About Our 8F

World War 2 British War Department
Stanier 8F 2-8-0 Heavy Goods Engines
Turkish Order

Author: K.A.McCallum.
Date: March 2014.


This paper provides information on the War Department (WD) Stanier 8F Heavy Goods Engines that were despatched to Turkey for use by the Turkish State Railways (TCDD).

Prior to the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939 the WD had drawn up plans to requisition a large number of LNER heavy freight locomotives, principally the 04 Class, which had been adopted as their standard heavy freight locomotive in World War 1, large numbers having been built to Government order.  It was quickly realised that depleting the LNER in excess of 300 locomotives would have a detrimental effect on the ability to move large quantities of freight in eastern England.

Other types from both the LNER and other companies were considered however these were discounted for various reasons and R.A.Riddles as Director of Transport Equipment at the Ministry of Supply (MOS) chose the LMSR Stanier 8F as the WD’s standard heavy goods locomotive.  Perhaps not a surprising choice as he had been involved with the type during his LMSR career.

In December 1939 the MOS placed orders via the Locomotive and Allied Manufacturers Association (LMA) for 240 locomotives to the Stanier 8F design.


Builder Number in Order WD Numbers
North British Locomotive Co (NBL) 100 300 to 399
Beyer, Peacock (BP) 100 400 to 499
Vulcan Foundry (VF) 40 500 to 539

The first locomotive was handed over by NBL to the MOS on 24/05/1940.  The fall of France led to the order detailed above being reduced to: NBL – 60 locomotives, BP – 40 locomotives, with the VF order being cancelled although they did complete 20 boilers, which went to NBL and BP.

In March 1940 a high level decision had been taken to send some of these locomotives to Turkey to appease the Turkish government over a cancelled pre-war order for 2-10-0 locomotives.  Turkey was a neutral during WW2 and the Germans were trying to influence the Turkish government to support the Axis powers.  Britain and its Allies wanted to maintain good relations with Turkey, particularly should the need arise to establish supply lines through Turkey.  These factors clearly influenced the British decision to transfer a number of WD 8Fs to the TCDD.

The TCDD Order

The locomotives that were to be despatched to Turkey were supplied to a specification provided by the TCDD.  This required the locomotives to be right-hand drive with European single pipe automatic air brake equipment and the locomotive buffer beam was fitted with a Turkish design of cowcatcher.  The vacuum brake equipment was removed from those locomotives that had already been constructed and the air compressor and air reservoirs were fitted on the left-hand side of the locomotives.

From WD No.354 upwards the locomotives were tested in Britain in their TCDD fit-out, prior to No.354 the locomotives were tested as ready for LMSR use.  Therefore these locomotives had to be rebuilt to the TCDD specification.

Paint finish was plain black with the star and crescent on the tender sides and on the cab side sheets, cast plates fitted to the cab side sheets showed TCDD ownership and below a cast plate with the WD number.  The latter was quickly replaced once in Turkey with a TCDD cast number plate. The TCDD allocated the WD Stanier 8Fs the class designation “45151”.

The majority of these locomotives were sent to Hull and loaded onto ships at that port, a small number were sent to Liverpool and loaded there.

The shipping details are contained in the following table.

Left NBL WD No’s Vessel Loaded at
01/1941 343 to 345 Jessmore Hull
01/1941 346 to 351 City of Manila Liverpool
03/1941 339 to 342 / 352 / 353 City of Newcastle Hull
03/1941 357 to 359 Aliphant Hull
04/1941 338 / 354 to 356 Berhala Hull
06/1941 523 / 524 Benalder Hull
06/1941 522 Allioth Hull

The route taken by the merchant ships carrying these locomotives was long and hazardous due to the requirement to go around Africa via the Cape of Good Hope and the Suez Canal to the transhipment destination Port Said.  The Mediterranean Sea was closed to Allied shipping other than the Malta supply line hence the very long sea journey.

A total of seven locomotives were lost at sea during the transportation exercise.  The SS Jessmore was the first loss, which was caused by a collision whilst in convoy in the Atlantic off the west coast of Ireland.  This occurred on 19/02/1941 when the Jessmore collided with the SS Baron Pentland.  The Baron Pentland was able to continue in the convoy, but the Jessmore was unable to continue and sank a few days later.  The Baron Pentland was owned by the Glasgow based company H.Hogarth who prior to WW2 had operated the largest fleet of ocean going tramp steamers under the British flag.  The loss of the locomotives on the Jessmore was covered by an insurance claim because of the fact that the vessel was not sunk through enemy action.

The MV Berhala was the second vessel to be lost, this time by enemy action on 23/05/1941 in a position off Freetown, Sierra Leone when U38 torpedoed the vessel.

Further locomotives were prepared for Turkey, but events in other parts of the Middle East changed these arrangements.

Eventually during 1943 two WD Stanier 8Fs were selected and despatched to Turkey.  These were WD No’s 552 and 554, which turned out to be the last WD 8Fs shipped overseas during WW2.

They were issued with TCDD numbers as outlined below:-

WD No’s TCDD No’s NBL Works No’s First Steamed
552 45169 24749 03/1942
554 45170 24745 03/1942

Both these locomotives are recorded as having been lent by the WD to the LMSR between their handover to the WD and their being selected for despatch to Turkey.

Appendix A lists provides a list of the twenty locomotives that eventually comprised the 45151 class on the TCDD.

Transport and Entry into Service

As previously mentioned these locomotives faced a long and hazardous journey to reach their transhipment destination in Egypt.  This included transiting the Suez Canal to reach Port Said where the locomotives were unloaded for journey overland through Palestine and Syria to be handed over to the TCDD at the border crossing with the Syrian State Railways.

The majority of the locomotives and their tenders were loaded as deck cargo from the archive material currently available, despite protective measures the long sea voyage created problems when it came to identifying various components.

The overland journey to the Turkish border from Egypt involved rail haulage in freight movements.

The LMSR lent one of their traction and rolling stock engineers (R.G.Jarvis) to the MOS and he was sent toTurkey to supervise the re-erection of the WD Stanier 8Fs at the TCDD workshops at Sivas in eastern Anatolia.  Archive material records that his task was quite a challenge as the long sea voyage had removed many of the identification markings from individual components that had been removed from each locomotive prior to embarkation.

The Turkish railway staff named the WD Stanier 8Fs “Churchills”.  The majority were equipped with large Prussian style kerosene reflector headlamps and some appear to have been fitted with turbo-generators for electric lighting at a later stage of their career.

Over the ensuing years the TCDD modified the locomotives, in many cases standard TCDD components were fitted to make maintenance easier, which was particularly important because some of the locomotives were allocated to subsidiary depots where repair facilities were minimal.

Appendix B provides some photographs of the 45151 class.

Appendix A

TCDD 45151 Class Number List

TCDD NO Builder Works NO Build Date WD NO
45151 NBL 24672 1941 524, ex 364
45152 NBL 24671 1941 523, ex 363
45153 NBL 24657 1941 357
45154 NBL 24658 1941 358
45155 NBL 24659 1941 359
45156 NBL 24646 1941 346
45157 NBL 24651 1941 351
45158 NBL 24650 1941 350
45159 NBL 24649 1941 349
45160 NBL 24648 1941 348
45161 NBL 24670 1941 522, ex 362
45162 NBL 24647 1941 347
45163 NBL 24639 1941 339
45164 NBL 24642 1941 342
45165 NBL 24653 1941 353
45166 NBL 24641 1941 341
45167 NBL 24652 1941 352
45168 NBL 24640 1941 340
45169 NBL 24749 1942 552
45170 NBL 24755 1942 554

Appendix B

TCDD 45151 photographs

(Mitchell Library)
Works Photograph of WD No.354 (lost at sea)


TCDD No.45170 stored with a Turkish style dished smokebox door with securing clips.


TCDD 45170 shunting at a station between Sivas and Samsun in 1977   (Dick Manton)


TCDD 45165 on station pilot duties at Cankiri 30/03/1974