Jack Perry MBE

Jack Perry with a railway van for storing empty pigeon baskets in the Woodlesford siding.

Jack Perry’s claim to fame is that he was the youngest station master on British Railways when he was only 20 years old. He was born in Wakefield and went to Queen Elizabeth Grammar School before starting on the railway in 1952 when he was 16. His first job was at Healey Mills Marshalling Yard near Horbury and he worked at several Wakefield railway offices before doing two years National Service in the RAF.

Jack Perry.

After becoming a summer relief station master Jack went first to Bramley and then in 1957 he was put in temporary charge at Crigglestone, where, in a baptism of fire, he had to take charge of the first of several gruesome incidents.

In 1960 Jack arrived at Woodlesford after being appointed to the new post of Chief Clerk as work at the station expanded with the growth in coal traffic to Skelton Grange power station.

With his wife Anne and daughters Susan and Helen he lived just a short walk away on Beechwood.

During his time at Woodlesford Jack’s talents as a trainer were recognised by his bosses and he helped to train a number of new recruits. Eventually he left in 1967 to climb the career ladder at Leeds and York before moving on to the Tyne and Wear Metro in Newcastle.

His services to the railway industry were rewarded with an MBE, and for his charity work he was made a Serving Brother, Order of St John of Jerusalem.

Click on the links below to hear Jack Perry talk about some of the characters he worked with and the events he witnessed during his time at Woodlesford.

Jack Perry – Starting on the railway

Arrival at Woodlesford

Tom Swaby – Gentleman station master

All kinds of birds!

Parcels, rhubarb and fish

A serious accident

Moving on