THERE are many stories about the Wantage Tramway which existed from 1873 to 1946.

One concerns the military funeral that took place on it in 1909.

It was one of the few instances of mainline passenger coaches working over the tramway.

The funeral was for Lieutenant Napier Burnett Lindsay, who was killed in a drag hunting accident at Aldershot on February 11, 1909.

Lieutenant Lindsay (no relation to Lord Wantage), who was 30, was the eldest son of the Rev John Lindsay and his late wife Amesbury who had been living in Wantage since 1907, at Brooklands in Newbury Street, with his eldest daughter Frances.

Another daughter, Esther, had recently married Dr Albert Cawston of Brecon House, Wantage.

Another son, John Maitland Lindsay, was serving in the Far East.

The youngest son, Charles Colin Christie Lindsay, had died in a mountaineering accident in India four years before, so this was the second tragic accident to hit the family

On Monday, February 15, the coffin of the dead officer left Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot on a gun carriage.

It was escorted by soldiers of his regiment, the Royal Irish Fusiliers, to Aldershot Railway Station where a special train was laid on to convey the deceased, about 160 officers and men of the regiment – plus other important mourners including three generals – to Wantage.

The train consisted of South Eastern and Chatham Railway Carriages.

Contemporary accounts state that there were eight carriages, but it is not certain that the whole train proceeded over the tramway.

At Wantage Road Station, the Wantage Tramway Company took over, providing an engine (its not recorded which one) to work the train to the Lower Yard near the wharf in Mill Street.

A second engine followed the train at a short distance in case of problems, but it was not needed.

The Lower Yard and the wharf had been cleared and the mill arranged not to load or unload traffic during the time the area was required.

After the arrival of the train the procession was formed in the Lower Yard and moved off towards the parish church with the full band of the Royal Irish Fusiliers playing Chopin's Funeral March.

After the funeral service the procession reformed to march to the cemetery at Chain Hill, headed by the clergy and two local choirboys – Robert and Charles Lovegrove.

The whole day was recorded by the publishers Gale and Polden, from Aldershot, who later published a large series of postcards depicting the whole day's events which were remembered by Wantage people without the need for postcards for many years.