Signalman (Summer)

This forum is for the discussion of LNER personalities, and for use by people researching their ancestors.

Moderators: 52D, Rlangham, Atlantic 3279, Blink Bonny, Saint Johnstoun, richard, Tom F

Post Reply
mikeweavers
NER Y7 0-4-0T
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:41 pm

Signalman (Summer)

Post by mikeweavers » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:51 pm

I am undertaking family history research and have come across a brief LNER record for my grandfather, Donald Gordon Weavers (1915-1948). He is shown as a "Signalman (Summer)" at Gonerby Signal Box, Grantham. While it would be great to learn lots of details about him, I'm realsitic, so will limit my question to a simple one: what does the "Summer" element of his job title refer to? I have seen other staff shown as relief signalmen, so clearly summer is not the same thing - does it imply he worked only part of the year?

Many thanks for any assistance - railway terminology is not my strong point!

Mickey

Re: Signalman (Summer)

Post by Mickey » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:43 pm

Signalman (Summer)?. It doesn't make much sense to anyone familiar to the signalling grades during the B.R. era of the 1950s-1980s as the signalling grades back then were usually divided up into two main types either as a resident signalman (also called a regular signalmen) at one signal box or a relief signalmen who covered a number of different signal boxes in a given area from maybe three or four boxes up to maybe a dozen signal boxes. Also relief signalmen were further sub-divided into two main groups either as a G.P. relief signalman (General Purpose relief signalman) or R.D. relief signalman (Rest Day relief signalman) as well and also from a slightly early era until I am guessing up to about the 1960s there were also a few Porter/Signalmen jobs still around as well. These Porter/Signalmen would maybe work several hours during the morning and evening peak hours in the station signal box then outside the peak hours they would double up as the station porter collecting passengers tickets while the signal box was 'switched out' of the signalling circuit between the two other signal boxes which still allowed trains to run through the station under clear signals.

Going by the dates of your relative I am guessing that he was probably a signalman sometime during the 1930s-1940s and a 'Signalman (Summer) may have been as you imply for a signalman being employed during the summer months only at Gonerby box under some local arrangement agreed between both the local railway management and the N.U.R. railway union?.

These days the term signalman has been replaced by 'signaller' a non-sexist description for either a male or female signaller since the late 1990s.

mikeweavers
NER Y7 0-4-0T
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:41 pm

Re: Signalman (Summer)

Post by mikeweavers » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:21 pm

Thank you for your reply, Mickey. I should have mentioned when the record dates from - it is the "Return of Staff Employed" dated 31st October 1939. My grandfather was listed as a "signalman summer" at "grade 4" ona weekly wage of £2 15s 0d. The station records for the station itself (rather than its remote signalbox) includes two "Summer Relief Signalmen", both grade 1, on £3 10s 0d per week.

My grandfather was born in 1915, and the Return incorrectly states he started work with the railway in 1919 - I believe this should be 1929. I know he remained with LNER during the War - both my father and aunt were born during the war years. Unfortunately he died in 1948 when my father was only three years old; my grandmother died in 1995 and his siblings have all passed away too, so first-hand knowledge is now very hard to come by.

Post Reply