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Driver of wrecked train is saved twice from taking his life

Year 1851

Read by Rebecca Thomson – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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On Thursday, November 27th, 1851, at the late disastrous and fatal accident on the Brighton and Portsmouth Railway, the conduct of Charles Burgess (the guard of the passenger train) in the above catastrophe, is beyond all praise. Having escaped injury by a miracle, and received shock after shock by the overturning of his van as it rolled down the steep embankment, he released himself from the wreck, and showed his gallant nature by first rushing to the assistance of those he knew must be wounded. He found Pemberton, the driver, sitting on a bank, with a large clasp knife in his hands, with which he had inflicted a frightful gash in his throat. Burgess immediately caught hold of his arm and gave him in charge of Hargreaves, a stoker, while he (Burgess) went to look after the train. Pemberton, however, broke away, and threw himself into the river Aran. Burgess, notwithstanding the extreme coldness of the night, boldly plunged into the river, at the risk of his life, and dragged out the body of the bleeding engineer, thus saving him from death a second time.

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