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The Water Babies

Mason SwimmersAs I mentioned earlier, the Mason boys were all good swimmers – they needed to be. They often went swimming together, but not to any Governor’s pool or even in the various local rivers. Instead they chose to swim in the water tanks built to service the old steam trains of the day.

The rail track was narrow gauge, only 2’ 6’’ wide and as described in Mum’s early journey to the convent, the trains travelled long distances often over several days and covering high altitudes. So they needed lots of water to make the steam to drive the engines.

Huge water tanks were built and as the trains came into a station, an enormous filling pipe connected the water supply to the train’s boiler and hundreds of gallons would be taken on board.

Basil remembered secretly climbing up the ladder to the top of the water tank, diving in and swimming with his brothers. As soon as they heard a train pulling in for water, they flattened their bodies to the sides of the tank while it was sucked from the tank into the train’s boiler. Then once the train pulled away and the tanks started to fill again, the boys resumed their diving classes, totally oblivious of any danger they had been in.

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The Story of Beatrice Mary Mason. Written by F. J. Louis | Copyright © 2009