Visits the Paignton & Dartmouth Railway
:- My parental grandfather lived at Illogan and started his career at Carn Brea as a cleaner. He later moved to Plymouth and became a top link driver. He was due to retire just before WW2 but was asked to stay on. His main claims to fame were driving the Royal Train conveying the King and Queen after they had visited Plymouth back to London and then blotting his copybook by overshooting the red carpet by quite a few feet! He also drove the train which took Mr Churchill back to London after he had landed in Plymouth Sound in a Sunderland Flying Boat following a meeting with American President Roosevelt.
My father, Ivor Slee, was also on the GWR and became a top link driver also working from Laira, he appears in the first picture below looking up into the cab just in front of number 4 road at Laira shed. He drove main line steam until steam ended and then decided he didn’t want to drive diesels. He spent his remaining years working in the North Road and Millbay areas primarily making up trains and shunting. I used to skive off school and join him in the cab. My father was twice machine gunned by the Luftwaffe during the war, once crossing the Royal Albert bridge and the second time when travelling the sea wall at Dawlish on route to London.
Lewis broke the family tradition by joining the army and later joining the motorway police. He now lives overlooking the Severn Valley Railway at Kidderminster. Lucky chap.
Very many thanks to you Lewis for your contribution.