CROWDS lined the platforms at a seaside railway station as a historical re-enactment left on the last leg of its journey.

The Winton Train, re-tracing the journey of eight trains in 1939 that saved 669 Jewish children from Nazi persecution, left Harwich International train station at 9.12am on Friday, September 4, for London Liverpool Street.

More than 100 descendents and 22 surviviors boarded the train in Prague on September 1 to commemorate 70 years since the historic event.

They were met at London Liverpool Street by Nicholas Winton, the brainchild behind the rescues, who was also celebrating his 100th birthday on September 4.

For many it was a chance to reunite with those who travelled with them on their journey 70 years ago.

Hanna Slome, 84, was 14 when she was put on a Kindertransport train to Harwich by her mother in May 1939.

She said: “When my mother said goodbye she said ‘if anything happens to me don’t cry for me. I’m dying for my beliefs.’ “That left me with something to hang onto.”

She never saw either of her parents again, both died during the Second World War.

Mrs Slome, who now lives in New York, had searched for years for a three-year-old girl who was placed in her care.

This frequently happened at the time due to the fact there were no parents allowed to accompany children on the train.

“She was taken away from me when we arrived and I always wanted to know where she was.

“I had asked for a list of all the children who had travelled on my train for years afterwards but I couldn’t find who I was searching for.

“The problem was, I was in such a smaller group than the others.

“I started telling my story to one lady this week who came and sat next to me with her family.

“We suddenly realised that she was the little girl and we talked for hours.

“I told her about the games we played on the journey and my memories because she was so young she doesn’t remember much.

“I’m still getting chills now thinking about how I have found her,” she said.

Mrs Slome had looked after Lisa Dasch,***CORR** now Midwinter, who celebrated her fourth birthday two days after arriving in England.

Mrs Midwinter, now aged 74, said: “I remember a sea of faces crying and handkerchiefs being waved as the train left.”

“I think I must’ve been one of the youngest. I remember someone heaving me up into the carriage and being left with an older girl who looked after me.

“I arrived with something prickly around my neck and I had a card with my name on it for the people who were coming to pick me up.

“It’s unbelievable that we have found each other.”

Mrs Midwinter was one of the only children to see her parents again. They escaped the Sudetenland, which was Nazi occupied, in July 1939.

She was acompanied on The Winton Train by her son Nick Wyse and granddaughter Georgia Wyse, 13, during last week’s momentous journey.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting Nicholas Winton,” said Georgia. “He did so much for us and I want to thank him.”

Crowds, including school children, town councillors and film crews, waited to hear stories from survivors.

Jackie Irwin, deputy headteacher of Mayflower Primary School, Dovercourt, brought a group of year six children to take part in the celebrations.

“Myself and many of the children have been following the journey this week on TV and when we heard it would be coming into Harwich we thought it was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said.

“It’s just amazing and very humbling to be a part of it.”

Mr Winton, a stockbroker, was planning a skiing holiday with a friend when it was cancelled and they instead decided to travel to Prague in 1938.

It was there that he visited refugee camps in the Sudetenland and had the brainwave to rescue as many children as possible and find them homes in Britain.

He arranged for nine trains to leave between March and September 1939 carrying the children he had persuaded the Home Office to let into the country.

However the last train, carrying 250 youngsters, was due to leave on September 1, the day war broke out.

At the last minute German troops intervened and the train never left the station in Prague.

It is thought those aboard joined thousands of families that travelled east to the Nazi concentration camps.

Mr Winton, often described as the English Oscar Schindler, never spoke of the part he played in the rescues.

The information was discovered by his wife who came across documents in their attic 50 years later.

In 2003 he was knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The Guildhall is showing a Kindertransport exhibition, detailing memories and photographs of those children who travelled to Harwich in 1939.

It is on September 12 and 13 from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.