Left: Frederick Hutchings in SR motorman's uniform.
For full size versions of any of the pictures or documents on this page, just click on them.
Born on August 8th, 1894, Fred left school and started work for the London Brighton & South Coast Railway (LBSCR) in the engine shed at Brighton
at the age of 14 - apparently he never wanted to do anything else but work on the railway. He gradually worked his way up from cleaning engines, through to Fireman and then Driver.
In 1922 "Fireman F. Hutchings" received the commendation reproduced left from the LBSCR's Locomotive Engineer, Mr. Lawson Billinton, for the clean state of the footplate of locomotive No.330 (below Photo: Dave Searle Collection), one of the LBSCR's then newest class of locomotives. These large "Baltic" tank locos were used on the principal services on the Brighton line, and were amongst the largest express tank locomotives ever built in this country.
He fired and later drove steam from Brighton, including the "Southern Belle", the steam-hauled Pullman train that became known as the "Brighton Belle" after electrification in 1933.
The photo on the right shows Fred in the cab of a 1930's Southern Railway Electric Multiple Unit.
During the Blitz and throughout WW2 he worked all the dangerous routes - London, Portsmouth and Brighton - his family never knowing where he was due to wartime secrecy. His wartime Identity Card and Certificate of Occupation are reproduced above.
Living in Rustington in retirement, Fred passed away on March 6th 1976, whilst his widow lived to be almost 101. His Obituary (right) appeared in The Littlehampton Gazette.
In the best local newspaper tradition, the last few lines are jumbled, and should probably read: "... He was one of the drivers of the Gladstone engine which is now on display in the York Railway Museum. Mr Hutchings, who leaves a widow and two daughters, was a member of Rustington Church and of the village OAP club."
History of the Bluebell:- L&EGR - Early Days 1 - Early Days 2 - Early Days 3 - Early Days 4 - Kingscote Station - Fenchurch
Track Layouts through the years: Horsted Keynes - West Hoathly - Kingscote. More to come later!
Map showing how the line relates to other railways in the locality.
Your ideal Film/TV location?