Leeds Mercury (24/Apr/1905) - Huddersfield Smash

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.




The disastrous railway collision at Huddersfield last Friday has to the multitude passed as a vision in the night. To the outer world on Saturday there was nothing in the streets to show that anything had been amiss the previous day. The fast up-line at the point where the two trains met had been repaired during the night, and traffic appeared to pass in the customary way.

Public interest will be held in suspense until the finish of the inquiries into the cause of the accident and the allocation of blame, if such there be to allocate.

There is nothing to add to the full detail which we gave of the accident and the leading attendant circumstances in Saturday's "Mercury," except as to the young man Farrand, who should hare been married on Saturday, instead of which an inquest was opened on his body. He had in his clothing a coupon, duly signed, for £1,000 insurance, available up to April 22nd; a new watch, which he had obtained from a Bradford firm's watch club, and an old watch. The latter was broken, but the new one was undamaged.

His sweetheart, Miss Florence Parkinson, of Longwood, and formerly of Birstall, had not, as had been stated, gone to the station to meet him, but as he did not reach her parents' house she became filled with anxiety, and set out with her mother to make inquiries. She was staggered to find her sweetheart's name heading the list of the killed in the catastrophe. Everything had been got ready for the wedding, even to the display of presents.

At the inquest, it was stated that the remaining victim — Mrs. Katharine Augusta Yeats-Milne — was the wife of an army surgeon, Mr. George Yeats-Milne, whom she married at the age of 18, and who then resided at Aberdeen. It was said that for many years she bad been living apart from her husband. She leaves two daughters and two sons, one of the former being married.

A couple of pathetic incidents happened at the opening of the inquest by the Coroner, Mr. E. H. Hill on Saturday. Mrs. Milne's son broke down when about to give evidence of identification, and later her son-on-law asked whether, as the lady was said to have talked much before expiring under the wrecked carriages, she had given any message to those near for her children.

Our Huddersfield corespondent learned last night, on inquiry at the Huddersfield Infirmary, that all the injured in that institution were doing as well as could be expected.

The body of the young man Farrand was removed last night, to Birstall. That of Mrs. Milne remains at the police mortuary.


Mr. E. H. Hill, Coroner for the Honour of Pontefract, opened the inquest, on Saturday afternoon, at the Huddersfield Borough Court, on the victims of the railway disaster — Mrs. Yeats-Milne (49), of 54, Belgrave Street, Leeds, and Ralph Greenwood Farrand (29), slater, Blackburn Road, Birstall.

These present included Mr. H. Linaker, superintendent of the Manchester district of the London and North-Western Railway; Mr. W. H Horne, assistant-superintendent of the Manchester district, who appeared on behalf of the railway company; Mr. Taylor Jones, assistant-solicitor to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company; Mr. A. Willey, who appeared for the relatives of Mrs. Milne; and Mr. Sykes, station-master at the Huddersfield joint station.

The Coroner stated that he proposed to take only evidence of identity, and to adjourn the inquiry as to the cause of the accident till a later date, suggesting Thursday, the 4th of May.

To this the jury assented.

Mr. Jones, on behalf of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's directors and officials, expressed their deep regret at the sad accident which had occurred, and their sympathy with the bereaved relatives. They would be pleased to give the Court every possible assistance.

Mr. Linaker spoke similarly on behalf of the London and North-Western Company.

George Henry Farrand, of Birstall, identified his brother's body who was, he said, 29 years of age last October. He was a slater in the employ of the London and North-Western Company, and lived principally at Manchester. On Friday he was travelling to Huddersfield to make final arrangements for his marriage, which was to have been solemnised on Saturday.

The witness called to identify the body of Mrs. Milne (George Cecil Yeats-Milne) was at first too distressed to answer the Coroner's questions. He at length stated that he was the eldest son of Mrs. Milne, who was 49 years of age, and lived apart from her husband, an Army surgeon. He knew that his mother intended to travel to Huddersfield on Friday.

The police matron, Mrs. Lawson, described the injuries. There were cuts on the head of the man, and his ears were bleeding. Mrs. Milne's legs were both broken below the knees.

The inquiry proper is to commence on Thursday, the 4th of May, at 10.30 a.m. Mr. B. Armitage expressed the jury's sympathy with the relatives.

Before the Coroner left his seat a young man, Mrs. Milne's son-in-law, went forward and, addressing him, said it had been reported that Mrs. Milne talked incessantly before her death, and he wished to know whether she hod left any message for her children.

The Coroner said the railway officials, if they knew anything, would give the information.

Mr. Linaker said that inquiry should be made.

On the advice of the Coroner, the young man left in quest of a possible message from his relative.


We are officially informed that the Board of Trade have appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Druitt, R.E., Inspecting Officer of Railways, to hold an inquiry into the circumstances attending the collision that occurred on Friday on the Lancashire and Yorkshire and London and North-Western Joint Railway at Huddersfield.