Grave of iconic Doncaster Mallard world record train driver Joe Duddington to be dedicated

A headstone to mark the grave of iconic Doncaster train driver Joe Duddington is to be officially dedicated at Hyde park Cemetery on Saturday October 2.

By Kev Rogers
Friday, 24th September 2021, 9:16 am
3rd June 1938: Fireman T H Bray on the left and next to him Driver R J Duddington who made history by driving the LNER locomotive 'Mallard' at 125mph. They are in the dynamometer car at Kings Cross station, London studying the instruments which recorded the record-breaking feat. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

The stone was carved earlier this year as a memorial to the iconic Doncaster train driver who broke a world speed record in the 1930s.

Joe Duddington was the driver when the Hexthorpe-built loco Mallard set the steam train speed record in 1938, reaching 126mph.

The Free Press launched a campaign to support the memorial in February, after the Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery group discovered Joe lay in an unmarked grave.

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They made the discovery when they asked where his grave was in the cemetery, which they help look after.

Joe was the driver of Mallard on its famous record-breaking run on July 3, 1938, after being hand-picked by the famous railway engineer Sir Nigel Gresley as an experienced and trusted driver.

Joe retired from the LNER in 1944, and died in April 1953, aged 76.

He lived around the Hyde Park area throughout his life, but later moved to Dunscroft, living on Broadway.

Lynsey Slater of of Friends of Hyde Park Cemetery, which raised over £5,000 for a memorial, supported by a campaign from the Doncaster Free Press, said:

“We hoped to be able to unveil it on the anniversary of the run itself in July, but obviously Covid restrictions were so up in the air until such a late point in the summer.

"So we opted to just push it back to the autumn so we didn’t end up in a situation of having to cancel everything last minute.”

The family will be arriving to have a private viewing of the grave at 11am, with the general event to start at 12 noon.

This will feature short speeches, from members of Joe’s family, Doncaster MP Rosie Winterton and and a dedication of the grave by the Reverend of St James' Church.

The Friends Of Hyde Park will then give short guided walk of the cemetery for anyone interested featuring some interesting railway graves and stories from the cemetery.

Lynsey added: “The supporters of the Free Press were absolutely massive in us getting that funding so quickly.

"As a group is we've been working on this for going on a year. Now there's actually going to be physically something there.

There will be representatives there from the lots of organizations that donated to it as well. We had trade unions, the LNER, and The Railway Museum, fans of the band Big Big Train all over the world and many more. The band's song East Coast Racer is about Mallards record breaking run.among others - so it'll be a nice mixture of visitors.

“We want everybody that read about it in the Free Press to come to see what they helped to create.

“We would never have been able to have done what we've done without such an outpouring of support. It was really overwhelming.”

Visitors attending the event are invited to head to the main entrance of the cemetery on Carr Lane. Limited free car parking will be available along Carr Lane, with additional parking available at St Leger House on Carr Lane. At the entrance to the cemetery visitors will be directed to the grave site.