View Full Version : "Lord Dowding" Locomotive Plate
26th Jul 2010, 08:59
I am trying to locate the "Lord Dowding" locomotive plate which used to hang in the Officer's Mess at Bentley Priory before it closed. Has anyone seen it on their travels? Is it hanging in another Mess? Any details welcome.
26th Jul 2010, 09:08
Suggest you log in to National Preservation and put your thread up there.I have a faint recollection I've seen something about this before.Original name plates are worth a lot of money.
26th Jul 2010, 09:14
NRM at York may be able to help?
26th Jul 2010, 09:32
Nameplate LORD DOWDING
Battle of Britain class locomotive 34052 nameplate “LORD DOWDING” on loan to RAF Bentley Priory in 1990 for an exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of Battle of Britain. A copy of the nameplate was made and the theft only discovered in 2006 when the owner requested the original to be returned. Following the subsequent RAF Police enquiry, the nameplate was last recorded as being seen in 1992. The theft has been was reported to New Scotland Yard. The other nameplate was stolen while the locomotive was still in service. 34052 was the last Battle of Britain class to run on British Rail, 9 July 1967, marking the end of steam on Southern Region, replaced by diesels the following day.
See: Lord Dowding names new engines of "Battle of Britain" class (http://www.itnsource.com/jp/shotlist//BHC_RTV/1947/09/15/BGU410250020/)
26th Jul 2010, 12:06
Blimey, they go for about £15,000 for an obscure one, and rising.... the owner would be pissed as I should imagine it was worth more. Hope the insurance was good on it.
26th Jul 2010, 12:44
I think the record at auction is about £60.000 for a celebrity loco plate.
26th Jul 2010, 19:20
The RAF Museum may have it in their reserve collection. I visited a couple of years ago and they had a collection of Battle of Britain class loco plates in storage. Can't remember which ones they were though.
26th Jul 2010, 19:38
The RAF Museum may have it in their reserve collection.
That would imply that they received stolen goods. :)
List of name plates held by the museum plus a bibliography of the engine: Locomotive Biographies (http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/online-exhibitions/loco_plates/loco_biographies.cfm)
26th Jul 2010, 21:12
FInotQFI, check PMs.
27th Jul 2010, 08:27
When I was teaching at Marlborough for a very short period I noticed the nameplate 'Marlborough' off the SR Schools class loco fixed high up on the wall of the dining hall. On enquiring I was told the the school owned the other one of the pair, and that it was "kicking about somewhere". Still, as they had a Gainsborough in the common room I dont suppose they were too fussed about a £10+k loco nameplate!
27th Jul 2010, 09:09
Still, as they had a Gainsborough in the common room I don't suppose they were too fussed about a £10+k loco nameplate!
TTN - It's actually moved a little further west to Bath, as reported at
BBC News | UK | Gainsborough portrait saved for nation (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/366817.stm) and, rather like the disappearance of the "Dowding" plate, created some controversy since the sale was allegedly against the wishes of the donor's family Daughter's fury at school's sale of Gainsborough gift - News - The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/daughters-fury-at-schools-sale-of-gainsborough-gift-1091757.html)
At least we know where it is!
27th Jul 2010, 13:24
Thanks Jack, interesting. It wasnt the only pricy item in the common room. One day when I spilt some coffee I was politely reminded that the carpet "runners" which were strewn about the room were valued at £1500 each. My next job was down to earth with a bump in a tough comp. The Gainsborough would have been out of the staff room in a flash there and probably would have turned up at the local car boot!
Wonder if they ever found the other nameplate.
7th Nov 2011, 18:13
For the record, the plate hung in the portico which was the covered entrance to the main mess building, several other plates hung there too. The plate was flown to the UK by BAE from Toulouse and I was responsible for having the copy made and, and this is where a 64 year old memory dims a bit, I'm sure it went back the same way! Why would we keep it when we had a superb copy; seems as if the copy has gone walk about too
7th Nov 2011, 21:06
Google COLOUR RAIL and that will put you in touch with someone who really knows.
Tell him Reg Tigwell's son sent you
7th Nov 2011, 21:54
The plate was loaned by Dowding's grandson
I don't think any insurance can make up for the loss
Photos and history at Nine Elms Locomotive Shed - 'Lord Dowding - 34052' (http://svsfilm.com/nineelms/dowding.htm)
8th Nov 2011, 06:52
As many have said, the original has, to my knowledge, never been recovered. When Bentley Priory closed the copy of the nameplate was returned to Lord Dowding's relatives with a number of other items that they had loaned to the Mess. I can confirm this as I unscrewed it from the wall myself and then drove it to their house.
3rd Dec 2011, 09:15
FF, which house would that be? Still would like to find the nameplate as Bentley Priory will reopen in the near future. Can you PM with a location?
3rd Dec 2011, 09:47
why not ask here as to how much a replica would cost?
Newton Replicas Home Page (http://www.newtonreplicas.com/)
3rd Dec 2011, 20:34
Check PMs, let me know if I can be of any more help. It would be great to see Bentley Priory open in some capacity. It was a sad day when I hosted the closure DIN in the Mess.
The Blue Parrot
4th Dec 2011, 13:06
Interesting, I trust the two BoB Class Plates outside AIR are copies, in keeping with the aircraft they are displayed with?
Now where's my screwdriver? :E
4th Dec 2011, 13:27
The closure DIN in BPOM was an excellent evening. Now we know how you paid for it!! :rolleyes:
4th Dec 2011, 16:17
It was valued at £60,000, but as yet the RAF have not paid.
4th Dec 2011, 16:21
No they have not, their curator of exhibits is a ‘live steam’ enthusiast and has a mine of useful information on locomotives including all the Battle of Britain class.
4th Dec 2011, 16:34
Where did you have the LORD DOWDING nameplate copied?
The RAF Police enquiry did not find where the copy was made as far as I know, and the CAS wrote saying the original was last recorded in the Mess records at RAF Bentley Priory in 1992.
It did not come back to the owner in France.
4th Dec 2011, 17:17
Whatever you do, don't answer that question. I know a good solicitor.
4th Dec 2011, 17:20
Bentley Priory and Lord Dowding memorabilia.
The chairman of the Bentley Priory Battle of Britain Trust http://www.bentleypriory.org/ (http://www.bentleypriory.org/) is in contact with the owner of the Lord Dowding memorabilia previously on lone to the RAF.
Renovation of the Priory mansion is now in progress.
Details of the locomotive and nameplate can be seen here: http://svsfilm.com/nineelms/dowding.htm (http://svsfilm.com/nineelms/dowding.htm)
4th Dec 2011, 19:14
There are a number of replica nameplate manufacturers - Google Newton Replicas for one - so having a "copy" made is not difficult.
£60,000 valuation is over the top for a BoB nameplate, nearer £30,000 would be more realistic.
5th Dec 2011, 01:03
Now where's my screwdriver?
Fleetingly entertained the thought of 'liberating' the ones dotted around Biggin Hill when I went for my OASC selection. However, it probably wouldn't have boded well for my commissioned future :E
I can vouch for Newton Replicas. They really are the biz
5th Dec 2011, 07:14
what happened to the coat of arms? And presumably theres a second name plate somewhere? They always came in pairs..
7th Dec 2011, 14:47
In terms of Railwayana valuation, after the Winston Churchill nameplates (that are on the locomotive preserved in the museum in York); Lord Dowding is the next valuable. I was with Lord Dowding when he named the first two B of B class locos: http://www.itnsource.com/jp/shotlist/BHC_RTV/1947/09/15/BGU410250020/ (http://www.itnsource.com/jp/shotlist/BHC_RTV/1947/09/15/BGU410250020/)
In addition, 34052 LORD DOWDING was the last B of B class to run on British Rail on 9 July 1967, marking the end of steam on Southern Region. Westbury 9.7.67 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/12078476@<hidden>/3614057311/)
The fireman’s (right-hand) nameplate was stolen while the locomotive was still in service and it is said was buried by a railway worker and some decade later was sold to a private collector.
Also, the name of Lord Dowding adds value to collectors of military, especially RAF memorabilia, as he was the man who devised the unique air defence system of the United Kingdom, the ‘Dowding System’, (still used today in modern form) that saved his country from invasion by a far greater military opponent.
A BBC recording with Lord Dowding at his home in Tunbridge Wells about the Battle of Britain: BBC - Archive - WWII: The Battle of Britain - Air Chief Marshal Hugh C Dowding (http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/battleofbritain/11421.shtml)
He was crippled with arthritis and died just a couple of years later on 15 February 1970. His remains are interred in the RAF Chapel, Westminster Abbey: Hugh Dowding - Westminster Abbey (http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/hugh-dowding)