The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 6 (October 1, 1929)
For Gallantry — Railwayman Honoured
Representatives of all branches of the Railway Service in Wellington filled the Dominion Farmers’ Institute Conference Hall on 12th September, on the occasion of the presentation of the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand's bronze medal to Mr. Cyril Mills, of the mechanical engineering staff of the Railways. Mr. Mills was instrumental in saving four lives in the fatal boating accident in the Paremata Harbour last December. The General Manager of Railways (Mr. H. H. Sterling) presided. He was supported by Messrs. M. Dennehy, Assistant-General Manager of Railways, F. C. Widdop, Chief Engineer, E. T. Spidy, Superintendent of Workshops, and G. G. Stewart, Officer in Charge of the Publicity Branch.
Amongst the visitors were: Mr. W. H. Field, M.P. for Otaki; Captain G. Hooper, Nautical Adviser to the Marine Department; and Mr. P. F. A. Coira, of the Royal Humane Society.
Mr. W. H. Field, who was introduced by Mr. Sterling, paid a tribute to Mr. Mills's act of bravery, saying that he did not know of the case of a man being more entitled to admiration. (Applause.)
Giving a more detailed account of the incident, Mr. Sterling, who made the presentation on behalf of the Royal Humane Society, said: “We are here to-day to do honour to our comrade, Mr. Mills, and I am very glad to pay tribute to him and to his act of gallantry.” Mr. Sterling said that on December 30th, 1928, six men attempted to cross the entrance of Paremata Harbour in a small dinghy, which capsized. Mr. Mills witnessed the accident, and in a small boat, went to their assistance. He managed successfully to rescue two men, and then returned for the third, and faced grave risk in a choppy sea, in getting a semi-conscious man aboard. However, having succeeded, he again set out and rescued a fourth man, at imminent peril of his life, landing this unconscious man on the beach. The other two men were drowned. “One can understand an act of bravery on the impulse of the moment, when the danger is not realised,” said Mr. Sterling, “but this incident was not one of that description. In face of obvious risk, Mr. Mills went out as his deliberate duty, and we must stamp it without any other evidence as an outstanding act of bravery.”
Mr. Sterling referred to Mr. Mills's past record, which he said thrilled them with pride. In the Great War. Mr. Mills was awarded the Mons Star and later received the Croix de Guerre. Also, at the age of 15 years, he held the swimming championship of the Midlands (England). “We are pleased,” Mr. Sterling said, addressing Mr. Mills, “that the Humane Society should have seen fit to reward your act by their bronze medal—the inscription on which reads: ‘Awarded to Cyril Vincent Mills, for an act of bravery, December 30th, 1928’—eloquent in its brevity. I personally have great feelings of pride in pinning this medal on your breast, and trust that you will enjoy long life to wear your decoration. I heartily congratulate you.”
The representative of the Royal Humane Society (Mr. P. F. A. Coira) also congratulated Mr. Mills, and, with Mr. Sterling, expressed the wish that he would long be spared to wear the decoration.
Mr. Mills, who was received with loud applause, suitably responded. He said he felt it a great honour to have received the medal at the hands of Mr. Sterling.
He was given three hearty cheers.
Track Circuiting Rare in Germany
There is one interesting field of working where the methods followed in England and on the Continent differ widely—that of train signalling. The German signalling, for instance, is full of interest. In Germany what is known as the Siemens and Halse lock and block arrangement is favoured, developed to a high standard of safety and efficiency. There are 17,869 signal boxes on the German railways, about 1,000 of these being power-operated. The “stop” signal has a circular disc at the end of the arm, working in the upper quadrant. The signal arm is coloured red and bordered with an inch-wide stripe, or conversely, according to the background. Slat arm construction is common, this with the idea of securing better visibility. A disc about two feet in diameter serves as “distant” signal. This disc is painted yellow with a two-inch black border, and it is sighted at 700 metres from the stop signal. In the “off” position the disc falls parallel with the ground, and by night a double yellow light is shown. Points, signals and crossings are operated by the compensated double wire system, and track circuiting is very rare. Route indicators, also, are not favoured, their places being taken by dummies which point downwards left for divergence to the left, and downwards right for divergence to the right.
Our Query Corner
A correspondent, “Interested,” asks for some particulars concerning the Class Ba. locomotive recently converted to a modern standard and featured in the Magazine. The Chief Mechanical Engineer, to whom our correspondent's queries were submitted, replies as follows:—
The new boiler fitted to Ba. 552 (not 497 as was stated in error) has a wide firebox with a grate area of 26 sq. ft. It is a smaller boiler than that of the Ab. type, being shorter in the barrel. The foundation ring, also, slopes down towards the throat plate instead of being horizontal as in the case of the Ab. No alteration has been made to the wheel arrangement of the engine (an additional bogie wheel at the back end not being necessary), but the boiler is carried high on the frames, the centre line of the barrel being 7ft. 4in. above the rail. The main frames have been cut down at the top between the driving and intermediate coupled wheels, and the front of the firebox sits down on this lower part of the frame, the remainder of the firebox resting over the intermediate and trailing coupled wheels. The alteration has been made without adding any appreciable weight to the engine.page break
A Fine Model Locomotive
The height of a boy's ambition.
Mr. F. L. Campion and his model “Ws” locomotive.
The model locomotive illustrated above was built by Mr. F. L. Campion, railway fireman, New Plymouth, in a workshop attached to his home. When in operation it is extremely interesting to watch, the regular beat of the exhaust and the graceful motion of the perfectly functioning Walschaert valve gear being especially interesting. It is a perfect replica in miniature of the “Ws” type of locomotive in service on our railways, and runs on a three-inch steel track, on ground level, drawing passenger trolleys sufficiently strong to bear the weight of an average person. With the exception of the castings, which were made at a local foundry, the model is entirely Mr. Campion's own handiwork, and he is to be congratulated on his achievement.