Rail snap from the war

Train times: Bar boys pose for a photo in 1944.
Train times: Bar boys pose for a photo in 1944.
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Pictured here is a rare shot of the Rowsley bar boys and cleaners taking a well-earned seat on an old steam engine.

The photo was submitted by regular contributor Doug Goodall and was taken in 1944.

As employed bar boys, it was their duty to clean out locomotive fire boxes and smoke boxes, and has often been described as being a tack roughly the equivalent of cleaning chimneys, only hotter.

One railway writer said: “Parliament may have abolished slavery, but parliamentary trains kept the reality of slave labour very close to home.”

Despite this, they are fond memories for Doug Goodall, who is on the photo sat on the far left on the bottom row. And despite being snapped nearly 70 years ago and at the height of the Second World War, he can still recall some of those who worked with him.

Others included on the photograph are Tom Thorpe, Billy Kemp, Jack Boden, Jim Spence, Ike Belfield, Sam Briddon and Ken Lill.