1915 Gretna Rail Disaster
On the 22nd May 1915 Three trains; a special troop train, a local train and the night express coming north from Euston Station, London crashed at Quintinshill Junction near Gretna on the Scottish border causing one of Britain’s worst rail disasters.
The troop train was one of two carrying the Leith based 7th Battalion Royal Scots, Territorial Force bound for Liverpool on their way to Gallipoli as part of 156th Brigade of the 52nd (Lowland) Division.
The signalmen were blamed for the disaster, they had been anxious to complete some paperwork and had simply forgotten about the local train which was sitting outside their signal box and not on a sideline. They gave the all clear for the troop train which ran straight into the local train. A few minutes later the express train traveling north ran into the wreckage setting it alight.
Three officers, twenty-nine non-commissioned officers and one hundred and eighty two soldiers were killed in the disaster.
A crowd of thousands turned out for the mass funeral procession through Leith to nearby Roesbank cemetery.
The two signalmen were held responsible and were both imprisoned.