In Memoriam

 John Finden


John joined the Southern Railway as a ‘Lamp Boy’ at Guildford in 1944, his duties included making sure the paraffin lamps in the signals were filled and working and the tail lamps of the trains were in working order. As a young man John was promoted to Porter Shunter at Ash then at Aldershot.

His National Service was spent in the R.A.F where he saw service in Egypt, Malta and all over England.

At the end of his National Service John became a Goods Guard at Ash, working unfitted trains over the Reading Redhill Line.
At Reading, the lowly  Goods Guard had a separate mess room from the Western Top Link Passenger Guard who sat in the mess room with an highly polished floor, a carnation in the jacket lapel, a row of medal ribbons across his waistcoat and a wax ended moustache.

Later, John became a Passenger Guard based at Aldershot working electric trains.
When Aldershot Train Crew Depot closed in the late sixties, John reached the dizzy height of ‘Passenger Guard’ at Farnham, working trains to Waterloo, Portsmouth Harbour, Reading, Ascot and Basingstoke.

John stayed at Farnham until he retired in 1993 then he and his wife moved to the Isle of Wight.

He enjoyed his retirement immensely being a Lollypop man for the local school, he also kept in touch with his railway mates attending the Wednesday Club of the Old Souteronians’ at Woking.
John was pleasure to work with and was definitely a railway character and gentleman.


 Pete Harris


Peter was born in 1935 and started his railway career in January 1951 as an Engine Cleaner then Fireman eventually becoming a Driver at Basingstoke.
Apart from two years’ national service in the Coldstream Guards he spent his entire working life at Basingstoke depot retiring just ten days short of fifty years’ service

Peter was a keen gardener and grew fantastic flowers, many winning prizes in local
competitions. He loved to go walking with the Old Southeronians’ and was also a very good chess player, representing Southern Region BRSA in competitions around the country.

Pete was a much respected railwayman and was held in high esteem by all his work colleagues

Stewart was a very amenable and even tempered man
He joined the railway aged 15 and went to work at West Byfleet Booking Office, later transferring to Waterloo 

At 18 he was called-up for Military service, he decided to join the Army with his basic training being done at Stoughton Barracks, near Guildford and then with final training at Shorncliffe in Kent. He moved to the Middlesex Regiment before going over to Cyprus for the last year and a half of his service, just after the worst of the troubles there. He was careful with his money (he was paid just over £1/week ) but did manage to buy a Camera whilst he was there (a Voigtlander Vito-B). Having taken some pictures whilst out there, it made him keen to take photos on visits and holidays throughout most of his life.

Back in England, after demob, he eventually managed to get a posting to the District Offices at Woking.
The main advantage of this was that it did not involve shift working and thus provided more sociable hours and in particular Saturdays off.
His first duties in this capacity involved processing refund claims, amongst other duties. Later on he moved  to working in London at a variety of sites including Euston and later on the British Railways Board (BRB) Headquarters at 222 Marylebone Road.
One of his later jobs included producing parts of the National Railway Timetable with others, involving some meetings at York or Derby.

His last duties involved assisting an Engineer in the installation of Penalty Fare machines at a number of sites across the region. He installed the software and checked it was working. On one occasion he found that it was charging wrong fares, some a lot cheaper than they should be. It turned out that the vertical strips giving the destination station had been interchanged from where they ought to have been. In general he was methodical in his work and would often find mistakes that others had missed. 

After retirement, Stewart joined the “Old Southeronians’
And soon became an active member
Stewart served on the Committee of the London West Branch of the OSA and was an absolute stalwart.
He  joined in many railway social activities including membership of the 222 club. His love of music took him to the Proms each year.

His attention to detail was legendry and you could always rely on him picking up any errors in documents.
Members of the London West owe him such a lot as he did much incredible work  to ensure that the Branch remained a thriving entity. If no one volunteered to do a particular job, Stewart would usually volunteer.

 Stewart Greenaway

An Old Southronian Stalwart

Apart from serving as a Committee Member he also filled the positions of Chairman, Vice Chairman, Rambles Organiser and Newsletter Printer and Distributor.

The latter responsibility was very onerous and he managed it virtually single handed for many years. His tireless work on the committee was not realised until he was ill on one occasion and then it was "all hands to the pumps".

He was a keen Rambler, not only with the London West (many of which he organised) but also with the Croydon Branch and rarely missed a walk until the last few months.
He was made a Vice President in recognition of his work for the Branch.
He had a very wide knowledge of current affairs.

The esteem in which he was held was demonstrated by the number of our members attending his funeral 

We have fond memories of Stewart.

 Eric Gosney


Eric  was born into a railway family at Portsmouth in 1934.
His Dad, Sid, started on the railway in 1917 at Ash.
On the 5th of February 1957, Eric  worked a special train from Southampton to London with none other than ‘Bill Haley and the Comets’ on board. Sadly he was so busy working that he never got to actually see Bill Hayley in the flesh, but it’s fair to say that Eric was partly responsible for bringing rock n roll to Great Britain!

Eric moved to Dorking Western and when that depot closed in the early 80's he made a redundant move to Farnham in 1982        



 Ron Fulker

Ron followed his Father who worked on the Permanent Way and joined the Southern Railway during the war.

He started as an engine cleaner then worked up the ranks to Fireman finally getting his Driver’s job  at  Addiscombe in 1949 then transferring to  Farnham in 1954.

In retirement Ron enjoyed meeting up with his old railway mates for Grand Day’s Out.

Stanley Tapsell

      John Beeson

A garden dedicated to the memory of
John Beeson, an Old Southeronian stalwart
and ambassador of Woking Homes,
was opened on Saturday 16th June 2012 at Woking Homes.

John’s family and friends were present at the opening of “John’s Garden” which was designedand built by Rob Hook.
John was a dedicated life long railwayman and his garden typifies his colourful character,
with an array of plants framed by railway sleepers and train destination “finger boards.”

John was always keen to help everyone in any way he could, from the junior railway staff to the senior resident of Woking Homes

 John was a member of the
Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes

John started work  as a messenger boy on the railway aged 14 at Guildford Station. 

He then became a Booking  Boy in the signalbox and also a Lamp Boy.
After his national service John returned to the railway and worked as a Shunter back at Guildford.
He then worked as a Shunter at Clapham Junction for a couple of years before moving  to Shere Heath Crossing.

John returned once more to Guildford as a Passenger Guard and then later transferred to Woking as a Guard working Passenger, Freight and Ballast Trains.

John retired in 1995 and eventually took up residence in Woking Homes around November 2002 but returned to work for the Railway as a passenger counter.
A job he enjoyed immensely as it kept him in touch with his working railway mates.

John made Woking Homes his home and was fully involved and busy with delivering newspapers, gardening, collecting shopping from local shops and a good companion to other residents.  
He was Chairman of the Residents Association and continued with his part time job for Woking Station.


 Joe Greener

 Joe was a Signalman who worked the Signalboxes in the Guildford area. He was the Signalman in Farncombe Box where he retired in 1994 after fifty years and two months working on the railway.

Joe was a keen gardener and an active member of the Old Southeronians'. He and his wife June, loved going on the Southeronian rambles.

The Guildford Station Master congratulates Joe on his last day on the railway in Farncombe Box 1994


 Jack Hills


 Jack joined the railway when he was 15 years old in 1945.

He worked on the railway for fifty years most of that time as a Signalman.

Jack enjoyed his days out with his railway mates and walks with the Old Southeronians' 

On a cold day during the winter of 1967/68 at Frimley Junction,  Jack gives the token to the Driver for the single line

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