The following two stories, whilst totally unconnected bring to light the fact that a large number of fatalities occurred on the Victorian railways which could have been avoided had the passenger or employee taken more care. A story that is so often repeated across the generations and even today.
Both men are buried here in St Davids Cemetery and have no known last resting place. The stories are however an important piece of our industrial heritage and history. ….here then are their stories
SAD, FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT NEAR CARMARTHEN.
A very melancholy accident happened on Friday night, July 26, at Conwil Elfed Station (about six miles from Carmarthen), on the Carmarthen and Cardigan Railway, by which Mr. Alfred B. Wade, one of the company’s most trusted and respected servants lost his life. Mr Wade, who was chief clerk to Mr A K Young, the manager of the Carmarthen and Cardigan line, and who did most of the auditing work at the different stations, left Carmarthen on Friday evening by the train starting thence at 6.45, and after auditing the accounts at Pencader Station, was returning to Carmarthen by the train due at 9. 40 p.m. Having occasion to call on the stationmaster at Conwil, he jumped out at that station as the train was stopping. In doing so he somehow missed his footing and fell back between the train and the platform, in consequence of which he was completely jammed in, and his body fearfully crushed, one -of his legs and some other limbs being at the same time much lacerated. He was conveyed to Carmarthen as quickly as possible, and then carried up on a board to the county infirmary, where no less than five medical men were directly in attendance. Not withstanding that every possible thing was done for him, the poor man expired at 9.20 a.m. on Saturday. It appears that his limbs were so much crushed, as to have lost all power of sensation, for though conscious to the last, he complained of very little pain, and could hardly be persuaded that he was dangerously hurt. There were few men of his rank in life so much respected in Carmarthen as Mr Wade, and his services as an auditor were so frequently sought for that his death may be almost accounted a public loss. Mr Wade was the son of a former borough surveyor at Carmarthen. At the Carmarthenshire Infirmary on Monday evening, Mr. J. Hughes, coroner, held an inquest upon the body of the deceased. A verdict of accidental death was returned. The funeral took place on Tuesday, and, being public, there was a large concourse of people from the town and neighbourhood. The procession was led by Captain Tyler, Mount Gernos, in his carriage. After him followed the Rev. D. Pugh Evans, vicar of St. Peter’s, Mr. Thomas Thomas, Mayor of Carmarthen, Mr A K. Young, manager of the line, and Mr. Cruse, station master. Next came the general inhabitants of the town, and immediately after 24 of the company’s servants, headed by Mr. D. Rees, station-master, Llandysul, and D. Lloyd. The hearse and mourners (including Mr. Ellis and Mr. Webber) brought up the rear. The body was interred in St. David’s Churchyard, and the Venerable Archdeacon Williams read the burial service.
CARDIFF TIMES AUGUST 1878
Lewis Davies 1878 -1916. “Accidentally Killed”
The following newspaper article printed in March 1916 gives a vivid description of the terrible fate that befell Lewis Davies on that stormy evening. As the World War raged across Europe, men were still needed at home to carry out important work in the heavy industrial heartlands of Wales and other locations across the country. The burial register for St David’s cemetery gives the first clue as to the “fate” of young Lewis by the insertion of the phrase by the vicar who performed the burial “Accidentally killed”, an insertion rarely seen in burial registers, and a curious phrase to use to say the least. Lewis and his wife have no memorial in the cemetery and their burial place is unknown.
CARMARTHEN MAN KILLED IN THE STORM – BLOWN UNDER MOVING TRUCKS. FIERCE BLIZZARD IN SOUTH WALES.
One of the fiercest snowstorms that has occurred within living memory was experienced in South Wales during Monday night and Tuesday morning. It blew a veritable blizzard, and the blinding snow was accompanied by vivid flash of lightning and loud peals of thunder. An enormous amount of damage was done and several lives were lost. Trains were held up, and many collieries had to be at a standstill. Carmarthen, however, did not seem to have experienced the full vigour of the storm, although a strong gale swept over the town, and up to a late hour on Tuesday the borough was isolated from Pembrokeshire and other parts so far as telegraphic and telephonic communication was concerned. In the outlying district a heavy fall of snow was responsible for several motoring difficulties. In the loss of human life was a distressing tragedy of particular interest to Carmarthen. Whilst superintending the moving of trucks near Baldwin’s Works, Swansea** Lewis Davies, a shunter in the employ of the company, met his death.
He was the son of Mrs. Davies, 2, St. Catherine Street, Carmarthen, and of the late Mr. John Davies, butcher. At the time the gale was at its highest, he was blown by a gust clean underneath the wheels of the trucks, which passed over his neck, killing him instantly. He was a widower, 36 years of age, and well known and popular in Carmarthen. His body was taken to the Swansea Mortuary. In a statement to the police, William Llewellyn the driver of the engine said that he was shunting near Baldwin’s coke ovens about 9.30am and Davies was riding on the footplate. He (Llewellyn) advised the deceased to get off the step because of the danger, but he received the reply that deceased was all right. It was blowing hard, and he did not hear or see the deceased, but missing him all at once he stopped the engine and found Davies underneath the wheels, which had passed over his neck, severing his head from his body.
Western Mail March 1916.
** In 1918 Baldwin’s became known as the British Steel Corporation and was owned by Industrialist Alfred Baldwin MP, father of Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. Stanley helped start up the business in 1902.