HC Deb 16 June 1899 vol 72 cc1341-2

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the outrage committed by a sailor of H.M.S. Terrible on a fellow passenger, travelling on the Great Western 9.30 express from Swansea to Paddington, a few days ago, when it is said the communication cord was not in order, and it was therefore impossible to call the attention of the guard; whether he would communicate with the authorities of the Great Western Railway with a view to a more careful scrutiny of communication cords on making up their trains at their respective starting places; and is he aware that a man named Anderson was killed in the same train two days before the assault referred to above.


I have communicated with the company, and have received a reply in which they state that there is no such train as the 9.30 express from Swansea to Paddington; that on the arrival at Swindon at 3.5 a.m., on May 27th, of the 7 p.m. excursion train from New Milford to London, a passenger complained to the inspector on duty that he had been assaulted by a fellow-passenger and that on the police being sent for each passenger preferred a charge of assault against the other. The police thereupon declined to act, and the two men remained at Swindon, ultimately coming to London by the next train at 6.40 a.m.; that no representation was made to the company that the communication cord failed to act, in fact it was tested at Landore and Cardiff during the journey and found to be in good working order; that one of the men who complained had a few scratches on his face, and from the statement made by a passenger in the same compartment the affair was of a trivial character—one man being as much to blame as the other. With regard to the death of the man Anderson it appears that he and two companions—all being discharged sailors—were passengers from Cardiff to London by the 6.30 p.m. express from New Milford on May 23rd; that when the tickets were examined at Chepstow nothing was amiss beyond the fact that one of the men could not find his ticket, but that on arrival at Gloucester, Anderson was found to be dead from a wound in the neck; that the men were apparently under the influence of liquor, and that there was no evidence of any disturbance or fight having taken place.