THE granddaughter of a banksman who cleared the Box railway line is trying to find descendants of his co-workers to find out more about his work.

Anne Coates, of Frome Road, Southwick, never got to meet her grandfather, Alfred Charles Cousins, as he died before she was born.

Mr Cousins was born on July 1, 1890 in Westwells, near Corsham, and worked as a railway lengthsman, or banksman as it was called locally, on the stretch of railway line at the Box tunnel, between Bath and Chippenham.

Mrs Coates, 75, said: “Apparently Alfred Charles was a very closed man and didn’t tell my dad much about his work, but I’d love to find out more about it.

“I do know that there were some real horrors attached to working as a banksman in those days.

“One gruesome story was that someone walked under a train in the tunnel and my grandad and his gang had to clear the remains from the track.”

Mr Cousins died on August 4, 1938, the same day that Mrs Coates’ mum and dad got engaged, before they married on December 26 later that year.

Mrs Coates’ dad, Alfred Henry, served in the 8th Army Catering Corps throughout the Second World War, his brother Vern in the RAF and Gerald in the Navy, and all returned home unscathed.

Mrs Coates added: “The photo of the three boys with their mother and sister was taken on their safe return from conflict, so would probably have been in the early summer of 1945 or 1946.

“The group photo of the family was taken about 1930, with Alfred Charles middle back, dad Alfred Henry to his right and wife Florrie to his left.

“The grey-haired lady on the far right is Aunt Polly, and then to her left Vernon, Gerald and Freda.

“We would love to know if anyone recognises a relative among the other workmen standing in the picture with Alfred Charles, it would be lovely to put names to faces.”

If you know anyone in the pictures, contact Mrs Coates on (01225) 712239.