Railways and the First World War
News of our upcoming First World War exhibition and selected resources from our collection.
First World War Centenary
To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, our exhibition from July 2016 will tell the story of the ambulance trains used to transport sick and injured troops.
You can follow our progress with the exhibition, including our recreation of an ambulance carriage, on our blog.
We are looking for the personal stories of people who built, travelled in and worked on ambulance trains. If a member of your family was one of these people, or if you have any related objects, photographs or stories, then we would love to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this page you will find images and resources relating to the role of the railways in the war, as well as our list of fallen railwaymen.
List of fallen railway workers
This is a table of over 20,000 railway employees who died in World War One. It combines information from items in our archive and library collections (such as railway staff magazines), and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
If you see a reference to a magazine, that means information or a photo of that railway worker was printed in the magazine issue mentioned. Some of that information is usually in the table itself (under Notes, or Company), but you can come and look at the magazines themselves in our research and archive centre.
We've got a variety of material relating to railways and World War One - see the Further Reading list at the bottom of this page for more info.
Images from the collection
Flickr user familyhistory1 has uploaded a set of photos of Great Western Railway workers who died during World War One.
Swindon Central Library has a Flickr photo set of Great Western Railway staff magazine scans, showing soldiers from Swindon Works who died.
The Midland Railway Study Centre has a list of Midland Railway staff who died during World War One which comes from a different source to ours.
From the blog
- Stories from the Western Front: 1000 entries now updated on our list of fallen railwaymen
- Lizzie the Elephant's War Work
- Armoured trains in the First World War
- Women at Work in the First World War: Central to the Railway and the War Effort
- Ambulance trains in 1914 "This is Christmas, and the world is supposed to be civilised"
- Work and Play on a First World War Ambulance Train
- The last campaign of the railway ships
- Maids of all work
- Transporting the wounded: Railway ships as floating ambulances
- Recreating a First World War Ambulance Carriage
- The most dangerous job of all
- 5th and 6th June: Two significant dates in wartime Railway Shipping
- Captain Fryatt and other belligerent merchantmen
- Armed Merchantmen and Q-Boats
- Railway marine staff among first prisoners of war
- Railway ships and the birth of the Aircraft Carrier
- The Railway Operating Division on the Western Front : the Royal Engineers in France and Belgium 1915-1919, William Aves
- The Great Western Railway in the First World War, Sandra Gittins
- Valour : in memory of the G.C.R. employees who gave their lives for their country 1914-1918, Ken Grainger
- Gone with remembrance : a list of Great Western Railway locomotive firemen and cleaners who fell in the Great War (1914-1918), compiled by E. T. Lyons
- Railwaymen of Cumbria remembered : a roll of honour in remembrance of those who gave their lives in the service of their country during the Great War 1914-1918, researched and compiled by Peter Robinson
- A record of the 17th and 32nd Service Battalions : Northumberland Fusiliers (N.E.R.) Pioneers, 1914-1919, Lt.-Col. Shakespear
- Roll of honour: British Transport Police Officers who have died on active service, compiled by Philip Trendall
- GWR Casualties, Ruth Wood
- Manchester Cathedral Wednesday, May 14th, 1919 at 2.30 p.m. in memory of the railwaymen of Great Britain and Ireland who have died in the service of their country during the War, 1914-1918.
- St. Paul's Cathedral, Wednesday, May 14th, 1919 at 2.30 p.m. in memory of the railwaymen of Great Britain and Ireland who have died in the service of their country during the War, 1914-1918