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Forum Home > Dead and Buried. > Stourbridge Station Deaths,1860, 1869, and 1914.

Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

Stourbridge, Great Western Railway Accident.


Even our hi-tech society can't seem to prevent accidents on the Railways, particulary when its neccessary to cross a busy line. No amount of signs and noticies, which some totally ignore, have managed to completely stop the death toll. We are all responsible for our own, and our childrens safety, sadly, this fact doesn't appear to have yet sunk in. There has been some adverse reactions to a recent Television and Cinema Advert, but if it takes a shocker to highlight a problem, so be it. Far too late for the poor soul in this little story though.


William Wooldrige, a 67 year old worker at a fire clay company, set off around 7.00pm for a regular meeting of a " Lodge " of which he was a long standing member. He crossed the Great Western Railway line at the goods end of Stourbridge Station, and about seven minutes later was inside the warmth of the " Labour-in-Vain " public house, Oldswinford, where they always met. Christmas was but a few days away, and William looked forward to enjoying himself with his friends. He left the pub at 10.15pm, having had " two or three " glasses of spirits, but was not, according to Joseph Chance, drunk, but merely " elevated ". Back at the Station, the Express passenger service was pulling out, and a goods train, waiting in the sidings, was ordered to shunt back onto the down line and proceed on its way. As it reached the water tank at the end of the Station, it was stopped by the fireman, with a cry that somebody had been killed. And he wasn't wrong either.



Warning; For those who may have a delicate constitution, just had, or are about to partake of, a hearty meal, you may wish to adjourn the next bit, well at least until its all gone down.


The firemans cry bought the railway employee's running to the spot, and as the train stopped, it became apparent that he was correct. Trapped under the Engine's tender wheel, was the crushed and mangled upper torso of a man. It was legless, they, have been torn off the body by the trains crushing weight. The torso, having been torn open, contained very few of the organs it had previous sheltered. The Heart, Lungs, Stomach, and most of the Abdominal viscera were missing, scattered across several yards of track. The unfortunate William Wooldridge's head, for yes, it was he, was still attached to the torso, but only by a thin strip of skin at the back of his neck. Both his arms were still there, although badly mangled by the wheels. A search of the tracks quickly found the missing bits. His upper legs and thighs, stripped of the flesh, lay between the rails, a foot, and a portion of leg below the knee, were nearby, and the other foot, complete with his shoe, some distance beyond, and almost certainly at the point at which Mr Wooldrige and the goods train had met. The remains were conveyed to the Railway Station Inn about midnight, which must have caused a great deal of excitement for William Hanbury's remaining customers. By first light on the Sunday morning, Police Sergeant Jones noted that the rails were covered in flesh, blood, and gore, and during his little walk, picked up a thick piece of skin. It was William Wooldrige's Tongue.


There was no actually right of way at the point of the accident, for members of the public, altough there was a footbridge further along. At no stage did anyone, porters or train crew, hear any cry for help, indeed, if you've heard a train shunting, with all the noise from rattling chains and banging waggons, you will understand why. The verdict of course was accidental death, but some folk would have been a long time puzzling over that statement from Joseph Chance. " He wasn't drunk, just a bit " elevated. " Perhaps he meant " high as a kite ", but couldn't quite bring himself to say it.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

December 13, 2012 at 3:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

You might have thought, that the Railway's employees, knowing the dangers, would at least be safer than others. Not so it seems, and especially one in particular, a porter named William Bowater. Every morning, about 11 am, the Express Train from the north passed through, for timetables then were sometimes as erractic as they are today, and poor William may not have had a watch. He had been working in the goods shed since 6 am, and it may have been his breaktime, for he tried to cross the line, just as the Express approached, which, if passengers had booked, sometimes stopped. Crossing between the empty waggons, he failed to look, and despite many shouted warnings, which he seemed not to hear very well, he continued on his way. Even in 1860, express trains were capable of speeds in excess of 50 mph, although to be honest, a much slower speed would have had the same effect on William Bowater. His body was thrown some distance in the air, and finished up several yards down the line. His head exploded like a ripe melon, as it came into contact with over 60 tons of speeding iron, the remains being scattered over the scene of the impact. The engine sheered off his lower legs, leaving his feet, complete with his boots, resting on the railway sleeper he had last stood on. It was a mystery why he had not got clear, what with all the shouting, and the driver frantically blowing his whistle by way of a warning. One can only assume, that William Bowaters was either partially deaf, or of a suicidal frame of mind that day. There was of course, no way of checking the former, for his ears were never found.



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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 9, 2013 at 3:39 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Alaska.
Site Owner
Posts: 1404

Stourbridge, Railway Death.


This next one was an a train which had just left the Station, enroute for Cradley, and had just gone through the little station at Lye. A passenger, Rupert Oliver, the 34 year old unmarried son of Frank and Sarah Oliver, who were mine hosts of The Talbot Hotel, in Colley Gate, was leaning out of the window. Unfortunately, he was leaning out a bit to far, and failed to see the goods train coming the other way. Perhaps he was excited by the trip, perhaps he was drunk, we shall never know now, for only the lower portion of his body arrived at Cradley Station. The rest was scattered over the trackway, and smeared over the engine and waggons of the goods train. The date was 4 September,1914, and he may well have been waving to others, who were awaiting transport to go off to war. The sight would have been a foretaste of what they would all see on the Western front in the months and years ahead.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 9, 2013 at 3:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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