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Alan Andrew Lamb Hickman (The Railway Man)

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

Alan Andrew Lamb Hickman was born in Southampton in 1884 the son Mary Elizabeth Lamb and William Hickman whose occupation was a solicitor.

After his father died, Alan and his mother moved to Moseley in Birmingham to be near his mother sister Elizabeth Hunter Lamb.

Alan was a railway enthusiast from a very young age collecting railway engine numbers. Later in life he used to walk the railway stations, getting on and off trains dressed as a guard. An avid reader of George Bradshaw’s railway time tables, Alan was described as having no official position on the railway yet had knowledge of the supreme degree, he held a season ticket and travelled daily all over the country wearing a peak cap, mackintosh and carried a basket similar to that used by railway men.

Alan was a shareholder of the Great Western Railway and a good friend of Sir Felix John Clewett Pole (1 February 1877 – 15 January 1956) who was a British railway manager and industrialist. He was general manager of the Great Western Railway (1921–29).

Alan named one of his sons Hugo Pendennis Pole Hickman. Hugo named after an uncle who was killed in the war, Pendennis named after the train, Pendennis Castle and Pole after Sir Felix John Clewett Pole.

Also an engineer of a motor company, Alan died 11 Jan 1931 Springfield Road, Wolverhampton and arranged his own funeral; he was brought to Birmingham on his favourite train The Cornishman. The funeral was carried out under the direction of the divisional superintendent of the GWR. Two railway guards, two firemen and two ticket collectors acting as bearers paid tribute to a fellow railwayman.

Alan is buried with his mother Mary Elizabeth Hickman nee Lamb who died in 1929 and his wife Lena Jane Hickman nee Cuff who died in Poole, Dorset in 1973. All three rest in the same plot in Key Hill Cemetery. The headstone is shaped like a railway signal. The inscribed plate at the bottom of the headstone is missing. By marriage Alan was related to the actor Sir Alec Guinness who was his wife's nephew.

Key Hill Cemetery in springtime Alan's resting place surrounded by a carpet of bluebells. Research: J. Fielding & C. Giles Photographs: J. Fielding, J. Ennew & R. Jones.

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