22nd September 2020 · On-Line Meeting: The Restoration of 34081 92 Squadron

Presenter: Steve Lacey

Our regular autumn afternoon meeting at Redhill was replaced by a “Zoom” meeting on Tuesday 22nd September in which retired G.P. Dr. Steve Lacey gave a visual presentation to 23 members and guests showing the restoration of Battle of Britain 4-6-2 No. 34081 92 Squadron. Steve explained that this presentation was originally given by Barry Woods and that the photographs and videos were by various members of the restoration team. He started with some background information about Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid prior to and after becoming Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway. He was born in Invercargill, New Zealand, in 1882, became an apprentice to H.A. Ivatt and assistant to Sir Nigel Gresley, before joining the Southern Railway, and ending his career as CME of CIE. Steve highlighted the innovative nature of much of Bulleid’s work and showed photographs of Merchant Navy No. 21C1, built in 1941, West Country/Battle of Britain ‘Light’ Pacifics, Q1 class 0-6-0s and his controversial “Leader” class 0-6-6-0, but he will always be remembered for his Merchant Navy, West Country and Battle of Britain Pacifics. 34081 was built in 1948 and withdrawn from service in 1964, then was purchased from Barry Scrapyard in September 1973 by members of the Battle of Britain Locomotive Society. In 1976 it was moved by low loader to a vacant siding at the British Sugar Corporation, Peterborough. It was at this site that Steve, who had recently retired from general practice and was living at Stevenage became seriously involved in the restoration project. In 1977 92 Squadron was moved to a site at Wansford, which later became the Nene Valley Railway and restoration began in earnest. After a break for viewers to participate in home refreshments Steve talked us through a very detailed video illustrating the major mechanical operations on the frames, boiler, wheels, motion, valve gear and tender.