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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Wartime Steam

The railways played a crucial part in transportation throughout the Second World War. This post, our first for 2011, comprises two jigsaw puzzles each one showing a different aspect of wartime railway traffic.

The first picture shows a Waddingtons' jigsaw puzzle of 500 pieces titled Christmas Leave. Featured is a  typical wartime station scene by artist Trevor R. Owens.  A southbound train is slowly pulling into Lancaster Station headed by LMS 'Black 5' locomotive No. 4905. Waiting on a snow-covered platform are men and women of the Armed Forces, ready to board and travel home for Christmas. The sunset and low level of natural lighting complement the artificial station lights to impart a warm, evocative ambience to the picture.

The second photograph features a 1000-piece puzzle from Gibsons titled The Evacuees. On August 31st 1939, the government issued the order "Evacuate Forthwith" and the operation to evacuate nearly 2 million of Britain's school children began. 'Operation Pied Piper' became the biggest and most concentrated mass movement of citizens in our history. Within a few days 1.9 million school children had been transported from major towns and cities, in danger from German bombing raids, to places of greater safety in the countryside. Many other children of wealthy families were evacuated privately. The jigsaw reproduces an original painting of Stalbridge Station in Dorset, by Kevin Walsh.  In Kevin's superb picture children and their chaperones (including teachers) have disembarked from a train. At the head is a  'Lord Nelson' class 4-6-0 locomotive designed by Richard Maunsell. Children are shown in the station approach yard, some boarding a bus (a Guy?), whilst others are enjoying stretching their legs or taking refreshments from assembled members of the WVS (Women's Voluntary Service).