The Jellicoe Express (Helmsdale)

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Reference WMO/264535


Helmsdale Station

Railway Approach



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Status: On original site
Type: Non freestanding
Location: Internal
Setting: Attached to a building/structure
Description: Board/Plaque/ Tablet
  • Metal Metal (any)
Lettering: Inscribed on a plaque
  • First World War (1914-1918)
  • Second World War (1939-1945)
About the memorial: Metal Plaque. The words 'The Jellicoe Express 1917-2017' are around a blue circle which has an entwined anchor and ship's wheel at centre. Below is the dedicatory text in black. The rectangular metal plaque has an overall white background. There are also 2 paper posters with text and illustrations.
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Plaque-THE JELLICOE EXPREE 1917-2017/The Royal Navy train known as the Jellicoe Express ran between London and Thurso/daily from 1917 during both world wars. Named after Admiral Sir John Jellicoe it/carried service personnel to and from naval bases around the country, including/Scapa Flow. Helmsdale was a water stop in World War One and in World War Two refreshments were provided here by the local Women's Voluntary Service,//This memorial is dedicated to the men and women who travelled and worked on it. Poster 1- The Jellicoe Express-sometimes known as 'The Misery'/The Royal Navy train known as the Jellicoe Express ran/between London and Thurso daily from 1917 until the/end of WW1. Named after Admiral Sir John Jellicoe it/carried military personnel to and from naval bases around/the country, including Scapa Flow. It ran again in World/War II and Helmsdale was a refreshment stop with teas/provided by members of the Women's Voluntary Service/from temporary tea stalls on each/platform.//The plaque to the/right of this door/was unveiled on/30th September/2017, marking the/centenary of the/start of the WW1/Jellicoes//In the waiting room you will find a small display with/recollections from some who travelled and worked/on the service and from volunteers who, at/Helmsdale and other locations along the route/provided/refreshments/[the poster has various illustrations] Poster 2-Helmsdale Women's Voluntary Service (WVS) Tea Stalls/A rating map of the/station shows tea stalls on/both platforms at the/time of WWII. Only one/photo of a tea stall has/been found but the/corner of the platform/signal box on the left/hand edge of the picture/confirms its location on/Platform 1//The trains were packed with servicemen being brought/back from Orkney where they had undergone training./They were frightened but they thought they were/going home; this was a lie they were heading to war//There was a canteen at the station run by Mrs Cowie/and Mrs MacKay: food, drinks and cigarettes were/given free. Annie Cowie (I was going out with her at the time!!!) gave me some of the cigarettes which were/called Jock's Box. They were dreadful! The trains came/in every 2 hours and they carried not just personnel/but also tanks, all kinds of guns and folded up/aeroplanes!//There was a CPO MacKay/here on leave and he got/drunk and went and had a/fight with the soldiers- I/do not know who came off/best!//I was a fireman on the/trains on £1.0.6 a week but/of I took one of these trains/to Inverness then I got an/extra pound!/Geordie Adams//I remember going to the station with/my mother (Mrs Helen Simpson) who/was one of the WVS team. In/appreciation for the refreshments the/officers at Thurso presented the WVS/team with a tea trolley beautifully/engraved to enable refreshments to/be more easily distributed along the/platform/Iain Simpson/[the poster has various illustrations]

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