Great Western Railway has announced that it will mark 75 years since the end of World War 2 by naming six trains after individuals involved in the conflict.
Those honoured represent the armed forces, the intelligence services and the world of politics, and remember the sacrifice and bravery shown by them during World War 2 in several ways.
The six trains will be named during March and April in the run-up to VE Day.
The first of those to be honoured is Odette Hallowes, a French citizen who lived in London and Devon/Somerset. Odette became a Special Operations Executive and the most highly decorated spy of the war.
A special ceremony will take place at Paddington station and will be attended by members of Odette’s family on Friday 6 March.
Further details of each of the ceremonies will be published in the coming weeks.
Among others, those to have an Intercity Express Train named after them include:
- Harry Billinge MBE from St Austell in Cornwall, a veteran of D-Day
- Wing Commander Ken Rees from Wales, Wellington Bomber pilot who was imprisoned in Stalag Luft III
- Alan Turing from London, who led Hut 8 at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, responsible for breaking of German cyphers.
What did the officials say?
GWR Head of Communications Dan Panes said:
“Naming trains and locomotives is a long tradition of the railway and one which GWR continues, supporting and promoting the people and communities we serve.
“I am really pleased we are able to honour some of the heroes of the war effort, continuing to help tell their incredible stories, and especially during this year where we remember all those who gave so much.”
Odette’s granddaughter, Sophie Parker, said:
“It means so much to our family that Odette is being recognised and remembered in this most moving way. Odette’s story is one of courage, dignity and hope; all of which were so important to her during her wartime service, and in overcoming the torture she suffered.
“I know Odette would be extremely humbled by this honour, and would want it seen as a tribute to all those brave women of the Special Operations Executive, especially those who never returned home.”
“We are thrilled that our grandmother is being recognised and remembered in this fantastic way. She was an incredible woman whose bravery and courage, not only from her wartime service, but also as she lived with the effects of the torture that she suffered.
“I know she would be humbled by this and would want it seen as a tribute to all those brave women of the Special Operations Executive, especially those who never returned home.”
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