Collett headstone appeal

The Friends of Swindon Railway Museum have launched a fundraising campaign to place a headstone on the unmarked grave of the Great Western Railway’s (GWR) pioneering Chief Mechanical Engineer Charles Benjamin Collett OBE.


kmw_charles_collettFollowing extensive research by a member of the Swindon Friends, it was discovered that the former GWR Chief Mechanical Engineer lies in an anonymous plot in Wimbledon.

Collett died on August 23 1952 and is buried in Gap Road Cemetery, Wimbledon. He rests with two other persons in an unmarked grave.

Research visits were paid to the resting places of all the former Chief Mechanical Engineers which included Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Daniel Gooch, Joseph Armstrong, William Dean, George Jackson Churchward, Charles Collett and Frederick Hawksworth. The research highlighted that all the former Chief Mechanical Engineers had a resting place commensurate with their achievements except Collett.

The Friends of Swindon Railway Museum will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Collett’s famous ‘Castle’ 4-6-0 this August and are inviting all GWR followers to support their campaign to raise the funds to give the locomotive’s creator the lasting tribute his railway service deserves with a headstone.

The proposed memorial will feature an inscription of a ‘Castle’ 4-6-0 and a reference to Collett as the creator of the class, together with details of his birth and death. A fundraising target of £2,500 has been identified to pay for the associated cemetery, design, engraving and installation costs needed to create the tribute.

◘ Visit Go Fund Me to find out more or to donate.