A/N: I do not own Thomas and Friends, nor the Railway Series, the books series off which it is based. I just had a thought: what was World War II like on Sodor? I doubt the Island was bombed at all, but surely for some, it wouldn't have been a happy ordeal.
Also, keep an eye out for two special guests.
September 3, 1939
All around Sodor, the island was preparing for war. Those bloody Nazis had gone and invaded Poland, and Britain had already made the mistake of standing back and letting them take over one country already.
Edward himself had nearly blown his safety valves at the news. To this day, the official story is that Edward did not blast Prime Minster Neville Chamberlain in the face with steam when the man had visited Sodor.
However, on this day, the old blue engine was somber. Many fine young men were going up to Brendam to board ships that would take them to England, and from there to the Continent to try to stave off Hitler's advance. Edward would be taking them there.
As he was about to leave, Gordon, a massive blue engine much larger than Edward, whistled to him.
"I would have taken the train myself, little Edward, but I refused."
"Why?" Edward asked, equal parts annoyed and curious.
Gordon seemed to shrug before speaking again, his voice lacking its usual haughty timbre. "Because I'm not fit to carry such fine young boys off, when we both know that they won't be coming back. You are, though, little Edward.
"Give 'em a good send-off."
Edward, moved by Gordon's uncharacteristic display of humility, could only reply, "I will, Gordon."
Gordon seemed to nod. "Very well. I'm running up to the Narrow Gauge today; I'll tell Skarloey you said hello if he's there."
"That would be nice." And Edward chugged away.
Edward rolled into Knapford, two of the spare Express coaches coupled to him. On the platform were far too many young men, as well as their sisters, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, etc.
Edward whistled loudly as he approached, putting on a false face of enthusiasm for the soon-to-be soldiers.
His train was packed to the max that run, and it was a good run to boot. The signals were green all the way down, and every station was lined with well-wishers. Edward whistled as he passed. He even made it to Brendam early.
Edward whistled before he pulled away. "Good luck, boys! Give those Nazis some trouble for us, would you?"
"Oh, we will!" one voice hollered. Edward immediately recognized him as Charlie, the Hatt family's oldest son, and favorite to take over for his father someday. The old engine paled slightly as he pulled away.
Oh Lord, bless 'em all, and bring them back safe and sound, would you?
November 11, 1940
The war had not been going well. Edward, Gordon, Henry, and the new guy, some short blue punk named Thomas, had heard all the stories about Hitler's seemingly unstoppable forces ravaging the Continent. The entire nation of France had fallen, for God's sake!
Edward had a little layover at the Narrow Gauge line today (the wonders of being early never cease), and to his delight, Skarloey was there. As a result, they got to talking about the war.
"It seems," Skarloey was saying, "that we'll have to rely on those bloody Americans again to save our necks."
"Agreed," said Edward. "However, they're not inclined to intervene at the moment."
"I can't say I blame them," Skarloey answered. "We have a tendency to fight ourselves at the drop of a hat these days."
"What does Rheneas think about all this?" Edward asked.
"Oh, he agrees," Skarloey said. "He even thinks that those Americans will eventually come. They did last time."
"Can't argue with that," Edward said, just as someone came up from the station building.
"Edward!" the man called. "It's the Fat Controller. Our boys are coming home next week. He wants you to take the train."
"Oh." Edward said. He and Skarloey could both see the man's downcast expression, and both knew that the news wasn't good. "You needn't say more, sir. I understand."
The man smiled a little at that. "Thank you."
Once the man was gone, Skarloey looked to Edward. "Poor man."
Edward sighed. "Indeed."
"How many last time?" Skarloey asked, knowing all too well the train that Edward was asked to pull.
"Five," Edward said bitterly. "Five boys who came home in the worst possible way. I swear, it's the low point of my week."
"Can't say I blame you. A few of those boys will be coming up here, I wager."
"I hope not, old friend. I must be off, though; I need to clean up."
"I'll see you around, Edward."
November 22, 1940
It's nice to be spotlessly clean and freshly painted every once in a while, Edward thought, but I wish the occasion was better.
Edward, freshly clean and painted, and now sporting Union Jacks on his front, trudged through the Yard, looking for a train specific coaches. Where are they?
"Good morning, Edward."
Thomas had appeared out of nowhere, as was his wont, but today, the little blue engine had no quips, no snarky comments, no sarcasm to throw at the older engine. He had long ago learned that Edward was not one to be trifled with- especially on days like these.
"Good morning, Thomas," Edward answered. "Have you seen…?"
"I have," Thomas said, interrupting Edward, but the other engine let it slide. "I put them off to the side for you. You pull out of the siding, you'll be on the express track; Gordon won't use it today."
"Thanks," Edward said, and he was just about to puff away when Thomas spoke again.
"I don't envy you, Edward. But I do wish that you didn't have to do this."
"Believe me, Thomas, neither do I."
Edward followed Thomas' directions, and found the coaches he was unfortunately looking for. They were long coaches, black as night, with a gunmetal gray stripe along the middle. The Union Jack was painted along the sides, the flags framing the words In Memoriam To Our Brave Fallen.
Edward loathed the train for what it represented, and reluctantly coupled up.
Gordon came down the line, and whistled a low, sad note as he passed. With the line clear, Edward slowly puffed into Knapford. As expected, there were far too many people dressed for a funeral. There seemed to be more than most this day.
Too many. I wager twenty on this run. A full train.
Edward looked up as he approached, checking the weather. Cloudy… looks like it will rain. Typical.
But what was not typical was seeing Sir Topham Hatt, the Fat Controller himself, and his wife on the platform.
Edward didn't even bother with a smile. He whistled sadly as he pulled in, glanced at Sir Topham Hatt as they walked by, and when the coaches were loaded up, pulled away.
It was a somber run.
Edward arrived perfectly on time at Brendam. And one by one, the boys came home. The large wooden boxes that carried them were gently carried onboard the coaches, each one holding five caskets.
From there, Edward trudged to Wellsworth, where the funeral services would be held. The rain held off until he arrived, and for that, Edward was grateful.
The funerals were beautiful and all, but Edward had seen far too many of them for his liking.
When will the madness end?
1 week after V-E Day
Edward was in a better mood than he had been in years. The war is finally over! He was genuinely happy as he pulled into Brendam that day.
On the platform were the usual tourists and a few soldiers coming home, but for some reason, one young couple stood out. The woman carried herself like a proper English lady, but was dressed in what seemed to be an Allied military uniform.
Her companion (or date, he thought cheekily), was head and shoulders taller, built like a soldier, dressed in what was obviously an American uniform, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a content smile on his face.
"Good morning!" Edward said, coming to a stop in front of the couple, and finally got a good look at the lady, and his smile grew even wider. "Why, Miss Carter! Glad to see you made it!"
While her date (as Edward now decided to call the man) could only stare slack-jawed at the talking steam engine (the Americans must not have them, it seems), Miss Carter- no, Peggy- was overjoyed.
"Why, Edward! I thought you'd been taken out of service!"
"Oh, no," Edward said. "It'll take more than a war to scrap me! And who is this young man?"
"This is Steve. He's from America," Peggy beamed. "He's a Captain in their Army."
"Ah. A pleasure to meet you, young man."
"Th-thank you," Steve said, still not quite processing. Peggy had to pull him onto the train.
Yes, indeed, Edward thought, looking up into the clear blue sky, it is a pleasure.
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