Territorial Terror Two: WW1 Railway Engineer Soldier’s Postcard Home Returns By Post To His Family 108 Years On.


Some of you may remember reading my January 2018 about this simple comic ‘Burlesque’ military postcard from 1911, following up the identity of the writer Annie Harrop and its intended recipient,  her 20 year old brother Willie Harrop of Crewe:


Railway employee William Harrop (b. Crewe 1891) went on to serve in and survive WW1.

Annie’s Postcard home 23/ 24 July 1911 

His unusual  service in WW1 was partly due to his special trade as a Locomotive Engine Fitter for The LNWR .

The Harrops were a railway family in the railway town of Crewe, his Crewe born-and-bred father Thomas being a Locomotive Engine Painter, also for the LNWR. Eventually several more sons, Walter Baden Harrop (Baden Powell or BP being a Boer War name?) and Lewis Harrop became LNWR apprentices.

William Harrop’s address by 1916 seems to have moved next door to 74 Westminster Street and he Attested to Enlist and serve from 1916 with the Royal Engineers, ROD Railway Operating Division at Longmoor.

Willie died aged 75 in 1966. You can read more of the story here: https://sidetracked2017blog.wordpress.com/2018/01/13/territorial-terror

Over a year after the blogpost

A few weeks ago Kathryn Harrop / Morris contacted me about this postcard and the associated family history research behind this story. She has been researching the Harrop side of her family, so could confirm some of my research ideas.


Kathryn said: “This story is about my great uncle and yes Annie [Harrop] did marry John Prince. Thank you for the info, it will really help me find out more about my Dad’s side of the Harrop family.”

Kathryn’s research confirms that Postcard writer Annie married John Prince in 1921 and she died in Crewe aged 87 in 1980.

It seemed to me a suitable home for Annie’s postcard to her brother Willie was back with the Harrop family.  They may no longer live in Crewe but it has given me great satisfaction to post it back to the Harrop family 108 years later!

It reminded me a little of this unusual postcard project Postcards from Time by Ben Curran http://www.postcardsfromtime.org/index.html


Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN, April 2019.


The Other Channel Tunnel to Ireland

Interesting one page article by Peter Dale from my gaming scrapbook, taken from a very old copy of Volume 10 Issue 11, November 1996 of Backtrack, a railway history magazine. I kept this page when handed a batch of old railway magazines a while back, as I thought it had interesting gaming scenario ideas for the future.

Based on engineering discussions and papers from 1886 to 1901, Peter Dale explores whether a rail tunnel could have been built linking Ireland to the rest of mainland Britain via Scotland or Wales.

The geology and the whole idea proved too difficult and expensive and was quietly forgotten long before WW1, the Easter Rising, the Irish Civil War and Irish Independence.

It may have proved yet another awkward or weak point to be guarded in the national defences. Perfect for some game scenarios of “What if?”

I’m surprised it didn’t crop up in some of the literature of invasion scares that were around in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN on my occasional Sidetracked blog, 22 September 2018.