IGNITING THE FLAME OF UNITY



THE HISTORY OF THE


BRIGHTON BRANCH OF A.S.L.E.F.

 

 

 

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 BRANCH SECRETARY


ALAN HARDY 2015 - 2016


(Footplate Seniority 08.03.1999 (14.10.74)


JEM HANNAM 2017 -


(Footplate Seniority ? )

 

Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their 

grandchildren are once more slaves.” D.H. Lawrence 

 

 PAUL EDWARDS COLLECTION

 This page will tries to explain the events of the during the new Thameslink/Southern franchised 


 

 SIMON BARNES COLLECTION

ALAN HARDY

Brighton Branch Secretary 2015-16

 

 Presentations made at the Brighton A.S.L.E.F. Reunion


5th May 2015

 

 All presentations made by National Organiser & Brighton Branch member Simon Weller (Left)

 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


JULY 2015


South East: Slur on the E.C.


I must reply to the gross distortion of the facts as represented by Laurie Holden (Journal, may). I was the Executive 

Committee member for District 1 during the entire privatisation period. AAD laid down principles for the EC to enforce by 

recommending, or not, the various restructuring deals presented to them by company councils.

It is a slur on the eight members of the EC at that time to suggest we’d done an underhand deal with Connex South Eastern 

when, at the same time, we were conducting an industrial dispute with their sister company Connex South Central. It is no 

good quoting the votes in favour if you do not state the votes against. And if you cannot be bothered to vote you cannot 

complain about the result. It would appear that Laurie is endorsing the Tories’ policy on trade union ballots, i.e. there must be 

a 51% majority.

He refers to the R.M.T. branch at Slade Green but does not tell us if it still exists. I hesitate to remind him that because of the 

shameful number of scabs during the 1982 dispute on South Eastern a scab’s union was formed only to vanish soon after.


Bill Mackenzie, 

former EC president and member for District 1 

 

 DAVE SWAFFIELD COLLECTION

Dave Devenport (Branch Chairman), Paul Horan, Paul Overington & Alan Hardy (Branch Secretary)

At the T.U.C. to lobby against Government’s Trade Union Bill on Monday 2nd November, 2015,

at Westminster Central Hall, London

 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

JULY 2015


Off the rails or off his head

Since Off the Rails (Journal, August) focused on the royal family, I want to point out a few facts regarding our Queen and the

cheap comment made by Tosh McDonald (‘Good pay rise for the Queen, who does nowt.’) The cost of the monarchy to the 

taxpayer rose by nearly 6% last year – more than double the rate of inflation – but 56p per head of population is fantastic value 

for money and it’s only republicans who cannot see this. As for Her Majesty doing ‘nowt’ she is now the longest reigning 

monarch in our history and one would like to think that at 89 she would take things easy. But she has increased her workload 

and left most of the younger royals trailing, especially the Duchess of Cambridge.


Paul Overington

Brighton

Paul Edwards Collection

The front of the Class 700 Siemen’s Thameslink units, 2015

 

 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


FEBRUARY 2016


Roy Luxford was thanked for his long service and all his hard work and presented with a decanter and bottle of Scotch 

at the Brighton A.G.M. (2015)


Steve Allison, Assistant Secretary 

 

Steve Allison Collection

Alan Hardy (Branch Secretary), Roy ’Soapy’ Luxford & Dave Devonport (Branch Chairman) 

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


FEBRUARY 2016


PHIL PLAINE


‘A FORMIDABLE UNION SPOKESMAN


WHO COULD WALK ON WATER’


It is with great sadness that I report the departure of Brighton A.S.L.E.F. member Bro. Phil Plaine.  He passed away on the 

18th December 2015 at age of 88.  

Phil’s footplate career started on the 11th October 1943.  He followed in the footsteps of other family members. Phil spent his 

entire career at Brighton. He progressed through the various footplate grades from engine cleaner, fireman, engineman and in 

1962 transferring to the motorman’s depot at Brighton.

Phil became a dominant figure within the Brighton No. 2 Branch.  He held various positions, these included Branch Secretary, 

Branch Chairman, L.D.C. Secretary, H&S Rep, Trades Council Delegate, A.A.D. Delegate, District Council Representative 

(of which he served as Chairman.)

Phil was a strong defender of all footplate staff and their conditions and a formidable advocate and spokesman for his depot 

and the A.S.L.E.F. membership. His fellow members claimed that he ‘could walk on water.’

Phil will also be remembered for the very active part he played during the ‘Flexible Rostering’ dispute of 1982 and the 

support that he mustered for the Miners during their long and bitter strike. He was a truly dedicated trade unionist through 

and through.

In 1989 Phil decided to take early retirement. This ended a family connection to the railway industry within the Brighton area 

that dated back to the 1860s.

Paul Edwards

Brighton Branch

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


APRIL 2016


Ron “RAB” Rabbetts


LIFE LONG MEMBER WHO TOOK ON THE UNION HIERARCHY

 

It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of retired Brighton Driver Ron Rabbetts, aged 86.

Ron entered the footplate line of promotion on  August 22nd 1944 as an engine cleaner on the old Southern Railway, at 

Eastleigh  Loco Shed. During the mid 1950s many Loco Sheds in the  South West of England, saw a high loss of work due to 

the closure of many local lines which meant many Eastleigh Enginemen looking to migrate eastwards to find Footplate 

positions/promotion within the old Southern Region of British Railways. Ron arrived at Brighton Loco Depot towards the end 

of the 1950s, and remained at the Loco/Mixed Traction Depot. Ron retired in 1994.  

Brighton Branch would like it recorded that during the 1960s,

Ron became an active member of the Brighton No.1 Branch and later being elected as Chairman, a position that he held for 

most of the 1960s. It was during his Chairmanship, that the No.1 Branch witnessed a very sad event in its history, which 

involved the loss of two Brighton members at the tragic train crash at Itchingfield Junction in Sussex, which occurred on the 5th March 1964. It was the aftermath of this accident that saw Ron, along with other Branch Officers actively involved in 

trying to clear the names of their lost comrades, Bros. Driver Mick Guppy and Secondman John Myles. This saw the No.1 

Branch taking on the hierarchy of our Society, in its fight to get some legal representation for their late members and to enable 

some kind of compensation for the deceased family's. This was to come to ahead during the 1967 A.A.D., whereby the No.1. 

Branch lost its appeal by a mere eight votes. This did not stop them trying to seek financial compensation, and they set up a 

nationwide appeal, which ran for about 18 months and they raised approximately £1,000 for the Guppy family, a lot of money 

in those days and was a great financial aid those affected.

The legacy of this event was recognized by the Brighton Branch in October 2014, when the Branch unveiled a plaque at 

Horsham station to remember their lost comrades and to pay tribute to everyone that played part in this sad tragic event. 

Unfortunately Ron was unable to attend this momentous event owing to him being house bound for a number of years due to 

health problems.

Ron was a life long and loyal member of our Society, and he will be sadly missed by his fellow colleagues us who worked with 

him….……Rest In Peace RAB 

Dave Devonport

Brighton Branch Chairman

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


APRIL 2016


JOHN ‘MICK’ GILLAM 


NEVER LEFT THE RAILWAY


I am sad to report the death on Christmas Eve of my oldest and dearest friend, John Gillam, known as Mick. He was 71. He 

started cleaning, then firing, at Brighton, got his driving job at Coulsdon, and then moved to Littlehampton. His wife Sue 

became very ill and he took a traction inspector’s job so he could look after her, and retired early when she needed full-time 

care. But, like many of us, he never left the railway. He was at every reunion and get together because he loved the friendship 

and the banter between locomen. We shared a pushchair as two-year-olds, we started school, left school, and started work 

together. He had a sharp wit and a great sense of humour. We played golf together and often said, whilst walking the course, 

that we wouldn’t change anything in our lives. But I would love the chance to play another game with him. John leaves two 

sons, John and Glenn, and his partner Pam.

Spike Jones,

Brighton RMS 

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


APRIL 2016


BRIAN YOUNG


THE HANGLETON GAZETTE 


It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of retired Brighton Driver Brian Young, aged 84.

Brian started his railway career at the young age of 14 on the 29th April, 1946,

On the  21st July, 1947, he become an engine cleaner at Bournemouth Loco Shed, where he progressed through the various footplate grades.


During the late 1950s Bournemouth Loco saw the loss of work due to the closure of many local lines which meant that many 

Enginemen of Brian’s seniority had to look to relocating to other loco depots within the old Southern Region of British 

Railways, to enable them to remain employed within the footplate grade. This brought Brian eastwards to Brighton Loco 

Depot. 

With the lost of steam at Brighton in 1964 this saw Brian learning the various forms of new diesel traction that replaced 

them. Brian worked over the various routes operated from  Brighton loco / Mixed Traction Depot. During the 1970s Brian 

served on the L.D.C. of Brighton Mixed Traction, No 1 Branch 

Shortly after the amalgamation of the Brighton Mixed Traction and the Electric Depots  Brian decided to opt out of the diesel 

work and spent the last few years working on the electric multiple units.

Brian always seemed to know everything that was going on at Brighton Depot hence his fond knick name "The Hangleton 

Gazette" after the suburb of Brighton where he lived.

Brian was a life long and a loyal member of our Society at Brighton and will be deeply missed by those of us who worked with 

him.  

Dave Devonport

Brighton Branch Chairman

 

 

 DAVID HUNT COLLECTION

Simon Weller presenting David Hunt with his 25 year badge 

at the Brighton Branch meeting on 21st April 2016 

 

 

DAVID HUNT COLLECTION

Simon Weller presenting Anthony Williams with his 15 year badge 

at the Brighton Branch meeting on 21st April 2016 

 

PAUL EDWARDS COLLECTION

 

Presentations made at the Brighton A.S.L.E.F. Reunion


3rd May 2016

 Paul Edwards Collection

Floyd Landridge, Simon Weller (N.O), Trevor Parsons, Paul Knapp & Marz Colombini (E.C. Member)   

 

 Paul Edwards Collection

Trevor Parsons receiving his 30 year membership badge 

 

 Paul Edwards Collection

Floyd Langridge receiving his 25 year membership badge 

 

Paul Edwards Collection

Paul Knapp receiving his 25 year membership badge 

 

PETER ALVEY COLLECTION

DANNY LODGE 

COMMISSIONING DRIVER ON THE FIRST OFFICIAL RUN OF THE CLASS 700 ON MAY 22nd 2016 

 

THE BRIGHTON BRANCH 125th ANNIVERSARY BRANCH MEETING


THURSDAY 25th AUGUST 2016

BRIGHTON BRANCH COLLECTION

 Left - Right, Spike Jones, Spencer Nightingale, Paul Horan, Paul Overington, Norman Moye, Theo Cohen,

 Kirsten O’Kane, Chris Horlock, Marz Colombini (E.C. member), Paul Donnelly (Eastbourne), Martin Watts, 

Tony Brace, Bob Kettle, Trevor Parsons, Geoff Hawkins?, John Osborne, Dave Lace, Matt Cole, Steve Allison, 

Steve Chatfield,  Mark Johnson, & Roy Luxford (Three Bridges)

PAUL EDWARDS COLLECTION

125th Anniversary badge designed adapted from the A.S.L.E.F.’s 50 year medallion

created by Paul Edwards & Mark Johnson 

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


OCTOBER 2016


GUS WRIGHT 


Brighton branch is sad to announce the loss of retired member Bro Gus Wright, who died on 27 July at 90. Gus started his 

footplate career as an engine cleaner at Dorchester loco shed, on the old Southern Railway, in 1944. He progressed through 

the various footplate grades and, in the late 1950s, was one of a number of locomen who transferred to Brighton because of 

the closure of lines around Dorchester. In 1962 he moved to Brighton Motormen’s depot where he remained until retirement in 

1991. Gus was a loyal member of our society and will be sadly missed by his colleagues.


Paul Edwards

Brighton 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


NOVEMBER 2016


PAUL BARBER

(Brighton Branch Member)


I knew Paul for 20 years, and got to know him a lot better after we both ended up working for Cross Country; we had some 

great laughs together, and he was there for me when I needed a friend. After my move to Bristol we kept in touch and would 

regularly hook up for drinks in Brighton. Paul and his wife Maria were due to visit in June but a week before I got a phone 

call saying he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. I arranged to meet Paul in the Basket Makers a couple of weeks later, 

where we sat in the sunshine talking about the troubled times that lay ahead, and all sorts of other shite; we had a great few 

hours, exchanged gifts and said our goodbyes. Little did I know it would be for the last time. The next seven weeks passed with 

texts and phone calls, then all of a sudden it ended with a phone call while I was in Plymouth. Paul was a very private person; 

he didn’t want a funeral but wanted his body used for medical science. The speed his death happened stopped him from having 

his wish so he had the next best thing, as Maria, said ‘Bowie-esque’. All the best Paul, you will never be forgotten, top geezer. 


Andy Gregg

Bristol & Ex Brighton

Saturday 5th November 2016

Brighton Branch members attending a rally in Brighton in support of 

the Southern Railway’s Guards dispute.

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


JANUARY 2017


Another great weekend forum at Scalby with the R.M.S. Unfortunately the A.G.S. could not attend due to the serious situation 

in the freight sector but, in his usual informative and entertaining style, our president Tosh McDonald stepped into the breach. 

Well done, Tosh. Other speakers included the G.S. of the N.U.M., who was only 17 when the miners’ strike started in 1984. His 

experience made him determined to fight for miners’ rights which is what he does to this day. We also heard from Rodney 

Bickerstaffe who was very interesting. Lots of subjects were discussed. Strangely, the more we debated the more the ale 

flowed. Makes you proud to be a member of A.S.L.E.F. 

Spike Jones

Brighton 

Presentations made at the Brighton A.S.L.E.F. Reunion

2nd May 2017

 

Jem Hannam Collection

Spike Jones receiving his 50 year medallion

Jem Hannam Collection

Paul Horan receiving his 30 year badge
Jem Hannam Collection

Andy Snelling receiving his 30 year badge
Jem Hannam Collection

Paul Edwards receiving his presentation 

for his services to the Brighton Branch

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


JULY 2017


The seventh annual ASLEF Brighton reunion was on 2nd May – and what a fantastic afternoon it was. It was well attended, 

with drivers old and new. These events are not just about honouring our retired members but also a fantastic opportunity for 

new drivers to meet, share stories (and a beer or two) and keep the solidarity across the generations alive. Our General 

Secretary presented service badges including a 50 year medallion to retired railwayman Spike Jones and an engraved 

decanter on behalf of Brighton branch to Paul Edwards. I would like to thank Mick Whelan, Marz Colombini and Graham 

Morris for attending as I know how busy their schedules are. Also a huge thank you to Paul for all his hard work in making 

this event happen and the success it was. See you next year!


Jem Hannam, 

Branch Secretary 

NEAL COWDREY COLLECTION

RICK LEWIS 

JUST ABOUT TO DEPART CAMBRIDGE, BEING THE FIRST BRIGHTON DRIVER TO DO SO

26th February 2018

Presentations made at the Brighton A.S.L.E.F. Reunion

8th May 2018

PAT O’NEILL COLLECTION

Left - Right: Steve Chatfield (Branch Chairman) Marz Colombini (E.C. Member), 

Bob Kettle, Harry Penter & Simon Weller (A.G.S)


PAT O’NEILL COLLECTION

Left - Right: Marz Colombini (E.C. Member), Bob Kettle, & Simon Weller (A.G.S)

Bob Kettle Receiving his 25 year badge

PAT O’NEILL COLLECTION

Left - Right: Marz Colombini (E.C. Member), Harry Penter, & Simon Weller (A.G.S)

Harry Penter receiving his 25 year badge.

PAT O’NEILL COLLECTION

Left - Right: Marz Colombini (E.C. Member), Steve Chatfield (Branch Chairman) & Simon Weller (A.G.S)

Steve Chatfield receiving his 15 year badge

DAVE LACE COLLECTION


Dave Lace at the T.U.C. Rally in London on the 12th May 2018

MARZ COLOMBINI COLLECTION

Bro S. Blake Brighton Delegate at A.S.L.E.F. 2018 A.A.D. Conference

BRIGHTON A.S.L.E.F. 

COMMEMORATING THE CENTENARY 

OF THE N. W. S. P. U.

National Women's Social & Political Union


THE BRIGHTON A.S.L.E.F. AND WOMEN’S SUFFRAGETTE CENTENARY BADGE

designed by Paul Edwards & Mark Johnson


In October 2018, Brighton Labour Councillor (East Brighton Ward) Nancy Platts, got in contact with the Brighton Branch of 

A.S.L.E.F. seeking support for the funding of forth of four Blue Plaques in honour of Brighton’s suffragettes and suffragists.   

The plaques would be for the W.S.P.U., Minnie Turner, Elizabeth Robins and Clementina Black. Each plaque will cost £1200 

and they had already secured the funding for the first three plaques.

Nancy was writing to each of the Brighton trade unions individually asking if they could assist by making a contribution to the 

forth plaque. At the time of writing, Nancy had raised £500 towards the fourth plaque for Clementina Black - £400 from the 

Labour Group of Councillors and £100 from the Brighton Trades Council. Nancy was therefore hoping that the remaining 

£700 to be fully funded by the Brighton trade union and labour movement. 

Clementina Black was a suffragist, writer and trade unionist, she was born at 45 Ship Street, where the plaque would be 

placed, in 1853. She was a great friend of Eleanor Marx, she joined the Woman’s Trade Unionist association and in 1888 

attended the Trades Union Congress where she moved the first resolution calling for equal pay, in 1911 she became Vice 

President of the N.U.W.S.S., she also edited the Suffragist newspaper, one of her many novels was  The Agitator based on her 

work for trade unions, she died in 1922. 

The Brighton Branch passed a motion at their October meeting to support the funding of the Brighton A.S.L.E.F. Suffragette 

badge. The profit from the sale of the badge would then be forwarded to Nancy Platts’s appeal. The Branch was able to raise 

£150 to contribute towards the forth plaque.

Prior to the start of this campaign, a blue plaque was already in existence in Hove for suffragette Victoria Lidiard, whilst 

Brighton had none.

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


FEBRUARY 2019


Southern comfort


Three Southern Rail drivers based at Brighton, Richard Brown, Gary Harman and Richard Quinn rowed the 214 mile distance 

from London to Paris on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 January to raise £2,000 for cancer Research UK. The three took it in turns 

in a 24-hour non-stop rowathon at Brighton station.

Deborah Reay Collection
Bill MacKenzie (left) former E.C. President and Tony West (right (Stratford) former Assistant General Secretary

Retired Members Section campaigning for the government to fund the TV License for the over 75’s ‬

7th March 2019

Presentations made at the Brighton A.S.L.E.F. Reunion

2nd May 2017

ALAN COOK COLLECTION


BRANCH PRESENTATION 

Dave Penny 40 years, Tony Farmer 40 years, Andy Butchers 20 years, Mick Whelan G.S. Marz Colombini E.C. Member,

 Simon Weller A.G.S., Dave Lace 35 years & Jem Hannam Branch Secretary.

  

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