G P Antrobus

This obituary appeared in January 1941 in the Railway Magazine, a monthly publication which is still published today. Mr Antrobus died during a bombing raid on Leamington Spa when a bomb demolished 15 York Road, where he lived with his father who died in the same raid.

MR G P ANTROBUS

Born 12th October 1892 died 14th November 1940

It is with great regret that we record the sudden death of Mr George Antrobus , whose name is familiar to all students of locomotive performance in the Railway Magazine, by reason of his expert acquaintance with locomotive running over the Great Western Railway main line between Paddington and Birmingham. The familiarity grew out of his daily journeys between his home at Leamington and London, where for 25 years he had served his country as the leading expert in the deciphering of telegrams in the Communications Department of the Foreign Office.

Many communications to the columns of “British Locomotive Practice and Performance” (1) in which he never failed to uphold the claim of the Great Western Railway “Kings” (2) to be unbeatable in Great Britain, relatively to their size and weight, in the efficiency and capability of their work, culminated in July and August 1940, when at the request of Mr Cecil J. Allan, Mr Antrobus contributed a summary of what he regarded as the best performances of the 1412 runs he had timed on the 6.10pm express from Paddington up to the outbreak of war.

In view of what has now happened, this review has a significance which may well become historic so far as British locomotive performance is concerned.

“He delighted his friends,” writes Mr Cyril S. Fox, in a warm tribute, “by appearing at the Foreign Office in his shiniest and oldest of clothes with his umbrella in ribbons and a greasy bowler hat, which led us to suspect that he had taken charge of his express and driven it himself to London, if appearances count for anything.” But if this was the case his passengers need have had no qualms, for “ Bozo” as he was known affectionately to his colleagues, was as great an expert on railways and their working as he was at his own job, which he performed at record speed and perfect accuracy.

He was much loved by all those who served with and under him. By his tragic death, the railway world has lost a keen enthusiast, the Great Western Railway a familiar figure, Westminster School one of her great-hearted sons, and England a loyal and devoted servant.”

 

Notes: 1. “British Locomotive Practice and Performance” was a regular monthly column which still appears in the current magazine.

              2. “Kings” is the generic name of a class of 30 express passenger locomotives which ran on the Great Western Railway and each one carried the name of a King of our country.

Barry Franklin

 

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