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From Albion Station to the Front Line

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 05, 2014

By John Workman

  • Albion station as it was in the '50s

  • Tipton station where William Willis worked

  • George Gobourn, and below his entry in the Roll of Honour

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THE London and North Western Railway Roll of Honour, which has been featured in the Bugle over the past few weeks, has provided us with an important record of Black Country men who worked for the railway company prior to and during the Great War, and who went on to serve for King and Country only to die as a consequence.

Their names will live forever more and we are indebted to Maurice and Beryl Birch from Aldridge who first brought the Roll of Honour to our attention. Since the first story was published about John Bradley who worked at Bescot station before he joined up, we have received further responses from readers about other LNWR employees. Wendy Viner emailed us with the following: "Further to the excellent articles on the LNWR Roll of Honour I can provide details of my great uncle, brother to my grandfather, William Willis, who worked at Tipton station.

"He served with the 2/5 Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment and was one of six sons of Joseph and Eliza Willis of No 1 Wood Street, Tipton, who all fought in the war. William married May Millington in 1916, but was killed in action on September 23. 1917, aged 23. His name appears on the Tipton Roll of Honour, which is now at Tipton Library, and he is remembered on the Tyne Cot War memorial in Belgium. It made me feel very proud to see his name listed on the LNWR Roll of Honour."

Just before the publication of the second Roll of Honour article, Beverley Reynolds from Halesowen had sent us the following email: "I was interested in the LNWR story because I recently discovered my great uncle George Gobourn worked for the company and I wondered whether his name was also recorded. George was born in Wolverhampton on July 24, 1892, the fourth of eleven children, and the 1911 census revealed he was employed as a railway goods porter, but I have no additional details about where he worked, etc.

"He joined the 1/6 Battalion South Staffs Regiment and arrived in France in May 1915. After seeing action at Hill 60 near Ypres, George was moved to Loos and took part in the attack on October 13, 1915, on the Hohenzollern Redoubt. He was killed in the subsequent fighting and is commemorated on the Dud Corner War Memorial."

Beverley's mention of George Gobourn made us return to the Roll of Honour where we found his name and discovered he had worked at Albion station in Greets Green, West Bromwich. But he wasn't the only one. We found N. Quaglieri, who was also a porter at Albion station. After contacting Beverley with the good news about her great uncle, she kindly furnished us with a photograph of him that was taken about 1912.

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