Actors on board special themed train will tell the story of WW1’s Cavell Van

Published on: Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Last updated: Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Rail passengers will get a taste of World War 1 as a special themed train marks the arrival of a nationally important railway carriage – the Cavell Van – in Harwich next month for the Captain Fryatt commemorations.

Actors aboard the 11am Greater Anglia train from Manningtree to Harwich on Saturday 6 July will tell the story of the Cavell Van and its importance to the local area, to passengers who can get off the train at Harwich to see the real thing.

The event is one of several in the town marking the 100-year commemoration of Captain Fryatt - a master mariner and captain of the Great Eastern Railway Company's steamer SS Brussels, who was captured and executed by the Germans in July 1916 for his attempt to ram a U-boat.

After the war, his body was one of the only three -along with the Unknown Soldier and nurse Edith Cavell - brought back to the UK by the Cavell Van.

The special train also brought the hero back to his home town of Dovercourt where he is now buried.

The Cavell Van, usually on display by the Kent & East Sussex Railway, will be on view at the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre from Saturday 6 to Sunday 14 July.

A full programme of events will accompany the visit including an exhibition of Captain Fryatt, a U boat anchorage exhibition and an exhibition which explores the fascinating relationship between food and war, including the National Kitchens and rationing of World War 1.

The themed train has been organised by the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership. Officer, Terri Ryland, said, “We wanted to help support this special event and hope that our themed train and actors will help to tell the story of the Cavell Van in an engaging way, and provide a unique way to travel to the events taking place in Harwich on 6 July.”

See and for more details.

No special tickets are required for the themed train – normal train tickets must be purchased from Greater Anglia either online at or from Manningtree rail station.