With regard to Mark Sutton’s article in the Remember When feature (SA, August 2) I found several errors.
The main picture caption printed int he paper says the date is 1903. The locomotive shown is one of the Star Class, the first of which appeared from Swindon Works in 1906 and this one has later modifications.
The locomotive 4041 Prince of Wales dates from 1913. The carriages are those of the 1897 Royal Train.
The actual run of July 14 1903 did not carry the King (Edward VII but the Prince and Princess of Wales and the locomotive used was 4-4-0 “City Class” – City of Bath, the most up to date express engine then running.
According to OS Nock, the foremost historian on matters of the Great Western Railway, this was an ordinary train with royal saloons added and the record-breaking journey time was a little under four hours, not four and a half hours. The other thing about this picture that deserves closer scrutiny is the location.
Assuming it is Swindon, the gas holder in the background and the embankment mean it must be on the Gloucester branch.
The buffer blocks in front of the rear of the train make me think it is crossing the old Bruce Street bridge. Not then a train travelling direct from Paddington to Plymouth.
This picture and the same incorrect caption also appear in a Swindon Society book: Swindon A Sixth Selection, so I assume this is where Mr Sutton got his information from. A good example of mistakes by earlier historians being accepted thereafter, as fact. Peter Timms Buckingham Road Swindon
I was interested to see your article in the Remember When series entitled “a carriage truly fit for a king” in the Advertiser.
Unfortunately, a couple of errors have crept in.
Firstly the engine shown on the photo accompanying the article, No. 404 Prince of Wales was not built until June 1913 so it could not have been on the train of July 14, 1903.
Secondly, the actual engine which hauled the Royal Special on that date was 4-4-0 No. 3433 City of Bath of the famous City class (similar to City of Truro).
I hate criticising but I feel strongly that in articles such as these, the facts should be correct.
Colin Dawson Wrde Hill Highworth
Back Honda, plea
Last week, Swindon received very good news that two new car prototypes will be built at Honda’s South Marston plant over the next 12 months, preserving 3,000 jobs for working people in the town and another 7000 jobs from local companies who rely on business with Honda.
Your local Labour Group is very proud that we brought Honda to Swindon back in the 1980s and, since the car manufacturer arrived in the town, they have repeatedly paid Swindon back for welcoming their company in to our town.
Whether it be the company’s repeated expansions providing more and more jobs for local working people, or the car manufacturer’s investment of money and expertise in Swindon’s local communities like their sponsoring of the Pinehurst Academy, Swindon should feel lucky that we have Honda as an employer in our town. What makes Honda’s relationship with Swindon extra special is that over recent years the South Marston car plant has struggled to compete against other Honda car plants around the world (all Honda car plants have to compete against one another to manufacture the different prototypes of Honda car).
The reason for this is that Swindon’s Honda plant spends more on staffing costs and because other Honda plants around the world are much further down the line in meeting their energy needs through renewable energy sources.
This brings me to the Honda’s wind turbine application going before the planning committee this month.
I absolutely accept that the planning committee has to judge the Honda wind turbine planning application by its merits.
However, it is of the view of Swindon Borough Council’s planners, who have to be objective, that this planning application meets national planning guidance.
So my point is that if Swindon Borough Council’s Planning Committee does find that the facts of the application contravene national planning guidance then this is something I could accept.
However, it would be a terrible shame for Swindon, not to mention a disservice to Honda, if their planning application to invest in renewable energy sources is turned down due to factors other than material planning considerations. Coun Jim Grant Swindon Labour Group Leader
This year is the 75th Anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, in which volunteers from many different countries, left their friends, families and homes, to defend the democratic Spanish Republic.
The International Brigades, as these men and women became known as, were formed from people from many different political, religious and racial backgrounds.
These mainly young principled and heroic people, gave their lives to defend the Spanish people’s democracy, fighting against the forces of Franco, Mussolini and Hitler.
One such hero was Swindon-born, educated and trained, Percy Williams who, as a young man, left Swindon for Liverpool and then Spain, where he was sadly mortally wounded and is buried.
He has a memorial in Whitworth Road cemetery, which is being restored, with the help of generous donations and support.
Could I ask any readers, with knowledge, or information regarding the memorial or Percy’s family, to contact me.
I have been told that Percy lived in the area, surrounding the Railway Works, where he had served his apprenticeship.
Members of The International Brigade Memorial Trust will be holding an event to celebrate Percy Williams contribution to the fight for democracy and eventual defeat of Hitler and his allies, in September this year.
I would be very interested to hear from any family, friends or indeed anyone with any information relating to Percy Williams.
Graham Thompson Bibury, Cirencester firstname.lastname@example.org
Cruelty to people
Phillip Beaven’s disaffection with royalty (Letters: “Royal Resentment” August 2) predictably slipped into default “'Animal rights” mode.
I find myself intrigued with a mindset that believes that it is acceptable for animal rights activists to engage in a malicious campaign of intimidation against all perceived to be associated with medical research, including falsely accusing senior managers of abusing young girls, targeting home addresses and threatening wives and children, including families and friends of owners of associated companies,targeting them with bomb hoaxes, hate mail, malicious phone calls and arson attacks, Oh yes, they have even stolen relatives’ remains from their graves. Lovely people. God help us.
John P Hunter Kerry Close, Shaw, Swindon
Joyce is ours
Although we were delighted to see one of our founder member’s poems featured in the Swindon Advertiser (04 August), we know that Joyce was extremely upset to read that she has been a long-term resident of Moredon. Joyce was born in Rodbourne Cheney and continues to live there and be an active member of this association and our community.
As a matter of interest, Coun Millin does not run the Community Coffee Mornings in the Moredon and Rodbourne Cheney Library; these are organised by Michelle Matthews our Community Engagement & Development Officer.
Terry Hunt Chairman Rodbourne Cheney Residents’ Association