ASTON VILLA’S CUP FINAL TRAIN CRASH
Match going Aston Villa supporters have shared immeasurable highs and lows during the club’s illustrious history, and justifiably take it for granted that, no matter what happens at Villa Park, or when setting out on an away-day, getting home safely and being able to recount your experiences to friends and family members is set in stone.
However, on Saturday 26 April 1924 tragedy struck, when a train carrying Villa fans down from Coventry to London to watch the FA Cup Final against Newcastle United, was involved in a fatal collision that left five dead and more than fifty injured. Today marks the anniversary of the inquest into the incident, and provides an opportunity to remember those Villa fans that didn’t make it home that day. Here are some extracts from newspaper reports on the incident.
“The day of the Cup Final was marred by terrible accident in which many excursionists travelling from Coventry to London were involved. Both the rear coach of the Coventry ‘Special’ and the front part of an electric train were telescoped, but the casualties occurred chiefly in the former, which was packed with passengers. Three of them were kill outright – Mr. Thomas Bradshaw, Mr. Samuel Ives and Mr. James Grey and another, Mr. William Dix, died in hospital after an operation. All four were from Coventry, as were most of the injured, numbering about fifty, and the news cast a gloom over the city.”
“After the smash there was a terrible hour in the pitch blackness. Injured and uninjured passengers, after extracting themselves from the train, rushed up and down in the darkness, shouting out the names of friends, and seeking to help those who could not help themselves.”
“It was nearly half an hour before much assistance could arrive from Euston, three quarters of a mile from the scene of the disaster. First aid was rendered in many cases and five milk vans were utilised to convey the injured to Euston from where they were removed to hospitals in a fleet of motorised ambulances which had been assembled. Many others were carried on stretchers down the line to Euston.”
“The King and Queen have learnt with much regret of the incident to a train bringing passengers from the Midlands to see the football match at Wembley. Their majesties wish to express their sympathy with the relatives of those who were killed and trust the injured are making good progress.”
The Ministry of Transport report, dated 24 June 1924, which was conducted by Colonel Pringle, described the precise details of the disaster and concluded that it was Signalman Chambers’ mistake, “caused through a false mental impression”, that led to the death of the five passengers, but went on to describe him as being “a man of excellent record and character.”
Apart from recommendations for the train company to fit improved track circuiting, it appears there was no compensation for the victims, who paid a huge price for simply heading off to London to support the Villa – who lost 2-0 to Newcastle to darken the mood even further.
On behalf of all Aston Villa fans I hope those who lost their lives that day continue to Rest In Peace.
THE BIG ASTON VILLA 150-YEAR ANNIVERSARY BOOK PROJECT
Two large-format 400-plus-page coffee table books will be produced to commemorate the occasion – the first will be published this September – and will tell the remarkable story of Villa’s first 75 years. An era when the club dominated football… the Kings of Birmingham and renowned across the globe.
Written by respected club authors and historians – Colin Abbott, John Russell and Jon Farrelly – the books contain stunning photographs, illustrations, stories, fascinating press cuttings, as well as precious memoribillia that will be treasured by every Aston Villa supporter.
PRE-ORDER TO GET YOUR NAME/S IN THE BOOK
Those who pre-order now are able to get their name – or that of a friend, relative or loved one – included in the Villa supporter Roll of Honour pages that will be encapsulated within the book. Up to two additional names (per purchased book) can be purchased, to allow a parent’s and/or grandparent’s name to appear alongside your own.
These limited edition books will all be numbered and include an exclusive limited edition print of Villa Park.
There will also be a small batch of 150 exclusive editions that will come boxed, with a specially commissioned badge, free postage + three extra name dedications included.
To pre-order, or to find out more information on the ‘name in book’ scheme simply click one of the the buttons below, depending on whether you want a standard or exclusive version.
If you have any issues while purchasing the book online, please e-mail david@legendspublishing with your phone number and he can call you to take credit/debit card payment.
TWO BUYING OPTIONS & GET YOUR NAME IN THE BOOK
NUMBERED COPIES 151-1500 | £39.99
You will receive a copy of the limited edition book, a name dedication in the Villa fans’ Roll of Honour pages, plus a Villa Park print print. Book numbers will be allocated as per order timing.
An extra two names per purchase (three in total) can be added at £10 per name by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org after purchase with the details. You will then be billed as a separate transaction.