Wilbert Vere Awdry

From Academic Kids

The Reverend W. V. Awdry OBE (15 June 191121 March 1997) was a clergyman, railway enthusiast and children's author, best known as the creator of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Wilbert Vere Awdry was born in Romsey, Hampshire in 1911. The son of a clergyman, he was himself ordained to the Anglican priesthood in 1936. In 1938 he married Margaret Wale, and two years later took a parish in King's Norton, Birmingham.

The characters that would make Awdry famous, and the first stories featuring them, were invented in 1942 to amuse his son Christopher during a bout of measles. The first book (The Three Railway Engines) was published in 1945, and by the time Wilbert stopped writing in 1972, The Railway Series numbered 26 books. Christopher subsequently added a further 14 books to the series.

Wilbert's enthusiasm for railways did not stop at his publications. He was involved in railway preservation, and built model railways which he took to exhibitions around the country. He retired from the clergy in 1965, and moved to Stroud, Gloucestershire. In 1996 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He died peacefully at his home on 21 March, 1997, at the age of 85.

Biography

A biography, entitled The Thomas the Tank Engine Man was written by Brian Sibley and published in 1995.

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