Is this the train I think it is?

Peter writes...

I am sending you a copy of a picture I found by accident whilst doing some research about an area where I used to "Train Spot" as a kid. I thought you (and others) might be interested in obtaining a copy.

I wrote to The "Butterley Photographic Archive" Midland Railway Trust, Butterley Station, Ripley, Derbyshire. DE5 3Q2 but the photo came from "Midrail Photographs" 74, Raylawn Street, Mansfield,  Notts. NG18 3ND.

The photo will be clearer than my copy but I'm convinced that it is the Beacon Lighter badge on the front.

The COPYRIGHT is held by Frank Ashley 53, Bourne Avenue, Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottingham. NG17 7FB.

The photo number is 580F. The script under the photo in the archive reads " ZEEBRUGGE" 62666 PILOTING 62667 "SOMME" ON PEGLERS " FARNBOROUGH FLYER" SEPT 1955 AT KIRKBY". ( Not far from Sir John Betjeman's "Dark Red at Kirkby Bentinck stood").

Peter Collier

From: John. Fisher (23 Group ROCA)
Subject: Train Buffs.
At 19:45 07/02/01 +0000,

I believe that the picture is of one of Alan Pegler's 'Farnborough Flyers' which he ran to the Air Show. I remember reading an article about them within the last six months, but of caurse I can't think where or when. An article on Alan Pegler is appearing in 'The Railway Magazine' - Part 1 in the March 2001 Issue.

From: P.Collier
Subject: Train Buffs.
17 Feb 2001

I am the originator of the picture enquiry which I sent to David Jones. I don't know if anyone has responded at all but today I was in telephone conversation with Sheila Robinson ex ROC member and widow of the late C/Obs Peter Robinson B.E.M of Farnsfield Post in 8 Grp. Mrs Robinson was a member for many years and is still in the ROCA. Sheila informs me that she was on that Train which was an organised outing to Farnborough. If I understood correctly "Pegler" was "a member of the ROC at this time". Just a snippet I picked up. Perhaps someone could add to this?

From: John Keeping (l6 Group ROCA)
Subject: Train Buffs.
17 Feb 2001

Full details of the train illustrated above are shown below. Its not the Royal Observer Corp locomotive.

It is the "Farnborough Flyer" - a special train from Leeds to the Farnborough Air Display in 1955 and the attachment was taken from Trains Illustrated, Volume 8, Page 456.

Taken from 7 Group's NL of March '07

The ROC Locomotive.

From Stan Barnes

On one of her recent visits to Bentley Priory Edwina noticed that the “Royal Observer Corps” name plate from the Battle of Britain Class railway engine had been removed from the entrance porch and sent to Hendon. This news evoked memories for Stan Barnes who writes:-

This engine was a Bullied pacific 'Battle of Britain' class locomotive which ultimately became number 34050 and was named Royal Observer Corps. I have not been able to locate an image of it in the original build state but have found an image on a website showing the locomotive after rebuilding. In this instance the crest surmounts the name, whereas in the original form the positions were reversed.

I did see the nameplate so installed at Bentley Priory during one of my very infrequent visits. The memory it really has awoken is that of seeing (possibly at Salisbury) the locomotive just after it was built and in the days when the casing was of the 'Air Smoothing' design so favoured by the designer Mr. O.V. Bullied. The nameplate was in a central position and mounted above the R O C crest. Unfortunately I never saw the locomotive after the total rebuild and without the distinctive casing. In that guise it did retain the nameplate, as shown.

Stan Barnes

Taken from 7 Group's NL of July '07


From Paul Wilkins Northampton

Dear BEDROC Editor,

During the 1950s, as well as being interested in aircraft spotting, I was also a keen train spotter too. Id like to comment on Stan Barnes letter regarding Loco no. 34050.

After twelve years in service this engine was awarded the ROC Medal which took the form of a metal plate painted in the medal ribbon colours with the letters ROC on it. The engine appeared on the front cover of the ROC Journal and inside was an article on this unusual

It hauled an excursion to a south coast resort and the driver and fireman were presented with commemorative tea spoons. When visiting the York Railway Museum I spotted this unusual medal ribbon amongst a pile of engine nameplates. I had an idea that the loco was among those engines that had languished at Barry Island, many of which were saved for eventual restoration, but on checking the list of these locos this was sadly not the case.

Paul Wilkins

Dear Roy,

Whilst browsing the national ROCA web site, I came across the article headed ‘Is this train what I think it is ?’ by Peter Collier. I comment further as follows :-

“I, and members of the Farnsfield Post (in No 8 Group ROC), went on the Farnborough Flyer a couple of times 1956-1958. I would date the photo 1956 not 1955 ? I took two photos at Mansfield Station prior to boarding which confirm that Peter Collier’s picture is indeed ‘The Farnborough Flyer’. Note that the train was all dining cars and pulled by two engines, the first of which had the ROC badge on the front. In 1958 the engine had changed from steam to diesel.

I recall the dining cars were excellent and breakfast and light lunch was served to all passengers who were almost totally ROC members. The train took us to Farnborough Station where we transferred to coaches which took us to the famous airshow. After the show we returned to the train and on the way back a superb three course dinner was served to all. The train ran from Leeds to Farnborough and return, picking up at Wakefield, Doncaster, Retford, Edwinstowe, Mansfield, Nottingham and Leicester. I cannot remember the cost but do not think it was not all that expensive.

The Farnborough Flyer was organised by Alan Pegler who was a railway enthusiast and very wealthy. I recall his wife was killed in a tragic accident. In 1953 he was my Group Officer in No 8 Group in the North Notts area but he then moved to Leeds where he became Group Commandant from 1956 to 1961. I well recall my first Cluster meeting with Alan when I was a green 18 year old. He sat us all round in a circle at a pub in Edwinstowe and in turn we all had to tell a joke or short story to everyone else. Quite a daunting task for a newcomer to the Corps to do in public.”

Lawrence Holmes

Photo shows the Farnborough Flyer at Mansfield Station. I would date this photo 1956.

Photo shows the Farnborough Flyer standing at the platform at Mansfield Station. Note the large ROC badge on the front of the engine.
Below Left is the front of the Menu Card given to all passengers on the 7th September 1958 trip. Note that the engine is now diesel.


The inside of the menu card. Breakfast, light lunch and dinner were served to all passengers. A wine list was on the reverse.
Lawrence Holmes


I understand the nameplate of the 34050 Bullied Pacific of the Battle of Britain Class (Royal Observer Corps) is now housed at the Stafford Museum (Reserve Collection) at the former RAF Stafford site. If I remember correctly, there was an article in a recent Newsletter describing a visit to this site. the staff there had extracted the nameplate as being of potential interest to the ROCA members present.

John Keeping (16 Group ROCA)

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[06dec00 13:00]