Unique piece of history to be unveiled at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Capel-le-Ferne near Folkestone

Contributed by editor on May 10, 2017 - 11:55 AM


A unique piece of history will shortly be unveiled at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Kent following the presentation of the original nameplate and squadron badge from a classic steam locomotive.



The Battle of Britain Locomotive Society presented the items from Battle of Britain class Pacific locomotive No 34081 at a moving ceremony at the Nene Valley Railway.

The nameplate and the badge of No 92 Squadron – famously based at Biggin Hill during the Battle of Britain in 1940 – will shortly go on display at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Capel-le-Ferne, home to the National Memorial to the Few.

Group Captain Patrick Tootal (left) standing in front of the re-dedicated locomotive with Battle of Britain Locomotive Society chairman Ian Bowskill

The long-term loan of the historic items was suggested by the preservation society as a way of ensuring the items could be displayed “in a truly appropriate setting”.

They were presented to Group Captain Patrick Tootal, Secretary of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, and Wing Commander Andrew Simpson, one of the Trustees, by Ian Bowskill, Chairman of the Society, formerly known as the Battle of Britain Locomotive Preservation Society.

The items will be displayed in The Wing, the Trust’s visitor centre, where the unique Scramble Experience brings the Battle of Britain to life and pays tribute to the men of the RAF who made sure this country emerged victorious in 1940.

“We will be proud to add the locomotive nameplate and badge from No 92 Squadron to the other items of memorabilia at the Battle of Britain Memorial,” said Wing Cdr Simpson. “It will complement the site and the multi-media Scramble Experience that aims to give visitors of all ages a better understanding of the significance of the Battle.

“A visit to the Memorial offers information, enjoyment and – on a clear day – some of the most stunning views across the English Channel over which the Battle of Britain was fought in 1940. This generous loan from the society will complement that experience.”

Locomotive No 34081 entered service from the Brighton works in September 1948 but was withdrawn from Eastleigh shed in August 1964 and subsequently sold to Dai Woodham’s scrap yard at Barry Island in South Wales.

Purchased by the preservation society in autumn 1973, she arrived at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough on 7 December 1976. Following restoration, she moved under her own power in 1998 - the first time since 1964 - and became a regular performer on various heritage railways until being withdrawn for overhaul at the North Norfolk Railway in May 2008.

The locomotive returned to service on the Nene Valley Railway in February following seven years of extensive restoration work. She was rededicated at a ceremony held at Wansford Station during which a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight performed a flypast.

After the re-dedication, replica nameplates were unveiled on the locomotive by Wing Commander Tim McAuley, Officer Commanding No 92 Squadron RAF, so that the original nameplate and badge could be handed over to the Trust.

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