22 Facts About Wilbert Awdry


Wilbert Vere Awdry was an English Anglican minister, railway enthusiast, and children's author.


Wilbert Awdry is best remembered as the creator of Thomas the Tank Engine and several other characters who appeared in his Railway Series.


Wilbert Awdry was born at Ampfield vicarage near Romsey, Hampshire, on 15 June 1911.


Wilbert Awdry's father was Vere Awdry, the Anglican vicar of Ampfield, and his mother was Lucy Awdry.


Wilbert Awdry's younger brother, George, was born on 10 August 1916 and died on 27 October 1994.


Wilbert Awdry was educated at Marlborough House School, Hawkhurst, Kent, Dauntsey's School, West Lavington, Wiltshire, St Peter's Hall, Oxford, and Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, where he gained his diploma in theology in 1933.


Wilbert Awdry taught for three years from 1933 to 1936 at St George's School, Jerusalem.


Wilbert Awdry was ordained to the Church of England diaconate in 1936 and subsequently the priesthood.


Wilbert Awdry subsequently moved to Cambridgeshire, serving as rector of Elsworth with Knapwell, rural dean at Bourn and then vicar of Emneth, Norfolk.


Wilbert Awdry retired from full-time ministry in 1965 and moved to Rodborough in Stroud in Gloucestershire.


The characters that would make Wilbert Awdry known and the first stories featuring them were invented in 1942 to amuse his son Christopher during a bout of measles.


Wilbert Awdry wrote 26 books in The Railway Series, the last in 1972.


In 1952, Wilbert Awdry volunteered as a guard on the Talyllyn Railway in Wales, then in its second year of preservation.


The railway inspired Wilbert Awdry to create the Skarloey Railway, based on the Talyllyn, with some of his exploits being written into the stories.


Wilbert Awdry was involved in railway preservation, and built model railways, which he took to exhibitions around the country.


Wilbert Awdry was a passenger on Alan Pegler's 1968 non-stop Flying Scotsman London King's Cross to Edinburgh run.


Wilbert Awdry wrote other books besides those of The Railway Series, both fiction and non-fiction.


Wilbert Awdry was again featured on TV-am for Thomas's 40th anniversary in 1990.


Wilbert Awdry was awarded an OBE in the 1996 New Year's Honours List, but by that time his health had deteriorated and he was unable to travel to London.


Wilbert Awdry died peacefully in his sleep in Stroud, Gloucestershire, on 21 March 1997, at the age of 85.


In 2003, a stained glass window commissioned by the Wilbert Awdry family was unveiled at St Edmund's church, Emneth, Norfolk.


Wilbert Awdry wanted to come out of his station-yard and see the world.