Newspaper accounts of an accident involving one of Joseph Gray’s traction engines in July 1899 in which the driver, William Cartmell was killed.
Cheshire Observer – Saturday 15 July 1899
TERRIBLE TRACTION ENGINE ACCIDENT.
SAUGHALL MAN KILLED
It is our painful duty to chronicle a sad accident, attended with loss of life. Between three and four o’clock on Wednesday Afternoon, a traction engine belonging to Mr. Gray, Neston, drawing three furniture vans owned by Messrs. W. & F. Brown, of Chester, was crossing a mountainous road known aa the Blwich, and was starting the descent to Ruthin, when the engine- driver, William Cartmel, Saughall, in changing his gear, it is stated, lost control of the engine, which dashed at terrific speed down a dingle known as Wernog Dingle, taking with it the three vans. The accident was seen by two persons, who at once sent the news to Ruthin. Dr. W. D. Jones and Sergeant Woollam were on the spot without delay, and were soon followed by Dr. Byford. It was found that Cartmell was killed, and that another was injured. The three furniture vans appear to have been stopped by a huge tree and to have collapsed, but the engine had continued its disastrous course for forty or fifty yards, breaking a huge tree in its career when the boiler burst. The flywheel was found thirty yards from the engine. The body and the injured man were removed to a neighbouring inn.
Later particulars to hand go to shew that the accident was of an even more serious nature than at first imagined. The three furniture vans were being used for the removal of furniture belonging to Mr. Sanday, of Liver- pool, to Bathafain Hall, of which he has lately become the tenant. Before getting to the top of the portion of the road known as the Blwich there is a sharp incline, and the engine was placed on slow gear in order to get up the hill. On the top of the hill it was stopped in order to put on the fast gear, which is usually used when the engine is travelling upon the level or down hill Upon being restarted, the engine commenced to go at a fast rate, whereupon the driver drew the lever for full speed back, at the same time shouting to his mate to ‘ stick to her.’ The steersman endeavoured to steer to the right side to avoid the embankment, but a jerk on a stone knocked the wheel out of his hand, and the engine ran into the hedge, and plunged headlong down the precipitous embankment, turning completely over two or three times in its descent. The steersman, being on the right side of the engine, was thrown out of danger, but the driver, being on the left, was hurled down the embankment, the engine and vans following him. A piece of one of the spokes of the fly-wheel was afterwards found lying across the dead body of the driver, the presumption being that the blow thus inflicted was the cause of his death. The front van was caught by two oak trees broadside on, and the second and third vans came crashing into it, and completely smashed it, the furniture being scattered in all directions. The amount of the damage has not yet been estimated, but it is considerable. Newton, the steersman, is a resident of Neston. The other injured man, Simpson by name, is suffering from intense shock, but the medical men in attendance do not consider that his injuries will prove fatal. The inquest was formally opened yesterday (Friday), when evidence of identification was taken.
THE DEAD MAN.
The driver, William Cartmell, was a married man, and the father of three children. He resided, as already stated, at Saughall, where the deepest sympathy is felt for his widow.
SYMPATHY AT NESTON.
Our Neston correspondent writes: The terrible traction engine fatality at Ruthin has a caused a painful sensation at Neston, where Cartmell and Newton were well known. The former was a native of Neston, and had been in the employment of the Gray family from his boyhood. His father, now deceased, was for many years engine driver with the late Mr. Wolton Gray, and the son has been a trusted employee of Mr. Joseph Gray since the latter succeeded to a portion of the business formerly carried on by his father. Cartmell, who was an elder brother of the captain of the Neston Quoit Club, was a most experienced and trustworthy driver, and was very temperate in his habits. He was only 32 years of age. It is expected that the funeral will take place at Saughall, where an infant son of the deceased, who was accidentally drowned, lies buried. The Gray family, who have for two generations been well-known ‘ throughout the county as traction engine proprietors and contractors, have never previously experienced an accident of this kind, and are naturally much distressed at the sad occurrence. The injured man was stated to be very ill last night.
Cheshire Observer – Saturday 22 July 1899
THE FATAL TRACTION ENGINE ACCIDENT.
INQUEST ON THE DRIVER.
HOW THE MISHAP OCCURRED.
On Friday the Coroner for West Denbighshire, Dr. J. B. Hughes, opened an inquiry at the Griffin Inn, Llanbedr, concerning the death of William Cartmell. of Great Saughall, who was killed in the terrible traction engine accident reported last week. The body was identified by a brother-in-law of deceased, a William Bithell, of the Northgate, Chester, who said Cartmell had been accustomed to traction engines ever since his boyhood, and he had told witness that he had driven a traction engine over the road some years ago.
Dr. W. D. Jones gave evidence as to being called to see deceased at the scene of the accident. He was quite dead, and in his belief the cause of death was the accident. There were two cuts on the left side of the face, with considerable swelling and discolouration, and there was a great deal of blood oozing from both ears, the nose, and the mouth. He should consider that death must have been instantaneous.
Mr. Gray, the owner of the traction engine, was present at the inquiry, and expressed his regret that the accident should have happened. His desire was that his deep sympathy should be conveyed to the widow and the family of the unfortunate driver.
The Coroner said he was sure the jury would all concur in such an expression of sympathy. The inquiry was then adjourned until Thursday , the Coroner stating that they were not prepared to go further into the case that day, as it was very important and rather intricate. The accident required careful and patient inquiry, so that they might come to a decision as to whether there was any one to blame besides the parties concerned, or whether there was anyone to blame at all.
At the adjourned inquiry in the Ruthin County Hall, on Thursday, Mr. J. H. Reynolds, solicitor, Chester, appeared to watch the proceedings on behalf of the widow of the deceased man. Mr. P. H. Hughes, solicitor, Birkenhead, represented Mr. Gray, the owner of the traction engine. At the outset Mr. Reynolds intimated that the shock of this deplorable occurrence had been so severe that Mrs. Cartmell was scarcely in a fit state to be present, but she wished him to take the opportunity of expressing thanks to all who had so kindly offered her sympathy in her sad bereavement.
The first witness was Thomas Rowlands, a farmer, who saw the traction engine and vans mount the Bwlch hill. The men in charge of the engine seemed quite capable of doing this work. On descending the other side of the hill, the engine commenced to travel at a greater speed, ” wobbling ” from side to side. Immediately the engine and vans were precipitated into the dingle, witness ran to the spot, and found the body of the dead man Cartmell, and that of the steersman, who was also injured. There was a third man who was lying down on the top of the last van.
Police-Sergeant Woollam deposed to receiving information of the accident about four o’clock in the afternoon. He found tbe steersman, Joseph Newton, sitting at the side of the road, and on the other side was the third man, Simpson, lying on a mattress, and apparently very much injured. About 56ft. from the road he found the dead body of Cartmell, covered with a small piece of sacking, which had been placed upon him. Lying across his breast was one of the spokes of the fly-wheel, weighing about ten pounds. He had a large wound on the head, and had apparently been struck by the piece of iron. About 45ft. lower down was the engine upside down. It had evidently turned a somersault. The gradient of the road at that point was not very steep. There were marks on the road shewing that the engine and vans had commenced to rock from one side to the other about 70 yards from the scene of the accident. The locomotive had apparently turned suddenly into the Dingle
By the instructions of the Coroner, witness went to Mold and traced the men on their journey. He found they obtained coal about half-past eleven in Mold, and called at one public-house. Roadman and others whom they passed on the road all agreed that the engine was driven in a proper manner. Joseph Newton, the steersman of the engine, said they had only three pints of beer on the road altogether. Going up the bill in question they changed the gear for the first time from fast to slow. After crossing the brow of the hill the driver changed the gear back again. The third man Simpson was on the top of the last van. Witness could give no explanation why he was there. His duty was to give assistance to horses passing the engine, and he was absolutely under the command of the driver. After changing the gear they started at a nice pace, and went some little distance, when it became evident that the engine had been thrown out of gear. The driver shut off the steam, and called out to witness to keep to the road, which he did. Witness, after some pressure, said he did not think the deceased put in an iron pin which locked the gear. Had witness known this at the time, he would have turned the engine off the road at once. The deceased directed him to keep on the soft part, making sure that he would be able to pull up. Soon afterwards they were precipitated down the embankment, and witness was for a time stunned. The deceased was perfectly sober.
By a Juryman : Witness dared not lose his wheel to put the brake on.
By Mr. Reynolds : It the brake had been on the last van it would have been of great assistance in preventing the accident.
Mr. Joseph Gray, haulage contractor, Neston, stated that he purchased the engine from Mr. Lindsay, farmer, Sandycroft, and it was in good order when he examined it on the 26th ult. Witness provided the engine, driver, and steersman, and Messrs. Brown, of Chester, had to provide the third man, who was under the command of the driver.
By a Juryman: There were only about eleven tons behind the engine, which was capable of drawing 30 tons up a hill of that kind without any strain.
Major Wynne Edwards, who had been called in by the coroner as an expert, described the mechanism of the engine, and said he found everything in perfect order, except the iron pin, which was missing. It was a pin about four inches in length, and attached to the lever by a short chain. Witness was of opinion that the driver lost his head, otherwise he would have run his engine into the bank. The cause of the accident was the absence of the pin, which caused the engine to throw itself out of gear.
By Mr. Reynolds: If the brake had been put on the last van it would have prevented the accident.
The Coroner explained that the third man, Simpson, had not sufficiently recovered from his injuries to be present.
John Cartmell, a brother of the deceased, expressed the opinion that if the brake had been used on the last van it would have averted the accident. Witness had driven traction engines for years, and always had three reliable men with him.
Mr. Thomas Lindsay, farmer, Sandycroft, and Mr. F. Barratt, representing Messrs. J. Fowler and Co., Leeds, the makers of the engine, also gave evidence to the effect that the engine was in good order and suitable for the purpose to which it had been put.
The jury, after some consideration, found ” That the said Wm. Cartmell was killed instantly by the traction engine running away into the Gwernog Dingle on the 12th July, 1899, owing to the control of the gearing having been lost.”
FUNERAL OF THE ENGINE DRIVER.
The interment of the remains of the late W Cartmell took place at Saughall on Sunday afternoon. There was an enormously large gathering of mourners, about 100 attending from Neston. The whole of the blinds of the village of Saughall were drawn, and, independently of the large gathering of mourners, there were crowds of people along the route. The coffin was carried on the shoulders of employees of the owner of the engine and other engine drivers. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. H. Davenport, who, in the course of a short address, spoke of his sympathy, and of the deep sympathy of everyone in the neighbourhood with the deceased’s relations. The coffin was afterwards borne to its last resting-place in the churchyard. Among those present were:- Immediate relatives: Mrs W. Cartmell (widow of deceased), Mrs. J. Cartmel (mother). Messrs. John, Albert, Ernest, and Walter Cartmell (brothers), Mr. and Mrs. Kendrick (brother-in-law and sister), Mr. and Mrs. Dunham (brother-in-law and sister), Mr. and Mrs. Bithell, R. Bithell (brother-in-law), Mr and Mrs – Morris, Liverpool (uncle and aunt) Master and Miss Minns (nephew and niece). R. Jones (cousin), T. Thornton and J Thornton (uncles), Mr. Rowlands (Hawarden), and Mr. H. Robins (uncle).
After the relatives came the general mourners:— Saughall and District : Messrs. H. Hallows, J. Bentham, E Thornton, G. Smith, W. Mercer, G. Cooper, R Robinson, J. Hallows, T. Bithell, S. Pritchard R. Jones, T. Crump, G. Speed, J. Soden W. Soden, R. Bethell, G. Jones, J Salvidge, S. Hughes, W. Hallows, W. Marshall, W. Bennion, C. Cooper, A. Warrington, C. Morris, John Thornton, John Davenport, John Jones, William Jones, R. Lewis, G. Powell, A Puller, W. Smith, E. Vickers, T. Jones, H. Roberts, F. Dorrington. Joseph Brown, C. Bennion, T. Harving, R. Ferguson, B. Warrington, J. Frodsham, B. Lever, W. Taylor, C. Driver, J. Hallows, G. Smith, A. Thornton, B,. Griffiths, A. Gayton, T. Ankars, W. Shepherd,. H. Carter, R. Foulkes, W. Williams, — Fryer.
The mourners from Neston were as follows:— Joseph Gray, William Gray, J. Edwards, W. Chrimes, W. Fleming, James Jones, H. Jones, John Jones, J. Morton, J. Marks, E. Molyneux, John Birch, W. BushelL W. Bartley. Joseph Lawley, R. Lewis, — Campbell, S. Newton, H. Grundy, S. Davies, C. West, R. Wragg, F. Birch, T. Coventry, Jun, E. Prosser, W. J. Jackson. E. Grant, T. Coyle, J. McLevy, H. Pritchard, 8. Davies, J. Williams, J. Durham. T. Tozer, W. Bradshaw.
The engine drivers represented were as follows : — For Mr. Jos. Gray, Jas Ross, J. Mason, J. Cottrell, Davies ; for Wm. Gray, R. Sleighford ; for Mr. W. Carter, S. Pritchard; for Mr. Howard, S. Howard. A. Fuller. There were also present the steersman of the engine, J. Newton, who was on at the time of the accident. Wreaths were contributed by ” his beloved wife and children,” ” his sorrowing mother,” his employer Jos. Gray, T. and H. Kendrick, R. and L. Durham, G. and J. M. Venables, J. Bithell, J. Smith and W. Hough, T. and E. Bithell, Pattie Evans, Mr. and Mrs. Darlington and family, Mr. Benson, R. Jones, Mr. Morris (Liverpool), Mr. and Mrs. Mercer, Mr. Crump, Mr. and Mrs. Fryer, Mr. and Mrs. Mason, Miss Healey, Mr. and Mrs. Marshall, Mr. and Mrs. C. Cooper, Mr. and Mrs. Hughes, Mr. and Mrs. Brown, Miss Ada Jones.
REMOVAL OF THE ENGINE
On Sunday thousands of people visited the scene of the accident, and some of the visitors carried off the whistle, taps, and other detachable parts of the engine as mementoes. This means a loss to Mr. Gray of some £15 or £20, and a reward is being offered for information leading to the discovery of the persons concerned. The locomotive was removed from its position on Monday. It had gone down to a depth of about 150 feet below the road, and to bring it back to the highroad was a feat very difficult to accomplish. All these difficulties were, however, overcome under the able management of the owner, who, together with his brother, Mr. W. Gray, Messrs. J. Ross, J. Mason, J. Marks, R. Slyghford, T. Smith, G. Powell, and J. Clarke carried it out most successfully in a short time. Leaving Neston with another traction engine at 3 o’clock on Monday morning, they journeyed to the spot where the accident occurred, about 24 miles, and at once sat about their task, and by ten o’clock that night the engine was brought from its awkward position, turned over, and hauled up into the road. After a short rest, and breakfasting at 2 am., they set to work and put all the furniture vans right, and afterwards set off for Neston, where they arrived, with the unfortunate engine in tow, about 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
North Wales Times – Saturday 22 July 1899
THE TRACTION ENGINE ACCIDENT.
THE ADJOURNED INQUEST.
On Thursday afternoon, the adjourned inquest on the body of William Cartmell, who was killed when driving a traction engine down the ‘Bwlch’ on the 12th inst., was held at the County Hall, before Dr. J. R. Hughes, Coroner for West Denbighshire, and a jury. The jury consisted of the following :—Messrs. John Worthington (foreman), G. F. Byford, John Jones (The Schools), John Jones (Rhiwisk), William Taylor, Robert Jones, William Roberts, George Jackson, Ezekiel Cowen, John Evans, John Williams, D. F. Parry, John Owen, Llewelyn Jones, and Joseph Davies.
The Coroner (addressing the jury) said he thanked them for attending the adjourned in. quest that day. That matter had been before the public for eight or nine days, and a good many stories had been going about, and, probably, they had reached them. He had done his best to get the best evidence to be considered by them. That Court was to inquire into the death of one who was killed, but they had to consider further how it came about.
Mr.O’Neale,a visitor at Llanbedr said he appeared as an independent witness, not at the expense of the county, but as one who knew a great deal more about the accident than one or two of the witnesses-
The Coroner: Do you appear on behalf of any interest?
Mr. O’Neale: Yes, on behalf of the good people in the neighbourhood.
The Coroner: I don’t think you have a locus standi, unless you have some particular persons or authorities, rural or urban. Your request is rather too general, but you will be at liberty to ask any questions to the witnesses.
Mr. H. Reynolds, Chester, said be appeared to watch the proceedings on behalf of Mrs. Cartmell, the deceased’s widow, who was not in a fit state to attend that day, and also wished him to express her thanks to the many kind friends who had sympathised with her in her sad bereavement.
Mr. P. H. Hughes, Birkenhead, said he appeared on behalf of Mr. Gray, Neston, and he begged to endorse the remarks his friend had made.
The first witness called was Thomas Rowlands, Bwlch Ucha, Llanrhydd, who said that he was working in a field close by the road on Wednesday, the 12th inst. He was coming out of the field at the time the engine and the vans were coming up the road. He stopped in the same place until the engine and vans had passed him, and after they passed him the engine stopped for a little while before they reached the top of the hill. They appeared to witness as if they could not reach the top. One of the men came from off the engine and ran back to put the brake on the last van. They scotched the hind wheel of the engine. When they started the second time. they looked as if they were stuckfast. They backed the engine, or else the vans pulled it to the top of the iron scotch that was on the hind wheel. They were then about 40 or 50 yards from the top of the hill. He could not say that the steersman was drunk, because he was able to do his work.
The Coronet: Did you consider any of the men drunk?
Witness: No, the man who put the brake on ran back and took the brake away, and jumped to his place while the engine was in motion-a drunken man could not do that. He saw the engine-driver moving the lever. The driver had his hand on the lever on the left hand side, and the other hand on the right. He was not sure whether he heard the engine puffing. As far as he could remember the fly-wheel of the engine turned backwards and for a while at the time the engine was starting, and the fly-wheel was going rather fast, and the engine was travelling faster and faster. Witness spoke to the engine-driver, but he only nodded back.
The Coroner: Was the man sober from what you could see of him ?
Witness I have nothing to prove that he was drunk.
Witness, continuing, said he saw the engine starting the second time, and he stood there to watch it going along the road. The engine and vans were moving from one side of the road to the other. When the engine went down the embankment he was not in sight, but could see the funnel. He stood still when he saw them going over the dingle, and told those who were standing behind him that the engine had gone over the embankment. He went to the scene as fast as he could, and found that the steersman was in the bottom of the dingle. He was about six or seven yards lower down than the body of the deceased man. Witness was about 300 yards from the scene of the accident before he started to run. Deceased was working the lever with his left hand, and had his right hand on the other side. There was a brake on the last van, but he could not say whether it was in working order or not.
By a juryman Witness said he was opposite the middle of the front van, but he could see the men on the engine.
Mr. Reynolds: He says he saw a man get off the engine. Was that before the engine got to the top of the hill or not?
The Coroner: He says clearly that he could not see.
The next witness called was Sergt. Frederick Woollam, and he said that about four o’clock on Wednesday, the 12th inst., he received information about an accident. He at once proceeded there, in company with Dr. Jones, and on arriving there he saw Joseph Newton, the steersman, and on the other side of the road he saw another man named Simpson lying on a mattress. He appeared to be very much injured. Witness took notice of Newton, and he believed him to be quite sober-there was no sign of drink upon him. He then went to the dingle, and about 56 feet from the road he found the dead body of Cartmell. He was covered with small pieces of sacking, which had been placed upon him by someone, and lying across his breast was one of the spokes of the fly wheel, weighing about 10lbs. There was a large wound on the side of the head, which was caused evidently by the spoke; he was quite dead. About 45 feet lower down was the engine, turned upside down. With assistance they got a sheet and removed the dead body of Cartmell to the Griffin Inn, Llanbedr, where he searched him, and found 6s. Id. in silver and copper, and some small articles, which he took possession of, and delivered to the relatives of the deceased. About 77 yards from the scene of the accident the engine and vans seemed to have rocked from one side of the road to the other.
The Coroner: Could you say from the marks on the road whether they went gradually down the dingle, or whether they went suddenly?
Witness My impression is that they turned directly.
Witness, continuing, said there were six or seven people there before him. There are a good many public houses on the road from Chester to Ruthin. Witness went to Mold on Tuesday last, and made inquiries at every public house along the road. They obtained coal in the coal yard at Mold. They went to one public house at Mold. He saw many people working on the road, and they agreed that the men were working the engine in a proper manner; They called at Gwernymynydd, Cathole, and Lamb. They had no more than three glasses of beer. They did not stop at the Loggerheads. The distance from Llanferres to the scene of the accident is about 3 miles. He did not smell any drink on the dead body when he searched him.
The next witness was Joseph Newton, residing at Neston, and steersman of the engine, who said he had been about 13 years as steersman, but he had never acted as driver. He had been with Mr. Gray for two years That was the second journey for him on that engine. He went to Sandycroft the day before the accident, and they had no occasion to alter the gear from Chester to Sandycroft. It was 6 o’clock in the morning when they started from Chester on the 12th inst. They only stopped on the road for coal and water and for carriages. They arrived at the scene of the accident about 3 o’clock, as they were travelling very slow. They had three pints of beer altogether. They had no occasion to change the gear from Mold to the Bwlch. There they stopped to change the speed from the slow into the fast. The driver did not find any difficulty in changing the gear. Witness jumped off the engine, and put a scotch behind the wheel, and put the brake on the hind van. As they were starting the second time, the engine raised itself, because it always did when they were ascending an incline. He took the scotches from the wheels, and got back on the engine, when it went to the top of the hill without any further trouble. It was the driver’s place to command the third man, who was lying on the van. They stopped when they got to the top of the hill for about half a second, so as to change speed. As far as he understood, they changed the gear properly. The driver did not order the man on the van to put the brake on the hind van, or slippers on the fore van. After they started off from the top of the hill with the changed speed, the engine went about 15 or 16 yards in motion, and after it got over that distance, it kept gradually going on. The engine went at a quick pace, and the driver said to witness ‘Keep the road,’ and he did as well as he could. The driver reversed the engine, but it was not in a reverse condition when it was going down the hill. When the engine was reversed, it ought to stop in an instant. The driver had his hand on the tripping gear, but the motion had stopped. Witness could not see whether the pin was in the lever.
The Coroner: If the gear had been right, the reversing of the engine would have stopped it?
Can you say whether the engine was put in gear when you stopped ?
Witness: Yes; the lever was pushed off in the fast gear.
Mr. Wynne Edwards: You have steered a traction engine for many years. Did you think it was safe to go downhill without a pin?
Witness: No, I thought the pin was in.
Have you been run with a traction engine before ?
Witness, continuing, said he did not try to direct the engine into the bank, because the driver told him to keep on the soft grassy part of the road. He remembered going through the hedge with the engine, and he was picked up in the dingle. When he got up, his arm was fast between the wheels of the engine and a tree. He ran to the engine and shouted, Mates, where are you,’ but never got a reply. The accident happened through the pin not being placed in the lever. It was his opinion that the driver took out the pin to put the gear properly, and carelessly did not put it back again.
The Coroner: When you found your engine going at this pace, did the driven say anything to you?
Witness: Yes, I Keep the road, mate,’ and those were his last words.
Did he at any time say that he knew the road?
Yes, he told me that he knew of this road, as he was accustomed to this part of the country.
Was the driver in a fit state to drive?
He was as sober as I am now. It did not need a brake on that small incline. The engine would not stop when he reversed it, and witness could not let go his steering wheel, or else they would have turned into the dingle sooner. The brake handle was not jerked out of witness’ hand.
By Mr. Reynolds: If the brake was put on the last van, in his opinion, it would have been great assistance to prevent the accident. Wit- ness had the steering wheel in his hand all the way down the hill.
By Mr. P. H. Hughes: The engine was in perfect condition for travelling.
Joseph Gray, engine contractor for Haulages, Neston, said he had been in that occupation all his life. He had had a good many engines passing through his hands. He was a perfect judge as to whether the engine was in working order or not. He had five engines, and that particular one he had in his possession since the 26th of June. He bought it from Mr. Lindsay, of Sandycroft Farm, and he had it for about seven years. The makers of the engine were Messrs. J, Fowler, Leeds. Witness examined the engine before he bought it, and found it in perfect condition, and gave the full value of £325 for it. He had two more engines exactly like that particular one, and made by the same makers. It was in a good state of repair. The engine was in a thorough condition to go for a journey.
By the Foreman: The engine was in proper order when he saw it last, it was not possible for it to have gone out of order then.
By Mr. Reynolds: He had the engine working last winter for about 5 or 6 weeks for Mr. Lindseys. When he bought the engine, the license for hauling was fixed to the engine. He was of opinion that if the brake was put on the engine, the accident would have been prevented. Witness had to provide two men, and Mr. Brown the other. The supposed duty of the man lying on the van was to assist anything to pass; and under the driver’s command. The third man should not have been on top of the van at that time of the day. There was a brake on the last van, and two slippers on the first and second. To the best of his knowledge neither of the brakes were used. The hill that they were descending did not make it necessary to put the brakes on.
By a juryman: The engine was 8 horse power, and the weight behind it was about 11 tons. He had been told that there was 5 ½ tons of furniture, and the vans were about 2 tons each. The engine was capable of drawing 30 tons.
Mr. P. H. Hughes: Did your driver know these roads?
Witness Yes, he had gone over them for years.
Major T. A. Wynne Edwards, Mechanical Engineer, Denbigh, said he went to the scene of the accident on the 17th inst. to examine the engine at the coroner’s request. He made a careful examination of all the working parts that were likely to have got out of order. He had the valve cover taken off, so as to examine the valve. Everything was in working order with the exception of this pin. There was a slow and a fast speed, there were two small cog-wheels, one smaller than the other fastened on the crankshaft of the engine, and upon a second motion shaft, two larger cog-wheels. These two cog wheels move backwards and forwards upon the second motion shaft, so as to engage with the two smaller pinions. These wheels are moved by means of a lever which would be impossible to describe unless there was a model in court. The driver had a pin which he passed through the handle to keep it there. It was a long pin about four inches in length attached to the lever by a small chain. The pin and chain were missing on that engine, and it was probable that a branch of a tree during the fall would have snatched it up. The engine could not have gone a long way without the pin, because it would have been out of gear. During the time that the lever was in the central position of the engine, it is free from the motive power. The very fact that the engine was progressing down the road proved that the piston and the crank-shaft were not going round. The driver must have either failed to get the fast gear, or it must have slid out again. It might be possible for him to throw it into gear again, but the back wheels would be turning round and gaining speed, which made it difficult to catch them at the right moment. The driver knew that it was a bad road lower down, and his opinion was that both men must have lost their heads in their dangerous position, and the driver had failed to get his engine in the gear, and the result was that it went faster and faster until they lost control altogether, and the consequence was they went over. It was his opinion that it was not having put the pin in its proper place that caused the accident.
By a juryman: Was the lever damaged in any way-
Witness: It was slightly bent, I could not see the broken link as the engine was upside down.
Coroner Was it in a reverse or forward motion?
Witness: It was in the forward motion.
Witness continuing said he did not think the hill was steep enough to put so many brakes on, he would only suggest that if they put one brake on the engine it would have averted the accident.
By Mr. Reynolds: He believed that the engine was an agricultural one, but could be used for hauling. The difference between an agricultural engine and a hauling engine was that one was heavier than the other.
By Mr. P. H. Hughes: The act of changing the gear would take a very short time.
The Coroner said that the next witness he intended to call was the third man they heard of, of the name of Simpson, but a medical certificate had been received stating that he was not in a fit condition to attend. He did not think there was any reason to adjourn the inquest simply for the evidence of Simpson, who was on the top of the van. It used to be necessary to have three persons on the road, and he was to take the part of the third person. The act had been changed, and they did not need a flagman now, but a man to assist in any difficulty. The driver ought to have called this man who was on the van, to his duties. It would be for the jury to consider whether he was guilty of not putting the brake on.
John Cartmell, brother of the deceased residing in Liverpool said he always found that particular engine a very good one for the work it was doing at that time. He visited the engine last Monday in the dingle, and as far as he could see everything was in perfect order. He was always supplied with three competent men besides himself, three reliable men, one to steer, one to attend horses, and the other to attend brakes on the last van. If the brake on the last van would have been used it would have avoided the accident.
By Mr. Reynolds: Witness said he never knew of that engine going on a journey, but if the man on the top of the van was at his post, the accident could have been averted.
Mr. Reynolds What do you suggest the man could have done?
Witness: He could have put more pressure on the brake.
Sergeant Woollam said Simpson was seen to be on the van all along the road from Mold.
Mr. Thomas Lindsey, farmer, Sandycroft, said he bought the engine from Messrs. Fowlers Leeds, about seven years ago, and he gave £440 for it. It worked well for him, and was in perfect order all the time. He sold it to Mr. Gray, because he gave up thrashing about four years ago. He kept it for his own purpose of grinding and chaff cutting. He thought he received a fair price for it from Mr. Gray. The engine went for a journey over a rough mountain with a load of about 10 tons.
By Mr. Reynolds: That engine was called a general purpose engine. John Barnett, engineer, engaged with Messrs. Fowler, said that the firm sold that engine to Mr. Lindsey in 1891. It was an 8 horse general purposes traction. The engine would have its road trial, strain trial, and boiler trial before it left the works at Leeds. The road locomotive was made specially to give more adhesion on the road, and it was made with stronger gearing power. The machinery was shut from view, moreover, to obviate as far as possible the alarming of a horse, or passing traffic.
The Coroner: Do you think the driver failed to put the engine in proper gear when they stopped.
Witness; That is the only conclusion I can come to.
By Mr. Reynolds: A regular hauling engine was slightly stronger than the one used.
Mr. Reynolds: Do you think that if you had one of the regular hauling engines, the risk of this accident would be less.
Witness No, I don’t think so.
Mr. P. H. Hughes: This engine is constructed for hauling, is it not?
Witness: Yes, it is perfectly able to carry the load it had, on the day of the accident. I would consider it a very small load for such an engine.
Mr. O’Neale: The accident happened at 3.10 p.m.
The Coroner What are you?
Mr. O’Neale: I am telegraph superintendent of the General Post Office, Liverpool. You will be glad to hear that everything possible was done to minimise the discomfort of the injured. I shall move a misapprehension which the reporters of Iocal papers have written –
The Coroner I cannot admit all this.
The Coroner then summed up, and said that he begged to thank the jury for attending that day. He hoped that all the evidence brought before them was quite clear. The evidence of Rowlands showed that deceased was working the engine in a proper manner; and another important point was, that in the witness’s opinion the men were in a fit state to drive the engine. The driver came to the Bwlch, and then came to a second stoppage, to change the gear from the slow to the fast. In his opinion, that gearing had not been changed in a proper manner. The only person who could have given them a correct version of the incident was the deceased. The accident was caused, he would not say by neglect, but by absent- mindedness, because they did not put that pin in its place. It seemed perfectly clear to him that the engine ran its coarse down this hill, unheeded and uncontrolled, and descended the precipice. The driver’s wishes were to keep to the road, and the steersman had to obey his orders and consequently, the engine ran out of its course into the dingle, and caused the death of the deceased. There was another point. The third man with an engine ought to be on the watch for traffic. The question, was whether the driver knew that the third man was at his post or not. The third man’s place was not on the top of the van, but on his feet, behind the vans, putting on brakes, or putting slippers on the two front vans. They had a third gentleman giving evidence, and he stated that the catastrophe might have been averted. The question now was, whether that man was criminally negligent in that matter. If the jury thought that he was criminally negligent, then they should declare it as man-slaughter against the man Simpson. They might add a rider to their finding as to the cause of death, tut in all cases. the third man should always be at his post. But still, as he had said before, he did not think that the third man was criminally negligent in that matter. The jury retired for about 10 minutes, and then found the following verdict ‘That the said William Cartmell was killed accidentally by the traction engine running away into the Wernog Dingle on the 12th of July, owing to the, control of the gear having been lost.’