 1955. In the 1960s he had moved to a new address (Fox Cobble) in Ashchurch and died in 1969 at the age of 75.

Charles Edwin Wadley

Like Harry Venn (above) Charles appears in the Midland Railway 'For King and Country' list. He was born and baptised in Drybrook, Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, in 1889, his father Charles a limeburner. In 1901 and 1911 he was at home in Stonehouse, his father a [railway] platelayer, and Charles on the latter date a station porter. He had joined the Midland Railway probably in 1906 and progressed from machine-lad through assistant porter to full porter. He was probably in Ashchurch in 1914 when he enlisted in Tewkesbury into the armed forces. Two of his documents give his occupation as porter and shunter, with the Midland Railway For King and Country document showing him as a parcels porter. He served first in the infantry then the railway troops of the Royal Engineers and was posted to France. Details of his service can be found here . He returned to Ashchurch after the war, was working as a porter there when he married in Stonehouse in 1921. He then lived with his wife at Aston-on-Carrant in Ashchurch to at least 1928. The next information is his death in the Forest of Dean in 1962 the age of 73.

Goods Checkers

The post of Goods Checker was first seen in February 1878 with a second post established in 1896. Vacancies were filled by porters and shunters, perhaps suggesting that this was a manual rather than clerical post and probably in the goods yard or shed. They were usually men already working at Ashchurch. What was unusual about the first post was that, instead of a stream of incumbents, it was filled by just two men between 1876 and probably the 1930s. The first of them was only replaced because he died. The occupants of the second post were more typically short-term before moving on.

NameJoined Ashchurch frompay incrementsnext known posting
First Post
Bowles William c1880 Ashchurch goods porter 1881/95 died 12/9/96
Harris R 19/11/96 Ashchurch, porter guard and shunter 1897/99/1901/02  
Second Post
Salisbury A E 19/11/96 Defford, porter
new post
 17/12/96 Ashchurch, porter signalman
Tidyman J T 14/10/97 Ashchurch porter shunter1898/99/190020/7/1900 Ashchurch yard foreman
Shepherd S S 26/7/1900 Ashchurch porter 1901/02 resigned 28/10/02
Taylor G H 20/11/02 Dursley goods porter 1902/03/04/05 left 1/11/07
Malin J 16/8/06 Ashchurch porter shunter 1907 see biography below

Selected biographies:

William Bowles was born in Droitwich in 1849. He was appointed as a porter at Ashchurch in 1876 at the age of 27. He became a goods porter there in 1878 and then a goods checker probably about 1880, a post which he held until his death in 1896 at the age of 47. He was unusual in staying in the one post for so many years. However, he was more mature than the standard new entrant, a married man and aged 27 on appointment. A Mrs Bowles, presumably his wife, took on the job of office cleaner at Ashchurch station in Decenber 1891, resigning in 1896 a month after her husband's death.

Robert Harris was born in Dumbleton, Gloucestershire, in 1867 or 1868, his father Thomas an agricultural worker. In 1881 Robert was still at home, also a farm worker. In 1990 he took up a post as a porter at Ashchurch, lodging in one of the railway cottages at the station. In 1893 his grade was changed to 'porter, guard and shunter' and three years later he was appointed to one of the goods checker posts. He married locally in 1900 and the following year was living in Aston-on-Carrant, a railway worker. Children were born between 1904 and 1910 in Northway. From 1912 to 1914 he was again in Aston. He was still there after the war, at first in 2 Council Cottages, later in Pamington. He was still a railway worker when a daughter was married in Ashchurch in 1930. His death was registered in Cheltenham, now the registration centre for Ashchurch, in 1949 at the age of 82. Although he appears in railway documents as a goods checker, elsewhere (census and daughter's marriage certificate) it is simply as a railway worker or servant.

John Thomas Tidyman See under Yard Foreman below

James Malin must be the James Frederick Malin who was born in the Evesham, Worcestershire, district in 1877, though all other records seen show just the one given name. In 1881 he was living with the family of his grandfather, an agricultural labourer. He joined the Midland Railway in 1896 at the age of 18 when he was appointed as an assistant porter at Bengeworth, near Evesham. In 1898 he took up a new post as town office porter in Cheltenham. Two years later he became a porter at Ashchurch, where he would settle. In 1901 he was appointed as a porter shunter and in 1906 a goods checker, still in Ashchurch, a post that he was still filling in 1911.

In 1907 he married in Ashchurch and there was at least one son. He was still in Ashchurch in 1918, occupying one of the railway cottages at the station. But in 1919 his wife Eleanor was listed as a lone householder, in Aston-on-Carrant, typical of widowed status. She married again, in Ashchurch, in 1922. James must be the James Malin whose death was registered in Aston, near Birmingham, in the last quarter of 1918. He was 44.

Goods Clerks
and assistants

The post of goods clerk was created in 1876. For the first ten years it was occupied by a succession of youths aged 14 or 15 on their first appointment with the Midland Railway. Thereafter it was filled by people brought in from elsewhere already in employment with the railway. In all cases tenure was short, the occupants soon passing on to other stations on the network. This post was used by both stationmasters (Lewin and Watkins) as a means of providing their sons with an initial job with the railway. This was done in the case of Watkins through the newly created assistant Goods Clerk post, see below.

NameJoined Ashchurch frompay incrementsnext known posting
Pritchard David4/1/76first appt (age 15)   18/7/76 Clay Cross, booking clerk
Hodges Harry Price8/7/76first appt (age 14) 1877/78/796/1/80 Hucknell, goods clerk
Kitton Charles Gooch14/10/79 first appt (age 15) 1880/81/82 resigned 17/11/83
Norman Thomas10/12/81 first appt (age 15)  resigned 31/7/82
Miles Gilbert Brydon17/10/82 first appt (age 15) 14/6/83 Stanton Gate, booking clerk
Baldwin C4/6/83unknown  resigned 26/6/83
Marshall William Gregory5/10/83 first appt (age 15)  resigned 12/12/83
Lewin W G31/3/84 first appt (age 15) 1884/85/8630/7/86 Stonehouse, goods clerk
Lewin E A30/7/86 first appt (age 15) 1887/882/11/88 Sharpness, booking clerk
Johnson W G16/8/88 Hitchen, machine youth 1889/90/91Ashchurch, booking clerk
Exell F W18/6/91 unknown 189119/5/92 Warmley, clerk
Hardwick F L17/3/92 Weston MHB, machine youth 1892/3/4/6 16/9/97 Barnoldwick, clerk
Stafford E A16/9/97 Tewkesbury asst good clerk 1895,1899unknown to Gloucester
Brooks W H19/11/00 Nailsworth vlerk 1900/01/0220/11/02 Stoke Works clerk
Wilkinson J W18/12/02 Staple Hill clerk  unknown to Millersdale
Watkins F C12/2/03 Ashchurch (asst gds clk)(see below) 1903 twice19/10/05 Beckford, asst goods clerk
Cooper F C20/7/05 Ashchurch (asst gds clk)(see below) 190616/8/06 Studley, clerk
Watkins J W16/8/06 Ashchurch (asst gds clk)(see below)1906/0715/5/08 Ashchurch booking clerk
Willcox W H15/2/08 unknown  12/2/06 Beckford, asst good clerk

(Assistant) Goods Clerk

A new post of Assistant Goods Clerk was established in 1896. From 1898 to 1908 it was called Goods Clerk, like the post already established, though still with the considerable lower salary. The initial three occupants were new appointments on the railways, aged 15 and 16, the first two of which were very short-tern, the third in post for some three years before moving to the railway's superintendent's staff in Derby. Thereafter each of the stationmaster's two sons were given a position here when they reached age 15 and before they then moved onto the established goods clerk post. One of them then moved on to become a booking clerk in Ashchurch. There was a gap between the two which was conveniently (?) filled by FC Cooper, son of a signalman; he also followed the path to the main post before moving away in time for the second Watkins son to follow him. It is almost as if this post was created to provide the stationmaster's sons with a posting when they reached 15. Whereas stationmaster Lewin had been able to place his sons directly into the Goods Clerk post, that post was now not being filled by first appointment men.

NameJoined Ashchurch frompay incrementsnext known posting
Askew J P19/11/96 first appointment   resigned 4/1/97
Darby H A18/3/97 first appointment   called upon to resign 30/12/97
Cook L J20/1/98 unknown 1898/99/190112/8/1901 Derby Supt Staff, gen parcels clerk
Watkins F C17/10/01 first appointment1901/0212/2/03 Ashchurch, goods clerk (see above)
Cooper F C19/2/031903/04/04unknown Ashchurch, goods clerk (see above)
Watkins J W20/7/05 first appointment190516/8/06 Ashchurch, goods clerk (see above)
Cook F A16/8/06 190712/2/08 Bromsgrove, clerk
Roff H G15/5/08 Bromsgrove machine youth  [clerk in Moseley in 1914]

Selected biographies

James Percival Askew is presumably the person of that name born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in 1879. Following his resignation in Ashchurch he clearly left railway service, and in 1911 he was living in Hastings and working as the assistant secretary to the Tariff Reform League in London.

Henry Augustus Darby was born in Derbyshire and after he was required to resign from his post in Ashchurch he returned to his county of birth. But he did not leave railway employment altogether. In 1911 he was wine cellarman for the Midland Railway hotels.

Frederick Watkins, first son of the stationmaster, was born in Ashchurch, and after serving as assistant goods clerk and goods clerk left Ashchurch and was a clerk at Stonehouse in 1911. In 1915 he was in Stroud, still Gloucestershire, where he remained until 1922. Nothing is known of any war service. After this he was in Woodchester until at least 1927, resident at Station House and thus perhaps stationmaster. Nothing further is yet known.

Frederick Watkins, son of stationmaster James, was working as a goods clerk at Achchurch in 1901 at the age of 14. Ten years later he was still a railway clerk, now married and living in Stonehouse, and in 1915 in Stroud, Gloucestershire. No details of service in World War 1 are known. His appearance as a voter in 1918, a resident rather than 'absent military' might suggest that he did not serve, or if he did, he was released early. He was still there after the war until 1922, after which he moved to an address at Woodchester Station, described one year as Station House. Perhaps he was stationmaster. He was there until at least 1927. Two possible daughters are known, births registered in Stroud with mother's maiden name Smith: Iris R E in 1914 and Kathleen M H in 1925. People with these names later married, respectively, in the Cheltenham district in 1935 and the Stroud district in 1950. If these were indeed Frederick's daughters this could indicate that he and his family remained in Gloucestershire after 1927.

James William Watkins followed his older brother to become a goods clerk but then remained in Ashchurch as a booking clerk. His subsequent career took him to the highest levels of management with the railways after World War 2, and on the way a much decorated army service in World War 1. This is a lengthy description and is shown separately here.

Goods Guards

Goods Guard posts existed in Ashchurch from 1891, and by the first decade of the twentieth century there was an establishment of one head guard and three under guards. The Head Guard post was established in 1891, with two under guards following on the same date the following year. Further under guards were recruited in 1893 and 1894 but these posts were short-lived. An additional under guard from 1902 created the establishment of three which continues to at least 1911.

As with other posts in Ashchurch these were filled by a succession of men who stayed for a short time before moving on elsewhere. After the turn of the century postings were longer, perhaps with older men. In the case of the under-guards it has been impossible to find earlier information. Most came in from the Goods Department, presumably at Derby, and were perhaps young men on their first posting. Those from elsewhere were at a station to which they had been posted from the Goods Department. Most of them moved on from Ashchurch to become head guards elsewhere. For the few that were living in Ashchurch in 1901 and 1911 and thus appear in the censuses of those years some curriculum vitae can be ascertained which may show the type of people recruited. These are discussed after the table below.

The railway information for this group comes from the listing of the Commercial Handling Department of the Midland Railway, covering the years 1880 to about 1905. The rank sometimes appears on the general list of accidents across the network, with guards and under-guards shown as employed by the Traffic Department. This was the case with Edmund Rutter, a shunter at Bristol who was injured there in 1893 during shunting operations and who could be the E Rutter who was later at Ashchurch (in the table below).

NameJoined Ashchurch frompay incrementsnext known posting
Head Guards
Williamson C4/12/91 Lifford under-guard 1892-95 unknown
Smith F ex Goods Depot 2x1897 27/7/1899, Bristol
Margrett WJ 16/2/99 from below1899-1904unknown
Kingston J Wdetails uncertain except pay rise from 16 to 17 shillings 9/7/1902
Under Guards
post transferred from Gloucester
Beevers F 18/2/92, Gloucester, under-guard   Camp Hill
Chambers W 16/3/1893 Swansea under-guard   unknown
Ashby F 15/3/1894 Swansea under-guard   Birmingham (head guard)
Hackett G 14/3/1895, goods dept   3/5/1895 murdered
Rudder E 19/3/1896, goods dept   unknown
Pane E 17/2/1898, goods dept   16/2/1899 Birmingham Lawley (head guard)
Taylor JH 16/2/1899, goods dept  Manchester
Williams GH 15/2/1900, goods dept 190014/2/1901 Birmingham Lawley (head guard)
Aston AE 14/2/1901, Hasland goods guard   20/3/1902 Birmingham Lawley (head guard)
Walker GJ 20/2/1902, goods depot 1902, 1903  
Cocks A 19/1/1905, Bromsgrove underguard    
post transferred from Bristol
Ludwell H A 18/2/1892, Bristol   19/1/1894, goods dept
Stanley (D) 19/3/1895, goods dept   15/3/1898, Birmingham187
Bird J W 17/2/1898, goods dept   16/2/99 Birmingham Lawley (head guard)
Chester E 16/2/1899, goods dept    
Buckingham F 15/2/1900, goods dept 1901, 1902 20/1/1902 Worcester
Jeanes W 20/2/1902, Studley, porter/yardsman 1903, 1904 19/12/1907 Skipton (head guard)
Walker CH 15/8/1907, Bristol    
(new post)
Martin T H 16/3/1893, goods dept    
Evans J 15/3/1894, goods dept    
Sadler Q 14/12/1896, Staveley, u-guard   Gloucester (head guard)
Margrett W 17/2/1898, goods dept   to above
Woodfield Z 16/2/1899, goods dept   Yate
post transferred (to unknown)
new post
Ward G 19/4/1894, goods depot   14/3/1895 Bromsgrove
post transferred
post transferred from Swansea
Bullock GH 20/11/1902, goods dept   20/2/1902 Swansea
Walker G T 17/5/1906, Gloucester    
Weaver FG 14/3/1907, Marsh book   Bristol
William Kingston, Charles H Walker and Frederick Weaver were still living in Ashchurch in 1911 with the same occupations
as in the table. But not A Cocks, who seems to have been replaced by James Sheppard. More detail below

Selected biographies:

Albert Ernest Aston worked in Ashchurch for a year, typical of the pattern of under-guards at the time. He had been born in Yorkshure in 1876 though his father was a Gloucestershire man. The family was in Bristol by 1881, Albert's father a railway guard. Still there in 1891, Albert was then working as an apprentice cork cutter. Albert married in Easton, Gloucestershire, on Christmas Day 1898. He is next seen in April 1900 in Hasland, Chesterfield, Derbyshire where he has followed his father's occupation, working as a railway goods guard. Next year he was in Ashchurch, where he was an under-guard on the railway for one year from February 1901. Then to Birmingham, Lawley Street on promotion to head guard. Finally, in late 1903 to Bristol, where he was still working as a Midland Railway head guard in 1911. He must be the Albert E Aston whose death was registered in Bristol in 1924 at the age of 47.

Frank Buckingham was born in Ramsden, Oxon, in 1874, his father Noah a labourer Frank, at home until at least 1891, was also a labourer. He was briefly in Ashchurch in 1900-1902, boarding at Aston Cross and working as a railway goods guard, having come from the railway Goods Department. In 1911 he was living at Oxford, the census entry and his marriage certificate that year listing him as a railway clerk.

John William Kingston, who probably preferred to be known as William, lived in Aston, Ashchurch from at least 1901 until his death in 1948. He was born in Gloucester in 1874, his father a [railway] fireman who would go on to be an engine-driver for the Great Western Railway, which operated from the city. He was still living in Gloucester when he married in 1898, his father-in-law a foreman with the Midland Railway. He himself was a railway guard. He moved to Ashchurch and was living at Aston Cross in 1901, now a head guard. He remained in Ashchurch until his death in 1948 at the age of 74, living with his wife at 1 Council Cottages between at least 1918 and 1939.

James Sheppard was born in Prestbury near Cheltenham in 1871, his father Joseph a butcher. He was still at home in 1881 but by 1891 he had enlisted in the armed forces, and was a private in the Royal Marines Light Infantry and was stationed on HMS Neptune in Devonport. He was again a civilian in 1901, living in lodgings in Gloucester where he married. He was working as a railway shunter. He had moved to Ashchurch by 1906 and in 1911 was a railway goods under-guard there. He was still in Ashchurch in 1914 but not after the war.

Frederick George Weaver was born in Bath in 1878, his father George an ex-police constable. He was at home in Bath until at least 1898, when he was working as an errand boy, in 1901, still in Bath, a railway shunter. By 1907 he was in Ashchurch, an under goods guard. Here he would remain until about 1912, when he disappears from the available record until his death in Bath in 1959 at the age of 80.

Porter Shunters

Three new posts called Porter Shunter were established in 1893, provided by the redesignation of existing posts, two porter and one parcels porter. Some changes occurred in 1900. One of the ex-porter posts reverted but was replaced by the redesignation of a Porter Guard post. Another porter post became Porter Shunter but reverted late in the year. Throughout the period there were thus three such posts at any one time, four very briefly in 1900. Nothing more is known about these, who combined the roles of porter and shunter in the marshalling yard

Yard Foreman

Two Yard Foreman posts were established around the turn of the century, filled by men with experience of handling goods - as porters, and in at least one case of shunting and goods checking and in another by a man trained as signalman, goods guard and shunter. The occupants were as follows (career details below):

Nameat Ashchurchpreviously
Henry Stacey 1900-before 1911 porter, porter guard, yardman at Ashchurch
Samuel S Evans 1911-1920porter elsewhere
Horace W Clarke 1921-1922not known
James Bunn 1923-(1938)porter, goods foreman elsewhere
John T Tidyman 1900-late 1930s porter, porter shunter, goods checker Ashchurch
Charles J Hutchings from at least mid-1930s unknown at Ashchurch

The relationship between the two posts is uncertain, but it may have been territorial. The holders of the first post occupied, in turn, one of the railway cottages at the station (number 9), convenient for work at the Provender Stores sidings. Indeed, it was James Bunn who was in charge of the shunting at that point at the time of the collision between the mail train and trucks on the line in 1929. Messrs Tidyman and Hutchings lived in Claydon, to the south of the main road, perhaps more convenient for working at the goods shed and its sidings. The holder of the post at the station held the post of captain of the station's fire-fighting team.

Henry Stacey was born in Somerset. In 1878 he was posted to Ashchurch as a porter. In March 1984 he became Porter Guard and Yardman, clearly a promotion judging by the enhanced pay. In June 1900 the grade was altered to Yard Foreman. He is shown thus when he received a pay increment in February 1901 but describes himself as a railway porter in the census six weeks later. Throughout he had been living in one of the railway cottages, number 9, at Ashchurch station. He was still there in 1906 but by 1911 he was gone. That year he was back in Somerset where, now a widower, he was working as a cemetery caretaker at Highbridge. He has not yet been traced further. He is presumably the Henry Stacey of the correct age (87) whose death was registered in Bath, Somerset in 1940.

At least three of Henry's sons followed their father into employment with the Midland Railway, but only one in shchurch. First son, also Henry Charles, joined as a porter at Ashchurch in 1895 and became a goods checker there two years later. His whereabouts are then unknown but he was in Ashchurch after the war, when he lived in one of the railway cottages until 1926. The cottage had previouly been occupied by a goods checker, and Henry was followed by a parcels porter, suggesting that Henry may have continued to work in the goods handling area.

Samuel Stockwell Evans replaced Henry Stacey. He was born in Somerset in 1881. He was an assistant porter at Ashwell in 1895 and 1897, lamp porter at Whissendine in Rutland (1898), porter at Montpelier (1899-1900), Stoke Works and Droitwich (1901), Bredon (1902), emergency man at Cheltenham (190(6)). He married in 1907 at Worcester, home-town of his bride Ursula. He was first seen in Ashchurch in 1911, Yard Foreman, where he had moved into the railway cottage, number 9, previously occupied by Henry Stacey. Here he remained until 1920, when he transferred to Gloucester. Two sons were born while he was in Ashchurch, in 1916 and 1920.

He is next seen in 1939, when he was in Bradford, Yorkshire, now a railway inspector. His second son Leonard was working as a railway clerk. He died in Bradford in 1949 at the age of 68.

Horace Walter Clarke then occupied railway cottage 9 in 1921 and 1922. He was born in Norfolk in 1882 and had been a Midland Railway employee in the Sheffield Area, a porter in 1903 and parcels porter (1904-05), and then a porter and porter guard in Chesterfield (1907 to 1911). Nothing is known about his short stay in Ashchurch, apart from his probably being a goods foreman. In 1939 he was living in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts, a widower and still a railway employee, still a goods foreman. He may be the Horace W Clarke who died in Grantham, Lincs, in 1948 at the age of 65, or the man of the same name in Birmingham in 1963 at the age of 80.

James Bunn followed Horace Clarke, from 1923. He had been a railway foreman elsewhere. James was born in Worcestershire in 1875, his father a gardener. He at first followed his father's occupation but at the turn of the century was working for the Midland Railway in the Mansfield, Derbyshire, area (porter at Sutton Junction and then Carlton in Netherfield, goods foreman in Sutton in Ashfield in 1906 and 1911). He married in the Mansfield area in 1906 and was still there in 1912 with the birth of a son. He is next seen in Ashchurch in 1923, when he moved into the railway cottage, number 9.

James was a major player in the sequence of events which led to the accident in January 1929 when a mail train ran into some trucks on the line. The trucks were part of a shunting operation that took place each evening, and on this occasion foreman James Bunn was managing the operation on the ground. He also led the team to prevent fire following the accident. Also, on another day, as captain of the fire team, he led the operation to contain a fire at a local canning factory until the civilian brigade arrived.

He was still living in the railway cottage in 1939, but now retired through ill health, and he was still living in the cottage after the war. He must be the James Bunn whose death as registered in 1954 in Cheltenham, now the registration location for Ashchurch. He was 78. The name of his successor in not yet known.

Another of the Bunn family, Albert Haydon, apparently James's nephew, moved to Ashchurch and occupied one of the railway cottages, number 6, between 1928 and 1935. He was a signalman


This data has been researched and produced by Brian Harringman. Comments, additions, and especially corrections would be gratefully received.