It’s always sad to lose old friends, and although we have not seen him recently, Martin’s passing, age 88, leaves a big gap in the ESNG membership. Derek Atfield has put together a brief biography of a most interesting life, that I have adapted here.
We are sad to inform you of Martin’s death on May 2nd, following a rapid deterioration in his health. Martin had responded well to a major operation three years ago but had been housebound due to a long-standing back complaint, made worse by lack of mobility during his recovery.
Martin was born within the sound of Bow bells but, due to his mother’s illness, spent much of his early life with relatives near Corfe Castle, which influenced his interest in railways and his construction of an excellent home layout based on the area. Called up for military service in WWII, Martin was selected for a commission and joined the Royal Fusiliers, a regiment then comprised of men from his native part of London. His military service had a profound effect on his bearing and he always sported a neatly trimmed moustache. After the war, he joined BP and went on to become a major project manager with interests in the field of alternative energy. Both the military and BP management were sometimes noticeable during ESNG AGM’s. Not always the easiest person to please, Martin was a loyal friend and good companion to those who took an effort to get to know him.
Martin was old enough to recall the end of the overhead electric services in South London but his long lasting interest took the form of CIWL and the Orient Express, being a member of the Pullman Society and amassing a large collection of N-gauge British and overseas restaurant coaches. He was a member of the Southern Module Group, a forerunner of ESNG. He was then greatly involved in setting up ESNG, and one of the founder members, and later become our President. His interest in European railways led to him being one of the first ESNG members to attend the N-gauge meeting at Stuttgart, now a regular feature of the club year. Following the death of his wife Ann, railway modelling continued to interest him and he constructed several new layouts, regularly visiting shows and swap-meets and taking an active part in club events until prevented by illness.
Martin leaves two sons, and a considerable collection of model railway materials and rolling stock which they have made available to club members. Derek is in the process of preparing an inventory of this for circulation, in the meantime his home layout of Corfe Castle has been offered to the Swanage Railway museum and ESNG members are invited to offer to take on his two “St Chant” modules (including stock and N-Mod dash boards).
Martin built a number of layouts in recent years, and I’ll write another post illustrating some of his work. For now, here are a few pictures at our shows perhaps 10 years ago.