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Fatal Accident at Armidale Railway Station

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Thursday 5 July 1888, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

(Express of Tuesday.)

A fatal and most melancholy accident occurred on Saturday evening last at about 7 o’clock at the Armidale Railway Station, by which Mr. Peter B. Gleeson, a clerk in the parcels office at the station, came to an untimely end. It appears that he was to take the staff from the driver of the goods train from Tenterfield, which should arrive about 5 o’clock, but on Saturday was about two hours late. He was not standing, as is usually done by those whose duty it is to take the staff, near the edge of the platform waiting for the train to arrive, but was some yards away, and as the train came in at a good speed, he made a rush to get the staff. In doing so, however, he must have either made a false step or overstepped the edge of the platform, which threw him in front of the engine, and in falling the locomotive struck him and knocked him round, and he fell between the four-feet-i.e., between the rails-and the engine and about twelve trucks passed of him, but fortunately none of the wheels. Those who witnessed the accident expected to find the unfortunate young man cut to pieces, and they seemed to have lost their presence of mind. Mr. Gillett, an engine driver, who happened to be at the station on business, and who appeared the most cool in the distressing circumstances, on being told what had happened, immediately jumped off the platform, and went to the back of the guard’s van, where he found the poor young fellow. The van was uncoupled, and pushed back, and Mr. Gillett then lifted Mr. Gleeson on to the platform, who, it was most remarkable, had not lost consciousness, but only appeared dazed, and walked between two men to the parcels office. Mr. Gleeson was covered with blood from his wounds, and it was impossible to accurately ascertain the extent of his injuries, but it was quite evident that they were very serious, and his clothing was torn almost to shreds. He was at once conveyed to the Hospital on a cane lounge by Messrs. Gillett, McNutt, Mullins, and Constable Elliott. In the meanwhile Dr. Wigan, who had been sent for, lost no time in attending to the sufferer, who, after making a minute examination, found that the injuries sustained by the young man were of a fatal nature, as the right shoulder was completely crushed ; there was a deep gash behind the ear about four inches long, just escaping the jugular vein ; the right side of the head was crushed in, and the indention was filled with ashes and dust and there was a long, deep cut on the left side of the back, under the shoulder, and it is surmised that it penetrated to the lungs. He lost a tremendous amount of blood, and it is wonderful how he escaped being instantaneously killed. The poor young fellow breathed his last on Sunday morning at about eleven a.m., in the presence of his brother, Mr. John Gleeson, who had not long before arrived from Hillgrove mines, and was informed of his brother’s misfortune by Messrs. T. Mitchell and J. O’Shea, who rode out to Hillgrove on Saturday night, and Mr. J. Gleeson immediately started for Armidale. An inquest was held on Monday morning, and, after hearing the evidence, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death. As it was the intention of the young man’s father to inter his son in Morpeth, a large procession of friends followed the remains to the railway station, where the coffin was placed in the funeral van to be conveyed by the mail train to that place, accompanied by grief-stricken relations. The sad event cast quite a gloom over the city, as the deceased was widely and popularly known as generous and obliging, and between 150 and 200 persons, both ladies and gentlemen, friends of the deceased, viewed the remains at the hospital on Sunday. This same young gentleman met with an accident some time ago, by a nasty fall from a horse, and had aftewards complained of sudden giddiness, and it is conjectured that he experienced one of these seizures at the moment he reached for the staff, and thus fell under the approaching train.

Written by macalba

September 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm

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