Obituary : Dennis Whitfield

Dennis Whitfield
Died 8th June 2010
Member of the Leeds Association of Engineers since 30th October 1980

Dennis was born and raised in Baildon and lived in the same house for most of his life. He passed his eleven plus examination and went to Saltaire Grammar School following which he enrolled to study for a degree but for unknown reasons left after the first year. A couple of jobs followed during which he discovered his interest in railways before applying to join Hunslet Engine Company in Leeds. He progressed to become a Design Draughtsman and was mainly involved with Mining Locomotives and, as the company diversified, Heavy Aircraft Tugs.

As the demand for mining equipment diminished and products were sourced from abroad Dennis found himself redundant in 1984 and for the last twenty-six years of his life struggled to find gainful employment. Up to that time he had been able to afford to run a car. Since having to give up his car he became dependent on rail and bus transport. His knowledge of railways was only surpassed by his encyclopaedic knowledge of the railway timetable. In his younger days Dennis was known for his rich baritone voice and was a member of several choirs including that of his favoured local Methodist Church.

He was an overt Christian until the last few years of his life. He was a member of several railway appreciation clubs and societies and his enthusiasm for trains and trolley-buses never waned.

For the last couple of years Dennis had suffered ill health and in particular with a bad leg but he had decided against the surgery offered to alleviate his suffering. A bachelor, Dennis passed away alone in his home aged 71 years. He had no surviving family and his friend Tom Walls, who occasionally accompanied him to Leeds Association events, had arranged a funeral which was held at Nab Wood Crematorium on 30th June 2010.

The Leeds Association of Engineers was represented at his funeral by council member Gordon Toulson.