Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Random Cutting - Queen Mary driven aground (1949)

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Severe weather is nothing new so don't believe everything Channel 5 tells you. This cutting dates from January 1949 when RMS Queen Mary ran aground on leaving Cherbourg for New York in a storm.
As for the bus - I found this online at a site run by the Lancing & Sompting Pastfinders Local History Group -
Some of you may remember the terrible storm of 1st January 1949 when a “miniature whirlwind“ left a trail of destruction from Worthing to Shoreham and caused a double-decker bus to be blown off the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge at approximately 6.30 p.m.  The No. 9 Southdown Bus had left Worthing at 5.55 p.m. on it’s way to Brighton and as the vehicle approached the bridge the storm intensified with hailstones battering the bus and the wind reaching speeds of 80–90 mph.  Just as the driver drove on to the narrow bridge, a gust of wind wrenched the steering wheel out of his hand and swept the bus off the bridge into the river Adur, 25ft below.  The conductor managed to jump clear and run to the Red Lion to telephone emergency services.  Ladders were laid down from the bridge to the bus, which was lying on its side half-submerged in mud, amazingly with lights still on and engine running.  Luckily the tide was out. Nine passengers managed to climb up to the bridge, while the remaining eleven passengers had to be released by fireman. Three Worthing passengers and two Lancing residents were retained in hospital.  Miraculously there were no deaths and only one serious injury of a lady, Miss Anna Vuls, who was a Latvian chambermaid and who had worked for the Spaniard Hotel in Worthing.  More than 3 years later, she sued the Southdown Bus Company and was awarded special damages of £680 even though the bus company had claimed it was an “Act of God”.  She appealed, and was later awarded £2680.

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