Newspaper report from 1933 about David Hughes, who at 91 years old was
thought to be the oldest retired engine driver in the country. He was not
connected with the local railways but had retired to Ansdell.
Blackpool Herald August 1935
OLDEST ENGINE DRIVER.
Many Years' Pilot of the Royal Train.
Probably the oldest retired engine driver in the country, Mr.
David Hughes, of Corwen, North Wales, until recently a frequent visitor to Lytham
St. Annes, has ad a remarkable experience during his many years of service on the
Great Western Railway.
Mr. Hughes, who has reached the age of 91, entered the service
of the G.W.R. in 1864 and remained with them until 1906, when he retired. He spent
many years on the footplate, being given charge of his first train in 1870, between
Chester and London.
Mr. David Hughes.
His skill as a driver received the greatest acknowledgment it
could have when he was appointed driver of the Royal train, and he became Queen
Victoria's favourite driver. He drove the Queen on her last visit to Wales, and at
her death piloted the train which conveyed her remains from Paddington to
HONOURED BY ROYALTY.
A singular honour befell Mr. Hughes when, in 1901, he was
personally decorated by King Edward with the insignia and medal of the Royal
Victorian Order. In the same year the directors of the Great Western Railway
Company presented him with a bronze medallion in recognition of his faithful work
in his service.
Before that, in 1892, he had received a letter of commendation
from the G.W.R. directors, complimenting him upon his prompt and judicious action
in saving the life of a man who had stepped in front of his engine near Paddington.
He drove the last broad gauge train from Bristol to London.
In his lifetime he has met—and driven —many famous people.
During the Prince of Wales' tour of North Wales in 1934, Mr.
Hughes and his wife, who died a short time ago, were presented to the Prince at
Glyndyfrdwy, where the Prince opened a new institute.
Mr. J. H. Thomas, who in his younger, days knew Mr. Hughes so
well, paid him a tribute in a letter to Mr. Hughes; son, Mr. R. D. Hughes, of
Arundel Road, Ansdell. “When I was quite a young man there was no driver so
respected as David Hughes." wrote Mr. Thomas.
Now this old gentleman living quietly in his beloved North Wales
is finding fame in Germany, where his photograph is on view at the Nuremburg
Railway Exhibition. An invitation has been issued to him to attend, but he may not
be able to do so.
There his portrait will be displayed with those of other men who
have become famous through one cause or another in the railway world.