RH Rudgard

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Lieutenant Colonel R. Harold Rudgard
Born 4th September 1884
Died 3rd March 1958
Official positions held:
FR Soc. Chairman 1954 - 1957
FR Trust 1956 - 1957
FR People | WHR People

Lt.-Col. Harold Rudgard, O.B.E., T.D. was a distinguished railway engineer who served on the War Department Light Railways during the First World War and was later involved in the early years of the Festiniog Railway Society.

He received his education at the Grammar School, Burton-on-Trent, and Denstone College; he served his apprenticeship at the Midland Railway Locomotive Works, Derby, from 1900 to 1907, and also attended evening classes at Derby Technical College in 1902-06. From 1907 to 1911 he served as Assistant to District Locomotive Superintendent at Derby, subsequently becoming Superintendent at Skipton, Derby, and Plaistow, successively.

Being a member of the old Territorial Army he was called up in 1914 and spent twenty months in the trenches where he was wounded. Later he was attached to the Royal Engineers, Light Railway Section as superintendent of light railways, 4th Army. In 1915 he was wounded a second time and after recovery was sent out as second-in-command of the War Department Light Railway (WDLR) workshops at La Lacque. When the Germans were advancing in the Nieppe Forest area, these works had to be evacuated. Colonel Rudgard totally evacuated these works, at which over 3,000 men were employed, and re-built them at Beaurianville, then was placed in command, and later commanded the Carriage and Wagon Depot, Audruicq. He retired in 1919 with the rank of Lt.-Colonel.[1]

In 1919 he was appointed Assistant Superintendent of Freight Trains, Midland Railway, Derby, subsequently becoming Assistant to the Motive Power Superintendent, London Midland and Scottish Railway, Derby. In 1932 he became Divisional Superintendent of Motive Power (Midland Division), Derby, and was appointed Assistant Divisional Superintendent of Operation, Derby, in 1935; he became Divisional Superintendent of Operation there in 1937.

In December 1942 he was appointed Superintendent of Motive Power, L.M.S.R., and in 1948 he joined the Railway Executive as Chief Officer (Motive Power). He served as President of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in 1948-49.

Col. Rudgard was recruited to the cause of the FR's revival by Bill Broadbent who had worked for him at Marylebone. He arranged through his high up connections with the London Midland Region of BR for the early committee meetings of what became the Festiniog Railway Society to take place in the locomotive superintendent's office in Euston Station. There was a long shiny wooden table with leaves about a foot wide down each side. Apparently it had come out of a railway inspection saloon. He was Festiniog Railway Society Chairman from 1954 to 1957. Vic Mitchell remembers him as having a typical military bearing and a thin white moustache.

The sudden death of Harold Rudgard was relayed to Society members in a director's report to the third AGM in March 1958. His son, Tony, is a member of the FRS Hampshire & Sussex Group. For a five page article about Col. Harold Rudgard, to which Tony contributed, see FR Heritage Group Journal No. 126, Summer 2016 pages 14 - 18.


Rudgard, H. Motive power matters. J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1935, 25, 497-519. Disc.: 519-36.7 illus., diagr.(Paper No. 341)

Rudgard, H. (Paper No. 464) Organisation and carrying-out of examinations and repairs of locomotives at running sheds in relationship to locomotive performance and availability. 64-123. Disc.: 124-59. Included material one might not expect to have found: diagram of the self-weighing tenders introduced by LMS, the self-cleaning smokebox, rocking grates and self-emptying ashpans. Incorporates the complete manual adopted by LMS.

See also[edit]


  • "Harold Rudgard". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  1. ^ "Harold Rudgard". SteamIndex. Retrieved 13 February 2019.