Review of the year from Chairman, LMS-Patriot Project, David Bradshaw (with due acknowledgment to Chris Proudfoot of the 82045 Project)

Yesterday, I read Chris Proudfoot’s monthly update on the 82045 web page which was followed by his review of 2017.  This reminded me that I still hadn’t completed my end of 2017 review for the Patriot, so thank you Chris for this timely reminder.

I can do no better than plagiarise a section of his opening paragraph, which says “Well, it hasn’t got light for the past three days, there’s unspeakable, mind-numbing music blaring out in the shops and supermarkets ((I loved Roy Wood’s songs when he was with The Move - remember Fire Brigade and Flowers in the Rain?), gaudy lights everywhere, people coughing, sneezing, looking stressed and miserable…that’s right, it’s the Season of Goodwill again! Apart from his reference to Roy Wood (bit too sophisticated for me), I’ll go with the rest, including the coughing and sneezing, as my wife and I have enjoyed a dose of this delightful bug which has been with us since before Christmas.

2017 has been a strange and frustrating year for The Unknown Warrior, with so much going off track despite all our efforts.  It began in May when two days before we were due to visit Crewe to discuss boiler progress, I had a phone call from one of their Directors, Mike Hart to say that owing to the fact that they had lost three members of their boiler team, they wouldn’t be finishing the Patriot boiler as they had decided to pull out of contract work altogether. This meant that following their completion of the copper firebox, promised for the end of June and finally finished end October, we would have to find another contractor.  During this time, delivery of certain critical items began to fall behind schedule and this combined with labour issues at Llangollen resulted in completion dates beginning to slip and it soon became apparent that the forecast chassis completion date of October 31st would not be met. At the same time we were in discussion with the Royal British Legion regarding November 2018 commemorations when they decided out of the blue to withdraw their endorsement of the project and instructed us using to stop using their crest on the nameplate.  We have decided not to comment on this decision, leaving others to do this, so the statement we issued at the time will not be expanded upon.

Notwithstanding all of the above, things have continued to move forward – please see Kevin West’s excellent engineering updates on the LMS-Patriot website- and slowly all the parts we need to complete the engine are coming together.

With all of these happenings, you might have thought they would have discouraged our Board and our many members and supporters.  On the contrary, we have found new and enthusiastic contractors for the boiler and our income in quarter three has exceeded all expectations, so we go into 2018 with a spring in our step and renewed confidence in our ability to finish the job, albeit rather later than originally hoped. 

At this point, Chris, who is an enthusiastic Patriot member by the way, signed off his 2017 review with a Latin quotation, credited to Julius Caesar (49BC).  Chris has the advantage of being a Latin teacher and scholar but my only claim to fame in this arena is a mark of 17% in my Latin ‘O’ level mocks which resulted in my summary ejection from the class, along it can be said with a number of others. I will therefore limit my sign off to “Sursum et Porsum ad Excellentiam” – in English I believe, ‘forwards and upwards towards excellence ’.  Not a bad motto really.

Thank you all for your incredible support in 2017, and my best wishes to you all for a happy and healthy New Year. 2018 promises to be a big one.

Kindest regards



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