Northampton Mercury 7th November 1952
If the smell of engine smoke still lingers in the nostrils of 65-years-old Mr. William Shenton, of Woodford Halse, so too does the “tally-ho” of the hunt ring in his ears.
For although Mr. Shenton said goodbye last August to the railways after spending 47 years on the footplate, he has not given up his favourite hobby of following hounds.
It was 40 years ago that he first took an interest in hunting, and for very many years both he and Mrs. Shenton have been seen regularly at meets of the Pytchley, the Grafton, the Bicester and the North Warwickshire.
They used to go on a motor-cycle, but since his wife gave up following, Mr, Shenton has reverted to a bicycle.
He knows every covert and every draw for many miles around his home, and so does his eldest son, William, who, in addition to being gamekeeper at Whittlebury Lodge, is earth stopper to the Grafton. The very air Mr. Shenton breaths has fox-hunting associations, for his cottage was once one of the outbuildings of Woodford House, where a son or a former Earl of Derby held hunting parties. And on ground which is now Mr. Shenton's garden was a hospital for sick hunters.
Mr. Shenton's family association with the railways goes back for 100 years and, with his son in the same trade, a second century is commencing.
His grandfather, John, joined the old South Yorkshire Railway, later to become the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire line, and later still the Great Central. In 1851 he rose to be a driver.
His father, Richard, another driver, started work in 1870 at Mexborough Yorkshire, and 47 years ago Mr. Shenton himself began his railway career as a cleaner.
He was promoted fireman in 1912 and driver in 1919. He drove troop trains in both the 1914-18 and the 1939-45 wars.
He cannot calculate the number or miles he has travelled by train, but during one period of 14 months he drove passenger trains for 228 miles every day.
During the first world war, it was common to do 20 hours at a stretch and then be liable to recall to duty after only eight hours’ rest.
When he retired in August, his place as driver was taken by his youngest son, George, who is also a keen follower of hounds.