1/7th Battalion of the Royal Scots, and Britain's Worst Rail Disaster
On 22 May 1915, a 213 yard long troop train was telescoped down to 67 yards, a third of its original length, when it was involved in a triple collision at Quintinshill, north east of Gretna, Dumfriesshire. The troop train ran into a train which had accidentally been left on the line, and a few seconds later an express from London, travelling in the opposite direction, crashed into the wreckage.
Of the 500 troops on the train, only 53 answered the roll call after the accident. 227 people were killed in total, including 3 officers, 29 NCOs, and 182 men of the 1/7th Royal Scots who were on their way to Gallipoli. On this one day, whilst still within the UK, the battalion suffered 42% of its total casualties for the whole of the War. See the Scotsman heritage website for more details about the crash.
Most of the fatal casualties, mainly recruited from Edinburgh and Leith, are buried at Rosebank Cemetery, Pilrig Street, Edinburgh. A special memorial has been erected there to commemorate them. The accident is also commemorated at Gretna, where a wooden statue of a piper has been erected, along with a stone memorial with a brass plaque in the form of a cairn.
As a service to those who might be interested in the project, I have compiled a summary list of the names, regimental numbers and addresses of all those involved in the disaster, based on local newspaper reports, and put it on a separate page. If you are interested in anyone mentioned, please e-mail me and I will send you the content of each newspaper article I have recorded. This service is free.
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