Dir: Gilbert Gunn
Starring: Judy Geeson and Arnold Ridley

Children and racing pigeons join forces to thwart a steelworks employee from selling details of a new alloy to a foreign agent

ThisĀ is another Children’s Film Foundation production that has some magnificent railway scenes, and one really rare one as well. The CFF were well established by this stage, but this story was one of their weaker efforts. The title Wings of Mystery seems completely meaningless and whilst the children do their best, after all it is aimed at being a children’s adventure, the acting from the adults is so wooden it almost detracts from their efforts. None the less certain aspects were well handled, especially the chase through the steelworks. During this sequence of events we are treated to a very, very, rare glimpse of an industrial diesel locomotive in the form of ESC No.49, a Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0DM Works/No.D1228. This was filmed at English Steel Corporation’s River Don Works in Sheffield, where much of the action takes place. There are also scenes filmed at London St. Pancras, with a ‘Black Five’ standing ‘on the blocks’, an exceptional run-by of Class 40 D375, and a rare shot of Heeley station in Sheffield, which closed during 1968. All in all then this is a good film for the rail enthusiast. The film is also noteworthy for three other reasons. One of the children was played by a 15-year old Judy Geeson in her first acting role, the pigeon fancier is played by one Arnold Ridley, five-years before Dad’s Army, and the eldest brother in the film was played by Richard Carpenter, who gave up acting to write for television: Catweazle was one of his creations.

Children run up the slope to the platforms at Heeley station, the building of which can be seen at the top
This is Heeley station, with the train pulling out of platform 4 before the children could get to board it
Patrick Jordan exits a taxi outside St. Pancras station
Whilst inside the station, a ‘Black Five’ stands tender first against the buffer stops at platform 3. Notice the lovely old departure board announcing the 10:15 departure to Glasgow St. Enoch.
Class 40 No.D375 sweeps past the camera working headcode 1P57
This excellent shot continues as the train passes on its way
What a fabulous surprise. This wonderful image is in fact a very rare glimpse of an industrial diesel at work. And what a magnificently clear image it is. Ian Bendall at the Industrial Railway Society kindly identified the loco as ESC No.49, a Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0DM Works/No.D1228 built in 1960. This was filmed at English Steel Corporation’s River Don Works in Sheffield. The loco moved to Tinsley Park Works in 1967 and was scrapped in April 1980.
We end with an overall view inside the works and an industrial steam crane, possibly a Coles-design, is hard at work on the left