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The Death of Edward Druitt

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  • Chris G.
    replied
    See following information on the disaster and Druitt's role in the first of three enquiries into the tragedy

    The Quintinshill rail disaster
    occurred on 22 May 1915 near Gretna Green, Dumfriesshire, Scotland at Quintinshill, an intermediate signal box with passing loops on each side on the Caledonian Railway Main Line linking Glasgow and Carlisle (now part of the West Coast Main Line).

    The crash, which involved five trains, killed a probable 226 and injured 246 and remains the worst rail crash in the United Kingdom in terms of loss of life. Those killed were mainly Territorial soldiers from the 1/7th (Leith) Battalion, the Royal Scots heading for Gallipoli. The precise death toll was never established with confidence as the roll list of the regiment was destroyed by the fire.

    The crash occurred when a troop train travelling from Larbert, Stirlingshire to Liverpool, Lancashire collided with a local passenger train that had been shunted on to the main line, to then be hit by an express train to Glasgow which crashed into the wreckage a minute later. Gas from the lighting system of the old wooden carriages of the troop train ignited, starting a fire which soon engulfed the three passenger trains and also two goods trains standing on nearby passing loops. Some bodies were never recovered, having been wholly consumed by the fire, and the bodies that were recovered were buried together in a mass grave in Edinburgh's Rosebank Cemetery. Four bodies, believed to be of children, were never identified or claimed and are buried in the Western Necropolis, Glasgow.

    More at https://www.geni.com/projects/Quinti...Disaster/25968

    As noted, the first enquiry into the disaster was the Board of Trade Enquiry headed by Druitt.

    The . . . Board of Trade enquiry, headed by Lieutenant-Colonel E Druitt of the Railway Inspectorate. . . started on 25 May in the County Hall, Carlisle. Druitt questioned many witnesses, including Meakin, Tinsley, and Fireman Hutchinson, all of whom were open and honest about their illegal actions. He also criticised Alexander Thorburn, CR Stationmaster of Gretna, who had jurisdiction over Quintinshill box, but was apparently unaware of Tinsley hitching a lift on the local train.

    Druitt concluded that even if the troop train had been electrically lit, a fire would still have ensued, as the coal train had also caught fire. That is debatable, and in any case, what Druitt failed to consider was that in the crash the source of the fire was under and directly inside old wooden carriages, which undoubtedly was the main cause of the high number of deaths.

    Druitt also said the disaster could have been averted had the section had electric track circuiting. Track circuits worked whereby an electric circuit was run via running rails in each track section carried a low voltage circuit to an apparatus in the signalbox. When this circuit was shorted by the wheels and axles of trains, the apparatus switched, indicating that the line was occupied. The same principle is still used today, alerting signalling centres but now also interlocked to signals, which automatically turn to danger when the circuit is shorted. Track circuiting however was in its infancy in 1915 and the CR had decided that Quintinshill did not warrant circuiting. Druitt was correct, however, that had it been done, then the collision may never have happened. On the other hand, with the obvious confusion in the signalbox that morning, there is no guarantee that it would not have been likewise overlooked.

    There can be little surprise that Druitt squarely laid the blame at the feet of George Meakin and James Tinsley. He stated in his report,

    “This disastrous collision was thus due to want of discipline on the part of the signalmen, first by changing duty at an unauthorised hour, which caused Tinsley to be occupied in writing up the Train Register Book, and so diverted his attention from his proper work, secondly by Meakin handing over the duty in a very lax manner; and, thirdly by both signalmen neglecting to carry out various rules specially framed for preventing accidents due to forgetfulness on the part of signalmen.”

    High Court Trial (Scotland)

    The Trial against George Meakin, James Tinsley and Thomas Hutchinson proceeded on 24 September 2015 on charges of Culpable Homicide and Breach of Duty, in the High Court of Justiciary, Edinburgh; the highest court in Scots Law. The trial was presided over by Lord Justice General, Lord Strathclyde, with Lord Advocate of Scotland Robert Munro KC prosecuting, and Condie Sandieman KC defending. The three men entered pleas of Not Guilty.

    The trial only lasted a day and a half. Sandieman stated that Hutchinson had no case to answer, which the Prosecution and Lord Strathclyde agreed with, and the jury of 15 (Scots jury) were instructed to find him Not Guilty. Sandieman tried to convince the court that neither Meakin nor Tinsley had been criminally negligent but that the accident was due to a momentary loss of memory on the part of James Tinsley. . .

    The Jury retired at 12:40 on 25 September to consider their verdict. They returned at 12:48, duly acquitted Hutchinson as instructed, and found George Meakin and James Tinsley guilty of Culpable Homicide and Breach of Duty. Meakin was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment and Tinsley received three years penal servitude. Both were in fact released on 16 December 1916 and returned to work on the Caledonian Railway; Tinsley as a Lampman, and Meakin as Good Trains Guard. This apparent leniency was in fact due to a labour shortage created by men leaving their jobs to go and fight in the war.

    More at https://toeragmctavish.wordpress.com...lway-disaster/

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  • Phillip Walton
    replied
    I'll have to check it out but IIRC they were jailed for manslaughter. They were released early when it was discovered that some of the blame was down to the North British Railway Company on whose line the accident occurred. Principally that the signalmen were doing 12 or even 16 hour shifts which was something Druitt commented on.

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  • Joe Chetcuti
    replied
    In Post 7 on this thread, Phillip mentioned how Edward Druitt presided over the Quintinshill railway disaster. I recently read the following in the July 1995 issue of Ripperana.

    He presided over the inquiry into Britain's worst ever railway accident, that on 22 May 1915 at Quintinshill in Scotland, resulting in 217 fatalities and 191 serious injuries, mainly among military personnel. Druitt stated that the calamity was caused "entirely by the inexcusable carelessness and inattention to duty" of the two signalmen. The memory of the scene is said to have haunted them for the rest of their lives.

    Those two Druitt brothers, Montague and Edward, do have their names featured prominently in two major stories. I'm not familiar with the 1915 railway disaster, but I could imagine how difficult life must have been afterwards for those two signalmen who were involved in the death of so many passengers.

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  • Robert Linford
    replied
    The inmates had a strange approach to lining up for a photo.

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  • Gary Barnett
    replied
    Chideock had an enduring tradition of Roman Catholicism which at times was rather risky.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chideock

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  • Robert Linford
    replied
    http://www.childrenshomes.org.uk/BristolArnosRfy/

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  • Roy Corduroy
    replied
    And in the 1881 census, (click) Amy Weld, also born Chideock. She was head of a convent in Bristol.

    Click image for larger version

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    Convent of the Good Shepherd & Arno's Court Reformatory (Miss Amy Weld, Lady Superioress: Rev. Charles Kleineidam, chaplain) Brislington, Bristol

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    From Paul Townsend's Bristol Site

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  • Roy Corduroy
    replied
    A Christina Weld in the 1871 Census of England and Wales, (click) but this is not her. But it could well be her aunt for instance, note the 1818 birthplace of Chideock, the family seat. This household listing is the Franciscan Convent of our Lady of Dolours, Taunton, Somerset and Louisa Jerningham (Head) was the Lady Abbess. So this Christina Weld in the census may well have been a nun.

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  • Roy Corduroy
    replied
    Prior discussion on Casebook (click) where Johnr said the actual newspaper report of the Weld-Druitt wedding appears in the SOMERSETSHIRE GAZETTE of 21 February, 1889. (Does anyone have access to that please?) No Druitts attended the wedding, this was just a month after Montie's funeral. But Johnr wrote the guest list was a Catholic who's who. I wonder if Frank Gasquet, later Cardinal, attended. His brother Dr Gasquet was treating Ann Druitt at the time.

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  • Roy Corduroy
    replied
    Posting

    Edward Druitt (1859-1922) was Montague's younger brother and served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Engineers.…he was married on 19 February 1889 at the Manor House, Chideock in Dorset to Christina-Mary-Filumea, the eldest daughter of Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld.
    From A Catalogue of Rare and Valuable Books 1907
    Attached Files

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  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Thanks Chris. A few more :

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/letters...ylum-1-2811775

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3pjIJSITek

    It looks as though insulin came a shade too late for Edward :

    http://www.everydayhealth.com/diabet...ough-time.aspx

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  • Chris G.
    replied


    Entranceway to Craig House Hospital, Edinburgh, where Edward Druitt died on 25 July 1922.

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  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Thanks Joanna. Yes, absence from his daughter's funeral certainly seems suggestive.

    Walmesley remarried in 1920 but helped with Edward's estate in 1922, and 26 years later dealt with Christina's estate. She apparently died a Carmelite nun.

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  • Joanna
    replied
    Thanks for all the replies, they are much appreciated!

    Robert,

    Thanks for the information about Edward's last address. From my research as well it appears he disappears from view in 1918.

    All four of Edward's children predeceased him and his wife. The eldest, Mary, born in Brisbane, Queensland on Jan 24 1890, married Charles Talbot Joseph Gerard Walmesley on January 9 1912 and died on September 3 1918, the same day that she gave birth to her third child. An account of Maryís funeral was published in the Reading Mercury on September 14 1918. Although her mother was in attendance and her husbandís absence was mentioned and attributed to war service, no mention is made of her father being present, nor is any reason given as to why he was not there. The last reports of Edward discharging his duties for the Board of Trade were made in February 1918 so it would appear that he was incapacitated by this date. However, untreated or poorly regulated diabetes is likely to make an individual seriously physically ill without any mental health issues arising.

    After retiring from the Royal Engineers Edward Druitt worked for the Board of Trade heading up inquiries into railway disasters. An interesting account of his career and involvement in one such inquiry can be found in The Quintinshill Conspiracy: The Shocking True Story Behind Britain's Worst Rail Disaster.

    The impression I get of Edward from what I have read of him was that he was solid, amiable but none-too-bright with a tendency to revere authority figures whether they were his father-in-law or his boss.

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  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Edward's daughter Mary died in 1918, which wouldn't have helped his state of mind.

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