The worst railroad disaster in history occurred on 22 May, 1915 near Gretna Green, Dumfriesshire, Scotland.
It is commonly known as the Quintinshill Disaster, having been named for the location of a nearby intermediate signal box with passing loops on each side on the Caledonian Railway Main Line linking Glasgow and Carlisle.
The crash, which involved five trains, killed a probable 226 people and injured 246 others. Those killed were mainly territorial soldiers from the Royal Scots heading for Gallipoli front in the First World War.
The precise number of dead was never established with certainty as the roll list of the regiment was destroyed by the fire. The crash occurred when a troop train travelling from Larbert, Stirlingshire to Liverpool, Lancashire collided with a local passenger train that had been shunted on to the main line, to then be hit by an express train to Glasgow which crashed into the wreckage a minute later.
Gas from the lighting system of the old wooden carriages of the troop train ignited, starting a fire which soon engulfed the three passenger trains and also two goods trains standing on nearby passing loops.
A number of bodies were never recovered, having been wholly consumed by the fire. The bodies that were recovered were buried together in a mass grave in Edinburgh’s Rosebank Cemetery.
Such was the scope of the disaster that many of the rescuers wrongly assumed the trains had been targets of German saboteurs. Four bodies, believed to be of children, were never identified or claimed and are buried in the Western Necropolis, Glasgow.
The cause of the accident was poor working practices on the part of the two signalmen involved. It was discovered that the two men often colluded to falsify their records of when they relieved each other, routinely did not follow regulations properly, and engaged in other unsafe practices.
The results of the official inquiry into the disaster led to their imprisonment for culpable homicide after legal proceedings in both Scotland and England.
A memorial to the dead soldiers was erected soon after the accident. There are a number of more recent memorials at various locations.
An annual remembrance service is held at Rosebank Cemetery.
Lindisfarne Castle is a 16th-century castle located on Holy Island, near Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England, much altered by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901. The island is accessible from the mainland at low tide by means of a causeway.
The castle is located in what was once the very volatile border area between England and Scotland. Not only did the English and Scots fight, but the area was frequently attacked by Vikings. The castle was built in 1550, around the time that Lindisfarne Priory went out of use, and stones from the priory were used as building material. It is very small by the usual standards, and was more of a fort.
The castle sits on the highest point of the island, a whinstone hill called Beblowe.
Lindisfarne’s position in the North Sea made it vulnerable to attack from Scots and Norsemen, and by Tudor times it was clear there was a need for a stronger fortification, although obviously, by this time, the Norsemen were no longer a danger. This resulted in the creation of the fort on Beblowe Crag between 1570 and 1572 which forms the basis of the present castle.
After Henry VIII suppressed the priory, his troops used the remains as a naval store. In 1542 Henry VIII ordered the Earl of Rutland to fortify the site against possible Scottish invasion.
Elizabeth I then had work carried out on the fort, strengthening it and providing gun platforms for the new developments in artillery technology.
These works in 1570 and 1571 cost £1191. When James I came to power in England, he combined the Scottish and English thrones, and the need for the castle declined. At this time the castle was still garrisoned from Berwick and protected the small Lindisfarne Harbour.
In the eighteenth century the castle was occupied briefly by Jacobite rebels, but was quickly recaptured by soldiers from Berwick who imprisoned the rebels; they dug their way out and hid for nine days close to nearby Bamburgh Castle before making good their escape.