Christian Wolmar, the journalist, author and transport expert, is coming to Croydon this Friday to give a free lecture on his book, Engines of War.
Wolmar, who was the only non-career politician to be shortlisted for selection as a London Mayoral candidate by any of the major political parties because of his strong credentials on transport policy, has written half a dozen railway history books. He will be giving his illustrated talk to the local branch of the Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society – yes, Croydon has one of those.
Wolmar’s Engines of War shows how the railways played a key role in changing the nature of warfare.
Before their invention, battles were limited affairs which rarely lasted more than a day or so because of the problem of supplying and feeding the armies, and other logistical difficulties.
Starting with the American Civil War, the railways changed the way wars were fought, which resulted in far longer conflicts and much greater loss of life. By enabling armies to be supplied, and by bringing soldiers rapidly to the front, the railways essentially became the key weapons of war. For around a century, right up to the Korean War, it was often the armies’ ability to make use of the railways that was the key to winning or losing.
Wolmar, who has won several awards for his work, will set out the role of the railways in a series of conflicts in the 19th and 20th Century and explain the factors that were key in determining the outcome. He will be signing and selling copies of his various books at a discount.
Wolmar’s War Engines talk takes place this Friday, January 8, staring at 7.30pm at West Croydon Baptist Church, Whitehorse Road, a few minutes walk from West Croydon tram stop.
And in case you were wondering, the MHRPS raises funds for the Watercress Line, a preserved railway operating out of Alton.
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