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HAVERFORDWEST PETTY SESSIONS.

THE WESLEYAN CONFERENCE.

TENBY.

PEMBROKE-DOCK.

DEMONSTRATION IN FAVOUR OF…

MILFORD.

NARBERTH.

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THE GREAT RAILWAY DISASTER.I

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THE GREAT RAILWAY DISASTER. The details of the catastrophe which befel the Irish Limited MailQn its journey between Chester and Holyhead on Thursday tend rather to magnify than diminish the alarming intelligence briefly com- municated by telegraph. ABERGELE (Friday Afternoon). The scene of the accident lies between this place and a small Welsh watering place named Llandudlas, and some sixteen or twenty miles on this side Con- way. The train consisted of an engine named the Prince of Wales, succeeded by a guards's van and two first-class carriages (in one of which Lord Farn- ham and his party occupied seats), and one composite coach then came two Post-office vans with the mails, and behind these four or five other first and second class coaches. The driver of the engine was a man named Thompson, of Stafford, the stoker being Joseph Holmes, also of Stafford. The guard was a man named Smith, of London. The distance from Chester to Abergele occupies about three-quarters of Pn hour in travelling, and the mail passed this station t its usual time of twenty minutes to one o'clock. PAbout twenty minutes previously, a goods train) -passed along, also going in the direction of Holyhead s usual, it ran on as far as a siding near Llandudlas Station, and there shunted in order to allow the mail train to pass by, An incident occurred here which ) d to the frightful catastrophe that followed. So Far as can be ascertained, a portion of the goods train was here detached, and, by accident or error of judgment, two waggons were bumped against the latter half. and set it in motion. These ran from the siding on to the main down line, which, at this point, has a gradient of something like 1 in 100. The des. cending waggons gathered velocity as they proceeded, and ran about a mile, when they met the mail train, coning at a speed of 40 miles an hour. There is a sharp curve at one point of the line, and also a cutting so that the driver of the mail train was unable to see the danger ahead until the goods waggons were close upon him. He immediately shut off th.e steam, put on the brakes, and told the stoker Holmes) that they must jump for their lives-the latter would not, or could not, and, remaining at his post, was killed while Thompson, leaping off the engine, escaped with some bruises and a severe shaking. When the crash occurred the mail engine leaped on to the goods wagcons, and the tender, guard's van, two first-class, and one composite car- riage followed in a heap. Two of the waggons were unhappily laden with casks of petroleum. These were all broken by the force of the collision, and. the fire of the furnace coming in contact with the oil, in a moment the whole mass was in flames. Thompson, the driver, though partially stunned by the fall, dis- played great presence of mind. As soon as he could he ran to the double post-office van in the centre of the train, and seeing the first half was on fire, he disconnected the ether half, and the hinder part of the train, thus released, ran a short distance down the rest of the incline, away from the burning pile the lives of the passengers in the rearmost carriage being thereby saved. The petroleum and the wood- work of the broken carriages burnt fiercely for up-* wards of an hour-so fiercely that though thousands ) of persons were soon attracted to the spot, none could approach near the carriages. A line of men was formed to a neighbouring pool on the seashore, and formed to a neighbouring pool on the seashore, and buckets of water were thus passed along, hut this apparently had no effect upon the flames. Every- thing and everybody within the doomed carriages were consumed in the fire, and the whole was speedily reduced to a heap of black char. Both lines were blocked up, and, the telegraph wires being broken, all communication either way was for some t mestopped. Special mesvenirets were sent on the Hhvl. 11. is- grams sent LO Chester ar.d Crewe, and from Llan- dudlas to Holyhead, for assistance. Mr Jones, station masler at Abereele, and other officials of the railway company, exerted themselves to the utmost to meet the terrible emergency. Medical gentlemen were soon in attendance, including Mr Lioyd Davis, Mr Griffiths, and Mr Jones, of Abergele Mr Roberts and Mr Jones, of Rhyl Mr Davis, of Llanfair Dr VS'Ewen, the company's medical officer at Chester; and Dr Harvey, of Lincoln, staying at Pensarn. Inspector Owen, of the Denbighshire police Mr John Denman, chief constable of Denbigh; and Superintendent Pugh, of Denbigh, were also quickly iu attendance. A supply of coffins was obtained from Chester, in which were deposited the bodies of the unfortunate passengers, or, rather, the heaps of animal charcoal, quite unrecognisable as human beings. Lord Farnham's body was identified by his gold watch, which bore the family crest. Amongst those who escaped were the Duchess of \bercorn and her son, Lord Hamilton. The medical gentlemen found that the survivors, except in one instance, had suffered cuts on the face and temples and contusions, but all were able to proceed to Holyhead about six o'clock. It is impossible to ascertain here, with any accuracy, who were in the train. The only passenger injured who remains here is a young Irish gentleman, Mr Murray, who suffered concussion of the brain, but is progressing fovour :bly. From the remains, which have been removed to Abergele Church, it is conjectured that at least 23 persons have lost their lives in this terrible calamity. Inspector Owen has in his possession eighteen gold and four silver watches, or rather the remains, most of them being burnt so that it is difficult to recognise them. The excitement caused in this neighbourhood by the calamity is very great. THE LIST OF MISSING PERSONS IS AS FOLLOWS Lord Farnham, Lady Farnham, Miss Stafford, her ladyship's companion; Mary Ann kellett, her lady- ship's maid Mr Outen, his lordship's valet Charles Buckingham, footman; Mr Aylmer, of Walworth Castle, Durham; Mrs Aylmer, Mr Aylmer, jun. a young gentleman, cousin of Mr Aylmer, jun. the Misses Sincoxlea (2), of Astlec Hall, near Stourport; Mr Atkins, of Kidderminster; Mr Atkins, jun., of Kidderminster; Mr W. T. Lund, Mr W. B. Markinson, the Rev Sir Nicholas Chinnery Lady Chinnery: her ladyship's maid; Mr Scobell, Miss Scobell, Mr Berwick, an Irish judge in bankruptcy; Mr Berwick's sister a little girl travelling with Mr Berwick, Captain Edwards, of Fixley Park Mi- Edwards, son of the above Mr W. Owen, organist, of Dublin. Total 28. THE ENGINE DRIVER'S STATEMENT. We had done the distance in good time along the level, so I let the engine up the incline at an easy pace, between twenty-eight and thirty miles an hour, especially as the train was heavier than usual. Just as we rounded the curve opposite Gwyrich Castle, I saw some loose trucks running down the incline on our line of rails. I should have stuck by the engine, but I saw that some of the trucks had barrels of oil, or something of that sort in them, and I knew the danger. I jump-d off on to the bank. I called to my mate, (Joseph Halman, the stoker,) 'jump for your life, Joe.' but my mate did not do it. I fell on my feet, and as fell the engine caught the trucks. I was struck on the head by a fragment from the tender and half stunned. The engine, when it caught the trucks flung them across the permanent way. The engine kept the rails, but the tender jumped over it and fell on the bank. The moment after the collision the oil blazed up it was all in an instant. I heard my mate give a groan, and I saw him lying in a mass of flame. None of the passengers stirred. There was not a groan or a cry of any sort from them. The only noise was that of my mate when the flames caught him. I ran and opened two or three of the carriage doors on the side on which they were locked, but the flames drove me away. The carriages were all in a blaze immediately. I ran out the two leather straps attaching the two post-office vans. The rear guard helped me. The clerks put the mail bags out of the van that was burnt. They were a good deal burnt in doing. The carriages that we had cut loose rolled down the incline. Then I grew faint from loss of blood, and lost my senses. I believe that the passengers were killed almost immediately. None of them attempted to get out. The collision was not a bad one, and the carriages were not damaged. They did not leave the line. It was the petroleum that did it all. If it had not been for that there would not have been a life lost. STORIES BY PASSENGERS. One passenger says The first intimation we go that anything wrong had occuired was a sudden jerk or check in the motion of the carriage, very like that experienced when a train is stopped too quickly. We supposed that an accident was on the point of hap- j pening, and I at once sprang to the window and looked out. The carriage in which I was travelling was near the end of the train, and therefore received much less concussion than those in front. The scene which presented itself was a mass of dense, black smoke, through which the flames leaped and hissed, enveloping the fore part of the train. I heard no cry, whatever; the only noise was a sort of sup- pressed rumble and I said to my companions, The carriages in front are on fire I hope no one is hurt.' Several other gentlemen looked out of the window and made similar observations, and the general im- pression was certainly that no human life was lost, or even endangered. I suggested that we ought to get on to the bank while the real nature of the accident was being ascertained, and some efforts made to subdue the flames, which were raging furiously. We all got out, and the heat from the burning carriages was most intense-absolutely scorching. I was struck by the utter absence of anything like panic or terror among my fellow-passengers and though, of course, there was a gredt deal of confusion, there was little painful excitement. I have been through many painful scenes, and have witnessed instances of remarkable self-possession, but nothing ever struck me more than the intrepidity and coolness of the Duchess of Abercorn. Addressing a few words to" allay the apprehension of the distinguished person*; by whom she was accompanied, she retired a short distance from the scene of devastation. The person who appeared most excited was the guard, and he ran up and down by the side of the train with the keys in his hand, looking utterly bewildered and talking incoherently. Several passengers were locked in the other carriages, and a Mr William Uniake Townsend took the key from the guard and released them. He then went forward, and, creeping under the train, unlinked the couplings which fastened the burning vans to the carriages, and the latter were pushed a short distance away. He then got between the luggage van and the post-office, which were both in flames, and separated them. The engine was thrown over on its s'de, and the tender was also dis- placed. The carriages continued to burn fiercely, and the huge flames, fanned by the wind, licked tip the dry grass on the bank and scorched the hedges on the top. None of my fellow-passengers complained to me of any injuries, but of course all were more or less agitated by the occurrence. A Mr Chaworth Ferguson, barrister-at-law, who saw the accident from ois house at a distance, appeared in company with carrying wine, brandy, and other restoratives, which f'py dispensed most liberally, and threw open their dwelling to all who chose to take advantage of their kindness. Numbers of the peasantry of the district also appeared on the scene but they were a sullen, stupid lot, who looked on passively without any attempt to render assistance. The Marquis of Hamilton was most assidious in his efforts to allay the anxiety of the passengers, and in several ways con- tributed to their comfort. Some time elapsed,and it was found that the trains which were due from opposite directionsmightuomeandspread further destruction. The Marquis proceeded in one direction and Mr Townsend in. the other, and. fortunately, both trains were stopped. The Post-office clerk was very active, and the contents of the van were removed in safety. For an hour the fire continued to burn without any signs of abatement. The carriages were literally one burning mass, and the liquid fire, running ()ver the surface of the ground, charred and blackened everything with which it came in contact. At length the sides of the burning carriages fell out., and, the wind increasing, the flames and smoke were driven to the off side of the line. I advanced, in company with another gentleman, and glanced into the ruined carriages. For a moment I was utterly speechless with horror, and a dizzy, sickening feeling crept over me as the terrible truth flashed across my mind, and I reeled half insensible against my companion. Are you faint ?' inquired he, anxiously. 1 pointed to the carriages, and, as be looked, he cried, aioud, 'Great heavens! what can be done?' I composed myself, and attempted to realise the details of the ghastly scene There, black- ened, charred, literally calcined, were the forms of a number of human beings absolutely undistinguishable. A thrill of horror passed through the crowd when the truth became known, and the most intense emotion wag manifested. When we had suffiftiently recovered from the shock to examine closely, we found twelve or fourteen bodies. Lord Farnham presented a most ghastly sight; anything more awful could not be conceived. Part of the face was burned away, and tho other part was drawn up as in a violent convulsion. His right side was cal- cined, and the hefirt and entrails actually protruded. I could look no longer, and had to leave the spot, or I should have tainted. By this time the Marquis of Hamil- ton and Mr Townsend had returned, and, assisted by the latter gentleman's brother, Mr C. Townsend, renewed their exertions. The spectacle, however, proved too much for his lordship, and he swooned. Much anxiety was manifested by all who had witnessed his heroic con- duct, and everything was done that could possibly con- duce to his comfort. Time Duchess nursed him with, extreme tenderness, and, to the gratification of the entire body of spectators, he soon recovered. General inquiries were made for Judge Berwick, who, I heard a g'ntteman declare, had been seen conversing with Lord Farnham fit the last station. No trace whatever could be found of him, and it was feared that he was one of those who icst their lives. From this time my impressions were faint and confused. I remember being told that two direotors, accompanied by medical gentlemen, had arrived, and that a gang of labourers were at work removing the debris. I was in a state of semi-unconciousness until I was placed in the train to continue my journey, and even now, as the appalling scene recuis to my mind, I shudder at the dreadful reminiscence.' IMPORTANT DETAILS. No positive information as to whether the doors of the carriages were locked or unlocked, has yet been obtained. The correspondent of the Liverpool Daily Post on this points says:— "Unaccountable to relate, most of the carriage doors of the mail train were locked on each side, so that the unfortunate occupants were denied a means of escape. Several of the passengers, however, did manage to scramble and jump out of the windows, and I am informed by many of those that the shrieks and cms of those who were left behind were heartrending in the extreme. No one dared to approach the conflagration, for so fierce and intense was the fire that the entire 'cuttinir,' so to speak, was licked by the flames. All they could do was to contemplate the scene with horror, and congratulate themselves upon their own individual deliverance from its misery. Fortunately, time was per- mitted to open a few of the doors, and one of the first to alight was the Duchess of Abercorn and her son Lord Claude Hamilton. Beyond a severe shaking and fright natural to the occasion, her ladyship and her son escaped comparatively uninjured. It was not so with others, however. Several were severely cut and injured about the head and body." The Manchester Guardian, in their narrative, speaking of the wife of a platelayer named Dickens, states: "Among these helpers was the wife of the man Dickens, who lives in a small cottage upon the beach, and within a few'yards of the scene of the colli- sion. She entreated one lady to put her little girl through, the carriage window; but the mother—not, perhaps, at the moment recognising the danger—rejected the prof- fered assistance, and in another moment the carriage was in flames, and help out of reach. Soon afterwards a child's boot, charred with the flames, was picked out of the ashes during the search for valuables." Toughing the accident itself one correspondent writes: "Petroleum, it is well known, burns with peculiar force, fierceness, and tenacity, and never were its detest- able qualities more conspicuously visible tb;ln on this occasion. The whole permanent way, for forty feet, was literally in a blaze for hours. It was not a fire, but a furnace. The rails were of a white heat, the permanent way, saturated with the oil, was red hot, the bank was in a blaze, and the carriages, and everything and everybody in them, were consumed to dust. For hours this fearful spectacle was witnessed, for the petroleum fed, so to speak, on itself long after the woodwork of the carri gas had been destroyed. The spectators could plainly see for some time the skeletons of the passengers in the flames; but before the fire was extinguished skuils, and legs, and arms calcined into dust. All that could be done was done to put out the flames by throwing water on them, but the efforts were almost ineffectual, The fire may to said to have burnt itself out."