Who has seen the superb obituary in todays Daily Telegraph to John Cox, Master Builder of boats on the River at Eton. A lifelong resident of Emlyn Buildings on the Brocas and a familiar ruddy faced bearded character, even at quite a young age, who was in my memory part my Windsor & Eton youth - he was a regular drinking companion in The Carpenters Arms in the late 1950's .

The Obit referred to his National Service in Upavon in Wiltshire which he loved. He was an expert on Bradshaws, the Railway Guide, so much followed by Michael Portilo, in his Railway Travelogue. John organise trips for 'Rumbles' as we called them, Rambles which involved quite a bit of quaffing. 

I recall one when a group of Carpenters Regulars caught an early train from Windsor Central on a Bank Holiday morning, arriving at a small Witlshire Station called Manningford Bruce Halt about 9.30. An old railway retainer came down to the station to check tickets of travellers, probably not expecting to see anyone, however we spread ourselves along the whole train so that when it stopped virtually every carriage door opened and someone stepped out, causing the ticket collector to stand aghast. 

We went and sampled Ushers Ale in the Ship pub in Upavon, Johns favourite from his Service days and Wadworths Ale  in The Antelope opposite. I experienced this a couple of times with John but they became my locals when, in turn, I did part of my National Service in the Air Force at Upavon in 1961/2.

Our walks took us over the Wiltshire downs, which I too became so familiar, with via a Beer tent in an obscure village flower show that John knew of. It was then on and down to another village called Wooton Rivers. John knew this wonderful pub which then seemed to be in a farm yard, I recon it was called the Royal Oak, now according to Google much gentrified, then probably just a beer shop.  We asked for food and I can still remember hunks of bread and cheese with raw onion, the only choice, being served to enjoy with our beer before we boarded our train at the Halt at Wooon Rivers. Getting our return ticket to Windsor was another experience, we had to get the Village shop opened, on a Bank Holiday evening, to buy the tickets, each paying separately to slow the operation. This was not the end of a Boozy day. Johns Bradshaws told him that the 7.30 train, or whatever, was the only stopping train of the week at Wooton Rivers which had a Buffet Car, allowing us to continue our convivial day untill we changed  at Reading or Slough - the memory was probably going by then.

I wrote on the Thread regarding the Boathouse redevelopment that I had met John at a Windsorites 70th Birthday last year. As the obit reveals, he was an incredible character with the gift to gel at all levels and a racontuer of with a feast of stories - Meeting him transported me back 50 plus years in a jot. A sad loss of a special local character.

Last Edited By: thamesweb 16-Feb-2015 05:01 PM. Edited 1 time.