- Oct 2, 2004
- Reaction score
- my fortress of solitude
The Quintinshill Disaster was another one that the authorities were keen not be too widely discussed. It couldn't be entirely covered up; but I believe that newspapers were discouraged from dwelling on it too much. Coming, as it did, less than two weeks after the sinking of the Lusitania, the government believed that it could severely impact civilian morale.There were plenty of rail accidents to choose from in the 1870s, the worst was the Tay Bridge Diaster 28 December 1879, where 75 were killed. This one is remembered in part because like the Titanic, it's due to a massive failure of technology, and partly because of William McGonagall's poem.
The worst rail disaster in the UK was at Quintinshill, near Gretna, in 1915, where a troop train ran into a local passenger train, and a third train ran into these There were 226 deaths. This one is probably forgotten by anyone but railway historians, as it's rather overshadowed by WWI.
On a side note, I read on a genealogy forum that there is a persistent rumor/legend that a handful of the survivors of the rail crash deserted in it's aftermath and traveled east to settle down in the Newcastle area. Whether this could be true I don't know (I do know that the muster rolls for the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots who were on board the troop train were destroyed in the conflagration, making confirmation of casualties and injured numbers difficult). Possibly it's the sort of story that a family might make up to comfort younger siblings of the fatalities - that their much missed older brother was actually alive and well in north-east England but daren't come home as the authorities believed him dead.