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Accident – Inquest Told “Inches from Safety”

August 1939

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 18 August 1939

Wath Accident Described

Coarse Enoch Boreham (57) sub-ganger, 8, Furlong Road, Bolton , who was struck by the Edinburgh to London express while working on the railway line near Wath Main Colliery, lost his life by a matter of inches it was revealed at an inquest, conducted by the Doncaster District Deputy Coroner, Mr. C. R. Marshall, who sat with a jury at the Montagu Hospital on Monday.

A verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned. Mr. J. Steele Carr represented the dead man’s relatives and the National Union of Railwaymen, and Mr. E. Pilgrim, (Cudworth) District Controller, represented the London Midland and Scottish Railway Company.

Told Wife of Mishap.

Edith Olive Boreham, the widow, of 8 Furlong Road, Bolton, gave evidence of identification and said her husband left home in the best of health on July at about 12-30. His eyesight and hearing were very good. About 5 p.m she heard of his accident and visited him in hospital the same evening. She was not allowed to speak to him hut when she visited him again on a later date he told her he was near the points when the express came, and he tried to get out of the way. He was struck by the buffers, however.

On August 1st he had his right leg amputated, and last Friday she was called to the hospital and remained with her husband up to the time of his death.

The ganger in charge of the workmen, Fred Hulley, of 41 Garden Street. Mexborough, told the coroner that the men were working on a stretch of line at Wath-on-Dearne North. Boreham was his sub-ganger and had been employed by the L.M.S. railway company for about 26 years. He was very competent at his job and was extremely nimble for a man of his age. On Tuesday July ‘4th they were changing chairs (blocks of wood which fit between the line and steel clamps) on the crossings near Wath Main Colliery.

Job Finished

“The job was finished, and I gave Boreham and a platelayer, named Page, instructions to clear all tools from the running line and to clean them.” said witness. “I also told Boreham we should want water to wash our hands and then went on with my own lob of gauging the rails. Boreham was an efficient man and though I expected he would do the work first, he was at liberty to please himself. Apparently he went to fetch the water first, though the tools were cleared from the line.

About 3-50 p.m. I heard a whistling, and looking up saw the Edinburgh to London express approaching, and it travels at between 60 and 70 m.p.h. at that point. I then saw Boreham in the middle of the up fast passenger line, carrying a bucket of water. I shouted and ran towards him, and he turned round and appeared to see the train and scrambled forward. He was too late,” said Hulley “and the side of the engine struck turn. Another inch or so would have seen him clear,” he concluded.

Hulley explained to the coroner that he was 90 yards away from Borenam at the time of the mishap and ran to pick him up. Boreham was bleeding badly from a wound on the right thigh, and after first aid had been rendered he was removed to hospital. Witness said that there was nothing in the way to obstruct Boreham’s view of the train and  when he visited him in hospital said he did not hear witness shout.

Septicaemia Intervenes

Dr. W. C. McGuire, house surgeon at the Montagu Hospital, said he saw Boreham when admitted and he was then suffering from severe lacerations behind the right knee, and a compound fracture of the femur above the knee. The wound was cleaned and an attempt made to save the leg, but by August 1st the wound had become septic and amputation was advised, and carried out the same day. After the operation Boreham’s condition was fairly good and he made fairly good progress until he developed abscesses and generalised septicaema. He died on Saturday August 12th, the cause of death being septicaemia due to infection following his injuries.

In reply to Mr. Carr the doctor said infection took place at the time of the accident, and the man had localised infection from the first, though he did everything he could to prevent it from spreading.

The Coroner said he expected that unless men who worked on the railway lines were on the alert they were liable to meet with such an accident. It seemed to be one of those accidents which would occur if a man’s attention was distracted, and if he was slower than he usually was.

A verdict of “Accidental Death was returned.