1954: First aid award for railman

For his prompt action in giving first aid to an injured crane driver at Oxenholme Station on May 17, 1953, Mr John McDermott, 24, Elmsley Street, Preston, Assistant District Signalmen’s Inspector at Lancaster Castle Station, will receive an award in London to-day (Friday) from Mr. J. W. Watkins, Chief Regional Manager of the London Midland Region of British Railways.

GIRDER SLIPPED

Mr. McDermott was in charge of single line working and diversion of traffic at Oxenholme when a new station roof was being erected. The crane driver, Mr. J. Parry, of Bangor, North Wales, was guiding a girder into position when it slipped and fell on him causing him multiple injuries.

Mr. McDermott, who is Captain of the Preston Station Ambulance Corps, treated Mr. Parry before a doctor arrived. The doctor commended Mr. McDermott for his prompt action and Mr. Parry later fully recovered.

Mr. McDermott is a former signalman. He was controller in the District Operating Superintendent’s office at Preston and has been at Lancaster since May 1952.

Lancaster Guardian 24 September 1954

1950: End of a famous pack

The Oxenholme Hunt, which for 80 years has played a colourful part in the country life of South Westmorland, was wound up on Saturday when the last hound left the Gatebeck kennels for a North-country pack. A few days ago nine hounds were sent to join the drag-hound pack of which Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands is Master. Now for the first time for 72 years the Gatebeck kennels are empty of horse and hound. The district is also covered by the Lunesdale pack of fell foxhounds, and lack of funds has compelled the keen band of Oxenholme followers, who have kept the pack going in recent years, to wind it up.

The Oxenholme saw its greatest days under the late Mr. Charles H. Wilson, who was Master from 1878 to 1918. From his time the pack hunted red deer but this quarry largely disappeared from the South Westmorland countryside during the Second World War, and there had to be a change to fox hunting with an occasional “find” of deer in the many noted coverts. The most famous servant of the pack was “Hunty Dick” Jackson who spent half a century as its kennel huntsman.

Yorkshire Post, 26 June 1950

1949: They saved expresses

Two railway linesmen who were called out in the middle of the night to do some electrical repairs, found one of the lines over the 100ft.-high Lambrigg Viaduct, Westmorland, on the main Euston-Carlisle route was broken.

By their action in halting expresses while temporary repairs were carried out, they probably averted a disaster.

This was stated at Oxenholme, near Kendal, yesterday, when cheques were presented to the men – Herbert Stephenson, of Seven Hill Place, Oxenholme, and his assistant, Richard Haythornthwaite – by British Railways.

Yorkshire Post, Friday 16 December 1949

Family Service

After 20 years’ service as stationmaster at the busy Westmorland junction of Oxenholme, near Kendal, Mr. Robert Raffels has retired, with the good wishes of colleagues, and hundreds of rail-users, to Tibicar-lane, Heysham.

At the age of 60, he has completed 46 years’ railway service and has maintained a family tradition. His father, the late Robert Raffels, spent 45 years with the old Maryport and Carlisle Railway, 32 as stationmaster at Curthwaite, Wigton and Carlisle (Crown), and it was in the stationmaster’s house at Curthwaite that Mr. Raffels was born.

Altogether these two Robert Raffels spent a total of 91 years working for the railway, 63 of them in the position of stationmaster.

Mr. Raffels started his career at the age of 14 in the parcels and booking office at Citadel Station, Carlisle, and worked in other departments in Carlisle before being transferred to the District Traffic Superintendent’s Office at Lancaster in 1896. He was appointed stationmaster at Glasson Dock in 1909., and two years later took up a similar position at Southwaite, near Carlisle. He spent several years as a relief stationmaster, occupying the position, temporarily, at nearly every station between Preston and Carlisle., and 20 years ago was appointed to Oxenholme.

He has a fund of reminiscences about railway incidents and passengers. People of all nationalities have changed at Oxenholme on their way to tour the Lakes, and Royal trains have frequently passed through the station.

Mr. Raffels told a colleague that with one exception he had been on the station on every occasion a Royal train had passed through in the last 20 years. The only time he missed, he said, was when he was on leave.

One of his most pleasant recollections was being introduced on the station to the King and Queen (then the Duke and Duchess of York) when they were visiting Kendal.

His worst experience was during the snow hold-ups early this year. “I have never seen anything like it.” He said. “We worked nearly 24 hours a day and it was an ordeal I would not care to repeat.”

Railways have changed since Mr. Raffels early association with them, for when he first started at Carlisle, seven different railway companies, The L.N.W., the Midland, North-Eastern, the Maryport and Carlisle, the Caledonian, the G. and G.W.,and the N.B. all ran into Carlisle.

One of this hardworking stationmaster’s few hobbies is collecting photographs, and he has a rare collection of snaps of engines, including modern “crack” locomotives and those of a type now obsolete.

Passengers having cause to change regularly at Oxenholme will miss the big, cheery official who always had a smile and a joke for evryone.

Lancashire Evening Post 07 May 1940

1938: Injured on Railway

Hearing cries from the railway line near Oxenholme signal box, Signalman W. Swarbrick found Richard Hill (60), railway messenger, of Fellside, Kendal, lying near the line with his left foot and hand badly crushed.

It appears that Hill was run down by a light engine, although the driver was unaware of any accident. Hill was taken to the County Hospital, Kendal, where his foot and hand were amputated.

Sunderland Daily Echo, 1 July 1938

1926: Fatal thorn scratch – Oxenholme engine driver’s death

Mr. G. E. Cartmel (Coroner for South Westmorland) held an inquest on the body of William Duckett (67) of 15, Helmside, Oxenholme, an engine driver employed by the L.M.S. Railway Company.

Duckett, it was stated, was a widower and lived with his daughter, Mary Jane Duckett. On Friday night, the 12th inst., he was walking home from Oxenholme railway station, having been on a visit with his daughter to Lancaster. It appears that a motor car came along, and Duckett stepped in to the side of the road behind his daughter, catching his face in a rose bush which was hanging over the  wall. At the time he entertained the fear that his eye had been injured, but when he arrived home it was found that only the flesh at the corner of his eye had been lacerated. Miss Duckett attended to the wound, and next morning at 4 45 her father went to work feeling better. He retired to bed that night about nine o’clock, but at 12 30 Miss Duckett was disturbed by her father’s laboured and heavy breathing. She gave him some milk and bathed his eye with hot fomentations, later calling in Dr. Edgcumbe from Kendal. The doctor attended him up to the time of his death, which occurred at 6 45 p.m. on the 20th inst.

At the inquest, which was held at the deceased’s home, the Coroner returned a verdict that death was due to heart failure following blood poisoning accidentally received from a scratch by a rose thorn.

Lancashire Evening Post, 26 November 1926

1925: Kendal man killed – Fatal accident on railway at Oxenholme

A railway fatality occurred at Oxenholme Junction, near Kendal, about 9.20 this morning, when Ernest Nevinson, porter-guard, employed on the London, Midland, and Scottish Railway, was in the shunting yard. He was knocked down and run over by a light engine returning to the sheds. His body was badly mutilated, and Nevinson was dead when admitted to the Westmorland County Hospital at Kendal. He was a married man, living at Stramongate, Kendal.

Lancashire Evening Post, 20 August 1925

1923: A Westmerian’s Interesting Career

DEATH OF MR. T. MOFFAT, OXENHOLME

The death took place at Glen Villa, Oxenholme, early on Thursday morning of Mr. Thomas Moffat, at the age of 68 years. Born at Sunbiggin, Orton, which his father owned, Mr. Moffat started life as a railway clerk at Tebay, afterwards going to Shap, Subsequently he went to Lancaster, where he acted as a relief stationmaster. Later he was promoted to be stationmaster at Oxenholme, and it was during his stay there that he built Glen Villa.

About 1897 he left the railway service and set up in business in Kendal, selling feeding cakes for Messrs. Bibby, Liverpool, and established a branch at Penrith. He also dealt in slags and manures, and built up a flourishing business. He was secretary of the old Kendal Auction Mart, following Mr. Parker in that position, and remaining secretary until the amalgamation with the Farmers’ Auction Mart in 1900. Since then he has been a director of the mart, in the welfare of which he took a keen interest. At the time of his death he was vice-chairman of the Board of Directors.

Mr. Moffat was only taken ill about a fortnight go, and his condition did not become serious until a few days before his death. He was married twice. His first wife, Miss Wildman, died 25 years ago. Later he married Miss Gray, who, with one son of the first marriage, Mr. Arthur J. Moffat, survive him. Two of the deceased’s brothers are Mr. John Moffat, Sedbergh, and Mr. Sam Moffat, Penrith. The deceased was well-known and respected, and was a strong Conservative. The funeral took place at Natland Church on Sunday.

Published by the Penrith Observer, 13 March 1923

1920: Colonel Killed – Motor-Accident on Kendal-Oxenholme Road

A distressing fatality occurred on Oxenholme-Kendal road last evening.

Mr. Arthur Wilson, of Raysholme, Oxenholme was motoring towards Kendal about eight o’clock when nearing Brookside he overtook Colonel John Thompson, who was walking towards Kendal. The night was extremely dark, and the colonel, who was apparently walking in the middle of the road was not noticed by Mr. Wilson until he was close upon him.

Mr. Wilson swerved the car to avoid the colonel, but the wing caught Colonel Thompson in the back. The colonel fell heavily on his head in the road. Mr. Wilson removed the colonel to the side of the road, and motored to Helm Chase to telephone for medical aid. Dr. Walker went out immediately, but death had taken place before his arrival.

Colonel Thompson, who was 73 years of age, was one of the tallest men in Westmorland. He was in charge of the Kendal composite company of Volunteers in the South African War, where he served with distinction, and also saw home service in the late war. He lived with his sister at The Lound, Kendal. He was a bachelor.

Lancashire Evening Post, Tuesday 16 November 1920