Plaque at Preston station remembers World War I heroes

A plaque has been unveiled at Preston railway station honouring the Jellicoe Express – the Royal Naval train that transported hundreds of soldiers and sailors during the World Wars.

Thursday, 16th May 2019, 11:51 am
Updated Thursday, 16th May 2019, 12:51 pm
Lee Braham, On Board Manager at Virgin Trains; Captain Chris Smith, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland RN

Preston was the final station in England to receive a plaque to recognise its historic role.

Virgin Trains worked with heritage group, Another Orkney Production, to place signage at each of the 18 stations served by the Jellicoe Express. The unveiling of the plaque, by Captain Chris Smith RN, marked the centenary of journeys made on the Royal Naval train, during the First World War.

Named after Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, the commander of the Grand Fleet who led the British forces at the Battle of Jutland in June 1916, the Jellicoe Express carried service personnel to and from the British fleet based at Scapa Flow in Orkney - travelling daily between London Euston and Thurso in Scotland, with a journey time of 21-and-a-half hours.

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Preston station was one of the few stops on the route where sailors and soldiers could join the train. It also served as a welcome refreshment stop, staffed by women volunteers.

Shirley Ross, station manager at Preston, said: “We’re extremely proud to be able to celebrate and commemorate Preston’s heritage in this way. We are delighted to have been involved in the project and ensure the Jellicoe Express – and the brave men and women who took that journey in both World Wars - will forever be remembered.”

Johnny Jellicoe, grandson of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, said it was a privilege to be involved and hear stories from the time.