A Victorian steam locomotive that survived an attack in Dorset by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War is to star in the Swanage Railway’s first ever Spring Steam Gala – along with four other steam locomotives.
London and South Western Railway T9 class No. 30120 was hauling freight from Brocken-hurst to Dorchester when it was attacked at Wool station by two Messerschmitt Me109 fighters during the sunny lunchtime of Saturday, November 28, 1942.
One of the German cannon shells exploded on the footplate with the locomotive’s Dorchester driver sustaining cannon shell shrapnel wounds to his head.
The fireman sustained shrapnel wounds to his back and the pair were taken to the nearby military hospital at Bovington Camp for treatment.
Stopped next to the Ship Inn by Wool station – and awaiting permission to depart for Moreton – the T9 was riddled with bullet and cannon shell holes from end to end, including one through its firebox, as steam and lubrication pipes were severed in the attack.
More than 70 years later, No. 30120 – the only surviving T9 in the world – is the star attraction at the first ever Spring Steam Gala on the five-and-a-half mile premiere heritage line through the Isle of Purbeck on the weekend of April 5 and 6, 2014. Five steam locomotives will be in action on both days, hauling an intensive train service, and the Swanage Railway’s two free admission museums will also be open – the award-winning Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum at Norden station and the railway museum at Corfe Castle station.
Corfe Castle station’s free admission exhibition and cinema coach will also be open.