on 16 March 2014
I bought this book as my great uncle Peter was killed in this awful rail disaster, which is still Britain's worst.All these young Scots lads from Leith and surrounding area joined the 7th Royal Scots to fight for King and country, my own uncle because his brother (My Grandad) had been killed at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle only a few months earlier.The author explains in great detail how the disaster occurred near Gretna Green.....a collision between a full troop train travelling south to Liverpool on their way to Gallipoli and a stationary goods train then another passenger train from London travelling north ran into the wreckage causing even more carnage.Unbelievably, the surviving soldiers, after some rest, were still sent off to the hell that was Gallipoli.This is an excellent book, very well researched and detailing the subsequent trial of the signalmen whose lack of attention to railway company rules might have averted the tragedy.The Caledonian Railway Company itself doesn't come out too well either. Not much is known about this forgotten disaster....the 100th anniversary is on 22nd May 2015 next year,so buy this book if you wish to fill in any gaps in your knowledge of the event,if you have relatives who might have perished or survived it or to add to information about WW1.It's a cliffhanger made all the more poignant because it really happened.4 children on one of the trains were killed and incredibly, no one ever claimed their bodies...a mystery on its own. An excellent publication
on 25 November 2013
The report on the Train Crash is fair-enough. But Reference as regards the remnant of the (Composite) 7th Royal Scots in the Battle of Gully Ravine, Gallipoli, 28th June 1915, is very flawed. Omitting to mention the slaughter on the front line, to their immediate right, on that day, of the Cameronians to a man. Nor of the 5th Royal Scots,their sister Battalion, who were then pressed into this gap and fared little better than the Cameronians. The 5th Royal Scots had been in Gallipoli, since the first Landings, 6th April 1915. And by the time the 7th Arrived, circa 16 June 1915 had been cut down from 1100 men, to 289, killed or serious casualties. The 7th were part of the large force of reinforcements that Kitchener sent out. The 5th RS, were glad to see them,and for the first time in many, many weeks, were rested into the back lines. But this lasted only a few days, before they were ordered back up to the front - into the hot spot,to the right of the 7th. My only gripe with the Author, is that he should have known that, and if he did, it was very discourteous not to mention it. And worse still, to make references from General Ian Hamilton, and the War Office, which had referred to the 5th RS in earlier Battles on Cape Helles. Not to the 7th RS, who were not even there at the time. When they were commended and referred to as Terriers. For many years, I have, taken the view, no disrespect intended, That the terrible 'train crash' was used to divert attention away from the National Disgrace of the 28th th June 1915. No war memorial solely directed to this slaughter of Edinburgh 'boy soldiers, and Territorials', killed/slaughtered in the Galipoli Battlefields' raised in Edinburgh to this day. As I say, no disrespect to the Memorial to the train crash victims, who never reached or fought in Gallipoli. Hope the Author adjusts this in his Book. How do I know, my Grandfather, was one of the 5th RS killed in the Batle of Gully Ravine, 28th June 1915. And I have stood at his well kept grave in '12 Tree Copse Cemetery, at Cape Helles. And shook my head, as I looked up the lines, and lines, of all too many young Edinburgh, and Leith boy soldiers, Territorials mainly, there. Their Drill Halls were only a couple of miles apart. Has anything changed on the modern Battle Fronts today, who knows, Alex Lawson.