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Our own war casualty

Photo: NRM

The Spring edition of NRM Review features several articles about World War 2. Unfortunately, we ran out of space at 68 pages, so this small article is published here instead. In this commemoration of the end of World War 2, we must not forget our own exhibit, Furness Railway No 3, better known as Coppernob, which still bears the scars of an attack on Barrow-in-Furness Central station on the night of 5 May 1941. It was on display in a large glass case, reminiscent in design of the Palm House at Kew Gardens, but this and a large part of the station was destroyed in the raid. Coppernob suffered shrapnel damage puncturing the large copper dome and the tender, with much superficial damage from the glass case collapsing around it.

Photo: Russ Rollings

Photo: Russ Rollings

After the raid, Coppernob was transferred to Horwich Works for ‘safekeeping’, possibly a curious decision as the works were concentrating on building tanks and other military equipment and were also in the industrial heart of the north-west, a prime target and a heavily bombed area during the war. Works of art were transferred from London galleries and museums to remote areas of North Wales during the war; a remote shed somewhere along a rural Lake District line would possibly have been a safer place for Coppernob. However, happily it survived and has steamed again many times since that fateful day in 1941, and now looks superb around the turntable in Great Hall.

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Russ Rollings

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