George Williamson

George Williamson's last CPR run, 1940.

George Williamson's last CPR run, 1940.

Dates: b. 26 March 1875 d. 15 June 1971

Cemetery Location: Block H, Row 11, Plot 15

Profile:

George left his hometown Toronto to follow his father, mother and sister west in 1892, finding a job as a wiper for the Canadian Pacific Railway at Donald, British Columbia. At the time, Donald was the thriving mountain divisional headquarters for CPR. (The headquarters were transferred to Revelstoke in 1899.)

In 1897, George was promoted to fireman and in 1900 to engineer, ending his long career as a railroader on 30 March 1940, when he brought engine 2716 and the Toronto Express into Revelstoke.

The highlight of 38 years of service with CPR came in the summer of 1939, when he was selected to pilot the engine of the Royal Train of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, from Revelstoke to Kamloops.

During his career, George was lucky to escape several close calls through Rogers Pass. In the summer of 1898, the engine he was piloting struck an uprooted tree near no. 35 snowshed, tearing the side of the engine’s cab completely away. In another incident, he and other crewmembers narrowly escaped an avalanche while cleaning up the remains of the winter’s snowslides. And in the summer of 1924 or 1925, when George missed a shift due to illness in the family, the train he was meant to be on derailed near Golden, B.C., killing two of his colleagues.

George’s first wife Mamie died in 1936, and his second wife, Violet, in 1966. His only son, William George, died in April 1968.

George died in 1971, aged 96 years. He left behind two daughters, Marie and Margaret, eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.