Eric Bannister

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Born in Horsforth in 1911? (he was 73 in 1984) where his grandfather was manager of Kirkstall Forge. Parents moved to Doncaster and Eric was educated at Doncaster Grammar School and in 1920 he became a premium apprentice at Doncaster Works. He eventually worked in the drawing office with Bert Spencer and thus came to appreciate the great Sir Nigel Gresley. His short memoir was put together by Joan Heyes after Eric succumbed to multiple sclerosis and was published by Dalesman in 1984. The book is important for showing the kindliness of Sir Nigel and the keen interest he took of his locomotives in service: he was well aware of the defects of the P2 Mikados in service, for instance. The book is also a key to the names of many of the LNER locomotive design and construction team.

The amanuensis was responsible for some errors: the Hart-Davis who worked for the LNER was almost certanly not "Rupert" (a major literary figure), but Roy who seems to have enjoyed a similar autocratic manner and was encountered by Eric at King's Cross whilst working in Gresley's office. On page 26 there is a reference to Ingols, the Chief Civil Engineer in Scotland: presumably this was R.J.M. Inglis. This throws into question some of the "new names" identified in Bannister's text. On the other hand Bulleid and Thompson are obviously correct.