Since their innovation railways have provided a vital part of the war effort. During the first World War railwaymen served behind the front line building and operating railways on behalf of the War Department. In the UK they were responsible for the carrying of many thousands of troops and war materials.
During the Second World War the railways operated continuously for both the conflict and the years afterwards, literally being run into the ground. After the D-Day invasions the railways of Europe were operated by railwaymen of many nations, again carrying goods and troops to the front line. After the war they were heavily involved in the repatriation of troops, prisoners of war and civilians.
Many railwaymen died during the conflicts and they are often forgotten when Rememberance Day comes around. I suspect many of todays youth do not realise just how much the railways contributed to the two World Wars and the toll taken by them.
As well as civilian railwaymen the Corps of Royal Engineers had military railwaymen in their ranks and 354 died during World War 2. To commemorate their death on of the Severn Valley's steam locomotives, the Stanier 8f 48773, has been formally designated a War Memorial.
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