Remembering ‘Mr Bill’ – the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch saviour

SATURDAY, June 9 saw the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway company and supporting association’s annual general meetings – held for the first time in many years without Sir William McAlpine as chairman.

However, the 15in-gauge railway used the occasion to remember him, describing him as “perhaps the railway’s best friend”.

It was in 1973 that Sir William formed a consortium to take over the line after it fell into severe financial difficulties. As much investment was subsequently ploughed into the line, he remained as one of its biggest shareholders, holding 38,837 (7.63%).

Fireman Tom Robinson and driver Zak Clark with The Bug carrying the special headboard in memory of Sir William McAlpine. RHDR

Last year saw Sir William look proudly upon some of his many achievements when, for the line’s 90th anniversary, Davey Paxman 4-6-2 No. 7 Typhoon was paired with A3 No. 60103 Flying Scotsman, which he repatriated from the US, at the Bluebell Railway.

June 9 saw Krauss 0-4-0 No. 4 The Bug, which was saved by Sir William from the scrapheap when his consortium took over, carry a memorial headboard and wreath.

Sir William, 82, known to his friends as ‘Mr Bill’ lost a three-month battle against sepsis in the Royal Berkshire Hospital at Reading on March 4.

Read more News and Features in Issue 243 of HR – on sale June 29!

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