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News > Heritage > Yorkshire Railway Accident - a personal account

Yorkshire Railway Accident - a personal account

Twins Alasdair and Adrian Kinloch remembered (1902-5)
4 Feb 2021
Memorial cover of Tatler to the boys "in the midst of life" Jan 1905
Memorial cover of Tatler to the boys "in the midst of life" Jan 1905

We were recently approached by the Editor of Steam World magazine about a memorial plaque we have in College Chapel. It is for two brothers who sadly lost their lives at the age of 15 when returning to Bradfield by overnight train in what is known as the Cudworth/Storr Mills Accident on 19 January 1905.

The twin boys - Alasdair Ian and Adrian Moray Campbell Kinloch - were born in August 1889 and both arrived at Bradfield in September 1902 according to the Bradfield Register. They were the sons of the Hon Robert Kinloch of Perth, Scotland.

Reports about the accident suggest that the driver of the train was the primary cause as he ignored a signal to slow down and that inadequate fog protection was a secondary factor. This led to a rear collision, a sidelong collision and derailment of the Great Northern Railways Scotch Express on the Midland Railway. As a result of the 3 trains colliding at Cudworth, South Yorkshire that night, there were 7 fatalities and 18 injuries. The Railway Archive records: 'In this case the 2.25 a.m. up mail train (Leeds to Sheffield) was travelling between Cudworth and Darfield stations, when the 3.5 a.m. up express train (Leeds to St. Pancras) running at high speed overtook it. The result was a tail-end collision with disastrous effects.

Four passengers, a railway guard and a fireman, all of whom were in the express, were killed on the spot. Thirteen passengers, of whom one has since died from the effects of injuries received, and five railway employees suffered more or less severely from shock or injury." One of the other casualties was the Scottish artist and painter Robert Brough who died after the crash.

After the accident the boys' parents and friends erected a memorial plaque in the College Chapel to their memory and there is also a brass plaque dedicated to them in Perth Cathedral in Scotland. Both memorials are pictured in the gallery below.

Recalling a previous discussion with a gentleman who contacted the Bradfield Society office by the name of Christopher Dingwall with connections to Perth Cathedral, we would also like to share the text below from him of their more personal family story: ALASDAIR & ADRIAN KINLOCH : A TALE OF TWO BROTHERS

"The following story arises from a question asked by one of the visitors to the cathedral when I was on ‘sentry’ duty during the summer opening. The question had to do with the brass plaque just to the right of the door at the west end of the cathedral.  This is dedicated to twin brothers Alasdair and Adrian Kinloch, who, as the inscription on the plaque records, died together in a railway accident in January 1905, aged just fifteen years.  What, the visitor asked, did I know of the story behind this, and what was the connection of these two young boys with the cathedral?

The two boys, as it turns out, were the sons of local banker and civic dignitary Robert Kinloch. Born and brought up in Perth they had been pupils at Perth Academy until they were sent to Bradfield College in Berkshire to finish their education. It was while returning to Bradfield in January 1905, at the end of their Christmas holidays, that they were among the eight fatalities resulting from the collision of two trains at Cudworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire, when the southbound express ran into the back of a slow freight train, and both caught fire.

The reason for the commemorative plaque being in the cathedral is that both boys had been acolytes or servers in the cathedral for a number of years, having borne the train of the Archbishop of Canterbury Frederick Temple on the occasion of his visit to St. Ninian’s for the dedication of the newly built Chapter House in 1901. ‘Erected by a few friends’, as an inscription records, the plaque is decorated with a Celtic cross and bears the emblem of St. Andrews College Bradfield, as well as the following poignant verses:

Together caught the earliest light, Together breathed their last goodnight

Together fell on slumber deep, Together passed from sleep to sleep

Together woke to day

Together touched the skirts of life, Together missed its central strife

Together wandered innocent, Together climbed the short ascent

Together won the way            

The brothers’ funeral took place in St. Ninian’s Cathedral on 24th January 1905, after which they were laid to rest in the Parochial Cemetery at Wellshill, where they lie together to this day, though a an initial search for a headstone or other memorial has so far proved unsuccessful. The town’s Register of Burials record that their funeral involved two hearses and four carriages.  A report of the proceedings in the Perthshire Advertiser concludes with the following words :

'During recent weeks they had been seen grown into manly and promising boyhood, worshipping with their father in the church which they all loved so well.  And now, life’s short voyage over, they come again side by side to be committed by the rites of the Church to the Maker who gave and who has taken away.  The memory they leave behind them is a memory of love and obedience and kindness – untarnished and unsullied by the world – drawing together a whole community by the one touch of nature – to their parents and friends a sweet legacy of hope until ‘With the morn those angel faces smile, which we have loved long since and lost awhile’.

The sad event was also recorded in the diary of the Very Rev. D.T.S. Farquhar at the time :

"An appalling catastrophe has happened to Mr. Kinloch, our Chapter Clerk. His twin boys, while returning to school in England, have been killed in a railway accident … The funeral of the Kinloch twins will long be remembered in Perth. In the Cathedral there was a dense throng – I daresay 900 – Lord Mansfield, Presbyterian Ministers, and all sorts and conditions of men. The Primus, Provost and Dean all took part in the service, and the choir sang the Sentences and Psalms very impressively. I was glad that we had a church which could be equal to the occasion, and not merely a little chapel as we have in so many places. Outside there were thousands of people lining the street all the way to the Wellshill Cemetery."




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