Monday, 7 September 2009

Cyril & Tommy........

Let me introduce you to Cyril and Tommy, our travelling companions on a recent trip from Blackburn, Lancashire on the Settle to Carlilse Railway.

MWM and I usually have K&T for company on our trips but this midweek trip was a gift from mother and father-in-law, so we had no idea who our travelling companions would be until we boarded the train and took our seats. Enter Cyril and Tommy. Cyril said Tommy was old - he is 90. We presumed that Cyril was younger, probably 89 and a half!

Cyril and Tommy sat opposite us on the train and regaled us with tales and anecdotes of what they got up to in the second World War - all the way to Carlilse and back and very entertaining it was too. They were both sailors on minesweepers doing an essential job which enabled supply ships from America to bring much needed food to England, until the 'dig for victory' campaign was established and the British people were able to grow enough food to be self sufficient.

Cyril said that whilst he was winning the war Tommy went on a cruise on the Queen Mary over to America! What actually happened was that Tommy did sail over to America on the Queen Mary but it was with the ship's company to collect a minesweeper that had been built there, which they then sailed back to the UK!

Tommy told us how he and his friends had gone in the cinema on the ship one evening and a young ATS girl had sat in the vacant seat next to him. He said his friends had embarrased him by shouting "Go on Tommy, put your arm round her", "Get in there lad" and other such things but Tommy had resisted because he had not long become engaged to his girlfriend. He later found out that Sir Winston Churchill was on board and the young lady that had sat next to him was in fact Churchill's daughter!

Cyril told us a very sad tale about fishing bodies out of the sea (English and German) and laying them out on deck, covering them with tarpaulin. They then searched for a coffin ship to transfer the bodies but there was non to be found, so sadly they had to return the bodies to the sea.

Have you ever wondered why, on those old war films, they took pot shots at mines in the sea? According to Tommy the aim was not to blow them up but to fill them full of holes so they'd sink!

Cyril was the cook on his ship 'The Pearl' and his captain told him one day to make the men some food without making smoke - in other words don't cook. The captain suggested sandwiches to which Cyril replied "You can't give fighting men sandwiches!" but he didn't tell us what he did give them.

These were just some of the tales they told us, mostly laughing, though they did say it wasn't funny at the time.

We had taken lunch with us, as had our two new aquaintances, which we enjoyed on the train before we arrived at Carlilse. MWM managed to get some really great shots of the Cumbrian countryside through the window of the train so I've put together a little slide show for you.

We travelled by coach to Blackburn Station where we boarded the train. Here's it is pulling into Blackburn Station - 'The Fellsman', pulled by the engine Leander Class Five 5690

We only had just over an hour in Carlisle so we exited the station and went for a little walk before calling in a pub for a drink before it was time to get back for the trip home.

The City Walls

Arriving back at the station MWM took some photographs inside whilst we waited for the train.

We bought some sandwiches for the journey back and met up again with Cyril and Tommy on the train, who told us yet more tales of their WW2 escapades.

When the train stopped at Appleby to take on water MWM and I got off to take some photos of the engine and the station.

We arrived back at Blackburn Station at 7.30 p.m. where we had to get the coach back to our pick up point in Bury. We'd had a great day and had really enjoyed Cyril and Tommy's company. As we left the train we shook hands with Cyril and Tommy and told them it had been a pleasure to meet them and thanked them for their service to our country. They both said how much they had enjoyed the trip and our company too and we got Tommy's email address to send them copies of some of the photos we had taken.

Just in case you think we only have steam trains here, we took a photo of an electric train at Carlilse Station.

I know which I prefer.


Quilly said...

I love taking these train trips with you! Maybe someday I'll get to take one of my own!

Dumdad said...

Cyril and Tommy seem like great characters. Thanks for taking us along with you on this train trip. I've been to Cumbria and know some of the countryside. Lovely place but blooming cold in winter!

Valerie said...

Lovely post. Hubs went on the Settle and Carlisle trip so he was pleased to see the photographs again ... allowed him to relive the day I guess. Your a good photographer, Akelamalu.

Shrinky said...

What a wonderful pair to fall in with, they sound much younger than some people half their ages I know!

Thanks for taking us along with you, it was obviously a memorable trip.

buffalodick said...

Sounds like you met up with an old vaudeville comedy team!

secret agent woman said...

What interesting seatmates. There is something very compelling about old war stories.

Unknown said...

This is an incredible post -- I love the scrap book and slide show. Your 2 buddies look like a blast!

Ah, I wish I was traveling right now...


Daryl said...

What a wonderful treat to spend time with those fascinating older gentlemen and then the trains .. amazing .. and excellent pix!

Sandi McBride said...

And you know there's nothing I like quite as well as train travel! I feel as though I've just been on one with you and your lovely group.
Thanks for the invitation!

Linda said...

You take such wonderful trips! I just love the old steam trains that you get to travel on and there's nothing like a couple of traveling companions like Cyril & Tommy to make the trip even better.

I was thinking last night that I seriously need to save up some cash to take a vacation over that way. I wonder if there's any chance that the cost of travel may actually go down on these days??

Ron said...

What a WONDERFUL post!

I wish I could have been there with you!

GREAT photos and a FABULOUS story! That's the wonderful thing about traveling - meeting new people and hearing fascinating things about their lives. Whenever I travel, I'm always talking to everyone. For me, it's the best part of traveling.

Thank you so much for sharing this, m'dear!

Throughly enjoyed it!


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

how lucky you were to have had them on your trip! so many ww11 vets are dead now, not many left to tell the tales...

thanks for your well wished too my friend, much appreciated!

smiles, bee

Akelamalu said...

I hope you do take a train trip Quilly then I can come along with you via your blog. :)

They were great characters Dumdad. I'm glad my pics brought back some nice memories for you. :)

Ah your hubby is a fellow train enthusiast Valerie, glad he enjoyed the photos.

Cyril and Tommy were so entertaining Shrinky, we couldn't have asked for nicer companions.

They were a bit like that Buff! LOL

We told them they should write all their memories down for their families SAW, they were so interesting.

Thanks Sue D, glad you enjoyed it. :)

We couldn't have asked for a nicer day or better company Daryl :)

So pleased you enjoyed our trip Sandi x

You have to save up Linda and come here, we'll take you on some train trips. :)

Oh yes, meeting different people is a great part of the travelling Ron, you would so love these trips. When you coming? x

We counted ourselve lucky to have met two great men Bee, a memory we'll treasure. I'm thinking of you and Sarge. xx

Anonymous said...

I so enjoy reading about these trips that you take and these two buddies look like fun companions to have. Excellent photos. Loved it :)

G-Man said...

Cyril....Love that name!

Travis Cody said...

The sound like a couple of grand old gentlemen!

Dr.John said...

Thanks so much for taking us on the trip with you. I enjoyed all the pictures but really enjoyed the train engines.

Spiky Zora Jones said...

oh honey...nice photo and I'm coming back to take another look at the slides.

I love to talk with people on history and especially on World War II.

i knew a fella who used to come into the restaurant while I was a waitress and talk about the War...he was a tank awesome is that. he didn't talk to much on the killing. he talked about the people...his uniformed friends and the liberated people in Europe.

I always say...god I want to travel to the places you go to...and I do mean it.

you rock sweetie...thanks for sharing. I love it.


Brian Miller said...

traveling companions can make or break a trip. i bet they told some amazing tales. thanks for taking us along as well. loveely pics!

Finding Pam said...

Thank you for sharing your travels with us. Those two gentlemen were living legends in my book. I love people like that because they are so full of history and are the most fun.

Akelamalu said...

So glad you liked it Thom :)

It's a blast from the past G-man and I know how much you like those!

They were indeed Trav :)

It was my pleasure Dr. John, I'm pleased you enjoyed it.

People who served their country are so interesting to talk to aren't they Spiky, I never get tired of listening. I hope some day you come to England and I can show you the places for real. :)

Welcome Brian :) Yes travelling companions can make or break a trip - thankfully Cyril and Tommy made ours. :)

Living Legends - yes indeed Pam. They had so many stories to tell and kept us enthalled!

Cheffie-Mom said...

How fun! And what a pair! Love the photo of Cyril and Tommy!

Maude Lynn said...

What a great trip! I just love looking at your slide shows!

Susan at Stony River said...

Wow, would I have loved to be on this trip with you! Trains are always wonderful, but Cyril and Tommy would have made the journey splendid. My father and uncles all fought in WWII but never spoke a word of what they went through---when I read about them fishing up friends' bodies from the sea only to return them again, oh my heart broke. And now I wonder what my uncles and Dad *didn't* tell, and wanted to forget.

Thanks for sharing all this, with such lovely photos!

Cloudia said...

Thank you Ake, for sharing your wonderful world with us. i just have to say it: I admire Great Britian and her amazing, eriudite people SO much. I see why the Hawiian royalty vaued their relationship with your royals so much.
There'll ALWAYs be an England!


Comfort Spiral

Akelamalu said...

Cyril and Tommy were the salt of the earth Cheffie Mom. :)

Thanks Mama Zen I'm glad you enjoyed them.

I was surprised at how open Cyril and Tommy were about their war years Susa, though I'm sure they had more harrowing tales to tell. Glad you enjoyed the photos m'dear. x

Ah yes, there'll always be an England Cloudia. Thankyou so much for your kind words about my country. xxxx

mrsnesbitt said...

We know this, not far from us!

MarmiteToasty said...

What a wonderful surprise and joy to be seated opposite these two old gentlemen...... so full of stories..... bless them....

Ive stayed in Appleby, probably 20 years ago with only 2 nippers in tow..... I LOVE the lake district almost as much as I love Cornwall....

Sounds like you once again has the most loverly of days...


CrystalChick said...

Cyril and Tommy sound like quite the interesting pair of traveling companions. Terrific photos and story. Your trips all sound perfectly marvelous.

Yay, I'm so happy to be able to leave comments again... computer was glitchy at some pages. I think I'll be able to post pics on my page again too. :)

CrystalChick said...

Cyril and Tommy sound like quite the interesting pair of traveling companions. Terrific photos and story. Your trips all sound perfectly marvelous.

Yay, I'm so happy to be able to leave comments again... computer was glitchy at some pages. I think I'll be able to post pics on my page again too. :)

Akelamalu said...

Oh you live in a beautiful part of the country Mrs. Nesbitt :)

We could have got off the train in Appleby and stayed there for four hours Marmie but we wanted to do the whole train journey to Carlise. x

Oh yes, Crystal Chick they were great company. I'm glad your computer is behaving itself again. :)

Robin said...

how cute are Cyril & Tommy??? you are so lucky to meet up with such fascinating people in your travels.

and what travels they are - some day i hope to do my own traveling but for now, i'm okay with riding along with you and mwm!!

peace, my friend!

Around My Kitchen Table said...

Brilliant post! I love the anecdotes from Cyril and Tommy - what wonderful people. The pictures are great too.

Deb said...

Hi ~ I love this post. Learning about history from real people is the best! My husband and I went on a short train ride this summer in northern New Hampshire and we enjoyed the ride and lunch which was served. Glad you had fun and thanks so much for sharing the day with us!

Akelamalu said...

I'm pleased you enjoyed the pics and the post AMKT :)

Train rides are so much fun aren't they Deb? You are right - learning about history from first hand accounts is the best way. :)

CrAzY Working Mom said...

They look like a happy bunch of fellas. Great pics. I am glad you all had a great time! :)

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