Information On Railway Staff
John (Jack) Bright, lived in the Crossing Cottage from 1922 to 1959 and worked as the signalman and crossing keeper. During his time here he met many famous people including the German Diplomat, Von Ribbentrop, who stayed at Frinton before the Second World War, also Gracie Fields who had a house named ‘Tinkerbell’ in Greenway and Sir Winston Churchill, who once came by train to inspect the coastal war defences.
The signal box at the Gates was straffed by a low flying German Plane during World War 2 and a cannon shell tore a hole in one of the signal levers. Fortunately Jack was not in his hut at the time and although ‘Gate House’ was also damaged by machine gun and cannon fire, both Jack and his wife, who were both in the house, escaped injury.
For most of his time at ‘Gate House’ Jack was on duty from around 6 am until about 10:30 pm when the last train to Walton passed through. Until the later years he had only one day off duty each alternate Sunday. Holiday consisted of one week per year. A very rough estimate of the number of times that Jack opened and closed the gates, using a timetable from 1957 is that he would have opened or closed the gates around 380 times a week. This is amazing considering that he had an artificial leg. Jack was wounded whilst being held as a POW during the First World War and after returning to the UK the infection was so bad that his leg was amputated below the knee.