Compiled by Phil Hadley
When Regular Army troops, acting as ‘invaders’ attacked the Home Guard at Truro GWR station, a fortnight ago, they used practice hand grenades to add to the realism of the exercise. One of the hand grenades did not explode then, however, and a 15 year old boy who picked it up near the railway track on Thursday morning was badly injured by it. He was Trevor Harris, a greaseboy, and son of Mr Robert Harris, 35, Hendra-Vean, who is employed at Truro station as a shunter. The boy found the grenade lying on the bank just near the track picked it up to show it to the fireman of a nearby train. The fireman, realising that it might be dangerous, shouted to the boy to drop it. He did so, and it immediately exploded and the youngster fell to the ground, badly injured. The explosion tore a small hole in the heavy stone track and scattered dirt for several yards. The lad was taken to the Royal Cornwall Infirmary suffering from a mutilated hand, badly lacerated legs, body, and face, as well as general shock. It was stated this morning that the boy’s condition was satisfactory. WB Mon 19 Jan.
Monday 9th February
Passenger services restart on the Lostwithiel to Fowey branch line. (Wikipedia – citation needed)
Wednesday 6th May 1942
HM King and Queen arrived by Royal Train with its armour-plated carriages at Penzance Station for a visit which also saw the train take them to Falmouth where they visited the Dockyards, and then stop at Liskeard on the 7th before heading to Plymouth and Exeter. See Picture at the end of the this article.
Friday 22nd May
GWR withdraws most of its restaurant cars.
Thursday 6th August
Supt Burroughs reports that “At 1926 hours 2 HEs dropped on Truro City. 1 direct hit on Royal Cornwall Infirmary – extensive damage – fire broke out but got under control. Patients evacuated but number trapped under debris. Casualties so far reported: killed 10 (later reduced to 9), seriously injured ____ slightly injured ____. Machine and cannon gunning also took place at the Railway Station. 2 persons killed. One HE direct hit on house in residential area. 2 persons killed. Other casualties in town 100 seriously and slightly injured. Incident 1936 hours – siren 1940 hours.” PWD The Railway Station was machine gunned, killing a postman, Mr E Pentecost, in a waiting room and a railway worker, Mr P Williams, aged 54. WBF & WB
Friday 7th August
Minor damage to Bodmin North Station at 1342 hours from bombs dropped on Mill Street and the Gas Works in Berrycombe Road. 8 were killed, 11 seriously injured and 7 slightly injured in the raid. 1 house demolished, 10 to be demolished, 15 seriously damaged, and 170 slightly damaged. An ammunition train climbing from Boscarne Junction to Bodmin General was machine gunned by the 2 bombers. Guard Tom Rowe lay on the floor expecting the train to be hit and blow up at any moment.
Monday 24th August
The Lostwithiel to Fowey branch line is again closed to passenger traffic. (Wikipedia – citation needed) It is thought this was to allow the build-up of ammunition for Operation Torch as the British contingent sailed from Falmouth and Fowey.
Friday 11th September
Lansalon or Trenance Branch Line – In Feb 1942 the disused Lansalon Dry was requisitioned by the RAF as an ammunition store for St Eval. On the 11 Sept 1942 it was declared “ready for use” but it is not thought it was actually used. (Source: 42 Group ORB) Some oral testimony claims seeing ammunition trucks in the sidings but have yet to verify this.
Thursday 1st October
Planning starts on US Army Ammunition Depots at Fowey and Launceston utilising various railheads to supply them.
Saturday 3rd October
Passenger services resume on the Lostwithiel – Fowey branch line. (Wikipedia – citation needed)
Monday 5th October
The Railway Executive Committee suspended cheap day tickets.
Tuesday 13th October
Supt Hoskin reports “At 0800 hours an employee of the GWR was inspecting the line about 200 yards West of Bodmin Road Station and found an object lying on a sleeper between the up line rails. His last inspection at 0800 hours on the previous day did not chailance the object and he thinks it was not there then. Description: white metal tube 5¾” in length, 1” in diameter. Flange at one end with half of edge milled. Detonator cap in centre. Following markings appear on side of object: ‘Fallschirmleuchtpatrone [parachute rocket] Orion 6. 1940. Verdrauch bis 31.7.1944. Object now at Bodmin Police Station.’” PWD
Thursday 22nd October
Supt Sloman reports that “at 1150 hours 4 HEs dropped at Menheniot 1½ miles South of Menheniot Police House. 2 in stone quarry & 2 near dwelling houses. Casualties: 1 killed, 3 seriously injured & 8 slightly injured. Damage to Inn, Railway Station buildings, quarry offices and residential property, telephone wires and electric cables. No damage to permanent way.” PWD
The Ministry of war Transport forbade the transport of flowers and plants by train. When it was found they were being sent by post, they were banned there too. GWR
The growers of west Cornwall and the Tamar Valley were vocal in their protests and eventually the government caved in to public pressure just before the end of the growing season.
Tuesday 8th December
Supt Sloman reports that “At 12 midnight on 8th a landslide occurred on GWR line 50 yards East of Wivelscombe Tunnel 3 miles West of Saltash Station on the Down line. Traffic proceeding on up line. About 4,000 tons of debris. Will take possibly 3 days to clear.” PWD
Friday 11th December
The GWR host the first of the United States locomotives to enter service formally when it was handed over at a ceremony at Paddington. The GWR were eventually to be allocated 175. GWR
Saturday 19th December
Supt Sloman reports “1250 hours Normal rail service now in operation.” PWD John Vaughan in his Illustrated History of the Cornish Main Line makes the claim the landslip caused single-line running for nearly six months!
To be continued - many thanks to Phil.
Also '6026' was actually 6024! cheers JOHN C.
Very many thanks indeed John