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Railway & Modelling Obituaries

John Allison - Warley MRC Life President


Andy Y
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John Allison

 

Warley Model Railway Club

 

Born 21 May 1920 Lincolnshire – Died 11 March 2013 Warley

 


When I first joined Warley MRC in the early 1970’s, John was an active and able modeller whose contributions were regularly to be found in the modelling press.  Following the passing away of our first Life President in 1993 John was the natural choice of the Club to be his successor.

 

Born in May 1920 in Lincolnshire, where his father was a member of the clergy, John grew up in the LNER part of the world.  With the advent of WWII, John became a radio operator with bomber command, flying first in Wellington’s, and later Lancaster’s.  John’s adult life took him into teaching and he retired having risen to the headmaster rank.

 

John’s interest in railways and modelling started very early on in his life and continued until recent years, only his age and declining health curtailing his activities. Over the years he modelled in most popular scales and gauges. Always a staunch supporter of Warley MRC, he provided the first O gauge layout, Porth-y-Waen, which launched our present O gauge group.  Between 1973 and 2008 a layout owned by John Allison featured in every one of our annual exhibitions, from his “Working to rule” (an early exercise in Z gauge modelling), which was built on a 12 inch wooden school rule, through all scales and gauges, but always with emphasis on “small” layouts that could be accommodated in John’s modest home. In recent years John was a proponent of British outline modelling in 3.5mm scale, although he never realised his dream of manufacturers adopting this scale for the mass market.

 

Many who did not know him have a lot to thank him for – his inspiration.

 

RIP John, missed by many.

 

 

Alf Fantham

Chairman

Warley MRC

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Sorry to hear this, although having met him just a couple of years ago and seen how ill he was, not altogether surprising.

Definitely one of my inspirations. One of his layouts, "Selbury Works Sidings" has been one of my all-time favourite layout ever since I saw it in about 1981. I did an article about it in an issue of Model Trains International, and he was so pleased he wrote to me personally about it. I also tried British HO for a time after talking to him at length about it at one Warley Show.

 

R.I.P., and especial respect to an Ex-Bomber Command man.

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I remember seeing and being impressed by one of his O gauge layouts, a quarry and sidings, at Shrewsbury sometime in the mid seventies. If my memory isn't playing tricks I believe that it was equipped with sound, however I'm more certain that it embodied a finescale ethos, lacking in many/most 7mm offerings at the time. I'm sure that it would still cut the mustard today.

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I used to enjoy John's letters in MRJ and elsewhere - he seemed to be very active and interested in new ideas, very inspirational for a man in his nineties. Oddly enough I'd noticed the absence of JA letters in recent MRJs and had wondered if he was unwell.

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John Allison always seemed to write interesting letters on a wide range of topics.

 

Typically he wrote in MRJ 17 that horses cannot use a nosebag, while walking, I assume he was correct!

 

Or MRJ 98 where he provides a list of max speeds for several types of industrial shunters & how to explain to describe momentum to younger exhibition viewers.

 

 

 

His layout ideas/built were always thought provoking too. From Railway Modeller in the 70's I think, he described an N gauge layout that was able to run several trains around a circuit, which depicted a sea front view with double track. Everything else was hidden in the scenery, so a viewer got to see a procession of trains, passing by. A good way of using the somewhat unreliable mechanisms of the day.

 

 

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Posted on Facebook today:

Mike and others, FYI the funeral will be at St Michael's church Tividale Road at 2.15 on Friday. In true John Allison form, "Communication says you do not have to wear black (unless you're a goth). If possible spring colours."

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Anybody that flew in Lancasters as a lad is totally deserving of respect...... and i liked his trains  :) RIP

Totally agree !

 

and also to have flow in Welllingtons and survived the conflict when so many didn't...................amazing.

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Only just noticed this - a real loss, he was very individualistic and a clever designer - I seem to remember one British HO layout was semi-modular & could be arranged in various ways. Watching an adapted Roco HO 08 lookalike operate was eye opening given that the best British version then was the Lima offering.....

 

I remember seeing and being impressed by one of his O gauge layouts, a quarry and sidings, at Shrewsbury sometime in the mid seventies. If my memory isn't playing tricks I believe that it was equipped with sound, however I'm more certain that it embodied a finescale ethos, lacking in many/most 7mm offerings at the time. I'm sure that it would still cut the mustard today.

 

I think that was Blodwell, based on the Nantmawr line - I've an article somewhere in the loft! I do remember there was a large, deep quarry "bolted on" at the back & some attempt at synchronised sound using a Q kits controller, but with speakers under the board; including a tape loop of an idling loco for when the BR loco was parked at the buffers!

 

Having read now that he was former Bomber Command crew, my respect is heightened. RIP.

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I vaguely recall seeing "Blodwell" at one of the very first Exhibitions I must ever have attended. I think it pre-dated "Selbury" by a few years. The sound would seem very crude by today's standards, but at the time it was a revelation - especially the 'tick-over' at the headshunt; the loco (Lima 33 IIRC) was now "doing something", even though it was stationary, and so therefore was more interesting.

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One of the first O gauge modern image modellers, kit-built  wagons plus improved Lima and  Triang BigBig diesels, a welcome item in RM among the  GWR branch line terminus and fiddle yard scenarios.  

 

I recall the semi-automated N gauge main line loop featuring processions of trains. i think the controller system  was based on a tape recorder mechanism with conductive material spliced into the  recording tape.

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Only just found this as well.  I met John a couple of times, both of us having an affinity with the Blodwell area and we exchanged some photos.  I also invited him to be a judge at Wakefield Exhibition which he gladly accepted as it gave him a reason to visit an old friend in the locality.

 

I had no idea he had flown in Lancasters.  My respect for him has greatly increased with this news.

 

RIP John.

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