On subsequent site(s)
- First World War (1914-1918)
About the memorial:
The Churchward-designed 4300 2-6-0 class were built for the Great Western Railway (GWR) as mixed traffic locos and were introduced into service in 1911. 5322 was built at Swindon locomotive works in July 1917 and was given a class D power rating/blue route classification.
5322 and ten other sister locos were transported to France during the opening stages of the Battle of Passchendaele. They were sent to Audruicq, the headquarters of the Royal Engineers Railway Operating Division (ROD) who operated railways in theatres of war. 5322 is recorded as having arrived in France on 20th August 1917. Once in service they were used on supply trains for the British Second Army, working between Calais and the railheads around Hazebrouck. In France the locos wore either khaki or black ROD livery. 5322 was returned to the Great Western Railway in 1919.
The class were finally withdrawn from British Railways service in 1964. The loco was saved from Barry scrapyard in 1969. The preserved locomotive is owned and operated by the Great Western Society and is based at their Didcot Railway Centre. It is one of the largest artifacts surviving that saw service in the Great War. During August 2017 a Heritage Lottery Funded Rails on the Western Front event was held to mark the loco's centenary of ROD service.
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