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1889: Shocking accident at Haywards Heath Railway Station

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

Brighton Herald - Saturday 16 November 1889


An accident occurred at Hayward's Heath Railway Station on Monday night, resulting in the death of William Henry Hagett, a railway under-guard, of 25, Crescent road, Brighton. Deceased left Brighton Station with a goods train at midnight on Monday, the train stopped at Hayward’s Heath to hitch on some tracks. The head guard was on the platform and deceased took his stand on the side of a truck, his foot being on a grease box.

The train was then going at about five miles an hour, and few moments after deceased had passed the guard a crunching noise was heard. The guard (Alfred Parmenter) called out to a porter, asking what the noise was, and the porter replied that he believed Hagett was “snatched up.” They searched with a lamp, and found the unfortunate man lying on the line with his legs fearfully mutilated. He had fallen, he told them, from the grease box, and the wheels had passed over his legs.

A Railway Station, (thought to be Haywards Heath) - water colour by Clement Lambert (1855–1925) on Artnet

A carriage was at once fetched, and, taking the engine off the goods train, his comrades sent the injured man to Brighton. His injuries were, however, beyond human aid, for it was found at the Hospital that the wheels had passed over his left thigh so near to the body as to render amputation impossible. On Tuesday afternoon the unfortunate man died. From inquiries made by the Jury, at an inquest held on Wednesday, it seemed that it was contrary to regulations for man to ride on the side of the truck in the way described. The Jury decided that death was due to misadventure.

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