January 31

Attempt to derail Royal Train: further evidence

There has been further corroboration of the claim that a log had been placed on the line to derail the Royal Train in 1970, in addition to the testimony of three retired senior police officers.  This comes from the families of  two railways staff, including the driver. Both were awarded the Imperial Service Medal.

According to a report by Gemma Jones in the Sydney Daily Telegraph 30 January, 2009, a railways employee, Albert Patrick Rowley, spotted a log on the railway tracks laid by a would-be assassin. He not only saved The Queen, he slowed his train so carefully he prevented her rolling out of bed.

Mr. Rowley and the train driver Robert Arthur Walkington have since died, but their families have recalled how they prevented the derailment of the Royal Train carrying the Queen and Prince Philip to Orange on 29 April 1970.

As Gemma Jones reports, had they failed to see the log and continued travelling at full speed the train would have almost certainly derailed, according to experts consulted at the time.

Mr Rowley's daughter Trish Bellini told Ms. Jones: "He was certainly up there in the front of the train. He told us he was driving the Queen, he had his Queen on board and he spotted the log."

"He said she never flew out of her bunk. It was very secret. He said to me 'I drove very, very slowly'. He was a beautiful man. He was a very humble man."

Mr Rowley started work on the railways as an 11-year-old. His job was to wake up workers for their early shifts.

The Telegraph reports that his granddaughter Kara Pryor has proudly kept the Imperial Service Medal and her grandfather's Royal Train boarding pass at her Sydney home.

Mr Walkington was also one of the top train drivers in the state and assigned to the Royal Visit. His brother Norman was unsure whether he was in the Royal Train or the sweeper train which travelled ahead.

(But earlier reports said that the sweeper train had gone through about one hour earlier and had found nothing. So it is likely he was on the Royal Train itself.)

"There was a great deal of hush, hush about it. I think he drove the train that was supposed to clear the track, they awarded him the Imperial Service Medal for his actions," Mr Walkington told Ms. Jones.

"It wasn't until the 1980s that I knew anything about it. Special forces came to see him and frightened the living daylights out of Mavis, my sister-in-law. He never really spoke to me or the family about it."

RailCorp was unable to provide any information to Ms. Jones, due to "process and procedures".

…and the perpetrators?…

Some of the police think the plot may have come from the IRA, who later murdered Lord Mountbatten and three others including two children who were with him.

IRA terrorism ended after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US mainland. It was then that the US administration realised that it could no longer allow American funds to flow into the organisation while it was conducting a war on terror, nor could the effective IRA leaders be received in Washington while they were engaged in such a campaign.  





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