Looking for details on a 1940s railway accident

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richw

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My partners gran has no info about her dad (partners great grandad) Gran was always told he was killed in a train crash whilst her mum was pregnant with her.
The small information we have found is his surname was Rogers, based at gosport Barracks. Gran was born April 1946, so it’s reasonable to assume the train crash that killed him was sometime between July 1945 and April 1946. He was on route to Gosport at the time.

please would anyone be able to assist researching the possible accident? Thanks in advance
 
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edwin_m

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My partners gran has no info about her dad (partners great grandad) Gran was always told he was killed in a train crash whilst her mum was pregnant with her.
The small information we have found is his surname was Rogers, based at gosport Barracks. Gran was born April 1946, so it’s reasonable to assume the train crash that killed him was sometime between July 1945 and April 1946. He was on route to Gosport at the time.

please would anyone be able to assist researching the possible accident? Thanks in advance
Railwaysarchive.co.uk allows railway accidents to be searched by date, showing any available information including newspaper cuttings and Inspector's reports. This isn't comprehensive, "minor" accidents which could include staff fatalities are often not listed, and it might not reveal victims' names. But it could give you a date and place to start looking for more detail in local newspapers etc.
 

Jimbob52

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My partners gran has no info about her dad (partners great grandad) Gran was always told he was killed in a train crash whilst her mum was pregnant with her.
The small information we have found is his surname was Rogers, based at gosport Barracks. Gran was born April 1946, so it’s reasonable to assume the train crash that killed him was sometime between July 1945 and April 1946. He was on route to Gosport at the time.

please would anyone be able to assist researching the possible accident? Thanks in advance
Without more information it is difficult to be specific but if the person killed was returning to Gosport from somewhere north of London, the most likely accident would seem to be that at Bourne End, near Berkhamsted, Herts, on 30 September 1945. An express train with 398 passengers on board was derailed and 43 persons were killed. One account mentions that many of the passengers were servicemen and women.

A booklet on the accident was available from the Dacorum Heritage Trust in Berkhamsted but now seems to be out of stock. However, according to their website, the Trust is the Accredited Museum for the area and houses in excess of 110,000 artefacts relating to the history of the Borough. It is therefore likely to have a list of the names of those who lost their lives.
 

Gloster

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A quick look at railwaysarchive shows 17 reports of accidents in this period, including the major one at Bourne End. National papers might name the casualties in a major accident, or at least those who were soon identified, but local papers for the great-grandfather’s hometown are probably the best source. You can start by looking through the editions of the local paper in the days and weeks following the accidents listed in railwaysarchive as having non-staff deaths.

Gosport Barracks appears to have been used by the Royal Navy in World War II, but was subsequently handed over to the Royal Tank Regiment.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Hopefully the following weblink to the National Archives might prove of use...

 

richw

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Thanks all. The above info gives me some useful places to research.
 

jp4712

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I've searched the Manchester Guardian historic database for the Bourne End accident and, frustratingly, only a selection of names of those who died appeared. None of the names were Rogers. Another possibility might be Lichfield Trent Valley in January 1946; but this would be unlikely, being a local train that someone heading to Gosport would be unlikely to catch; and the Guardian does list all the casualties for that one, and again the name Rogers doesn't appear.
 

eastwestdivide

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I'd be prepared to draw a blank on this - there is at least a slim possibility that what your Gran was told wasn't actually the truth. I'm not saying this was the case here, but family histories have a way of making up stories to account for people doing things that were seen as less than honourable in those days. My late father's adoption was a case in point, with his birth mother being far closer than we had all been told as children.
 

Gloster

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He may not be on the CWGC list as I don’t think it lists people who were on leave when they died. Of course, if he was making a service journey, such as going from one posting to another, he might be, so it is worth a look.
 

swt_passenger

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Hopefully the following weblink to the National Archives might prove of use...

AIUI those archives only cover events abroad or on ships. A death of a serviceman in England would be registered normally in the registration district where it occurred. Without a first name you are looking at about four hundred individuals called Rogers in England & Wales over about those 9 months.

A Question to the OP, does your partner’s grandmother definitely have no father shown on her birth certificate?
 

etr221

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A Question to the OP, does your partner’s grandmother definitely have no father shown on her birth certificate?
Birth certificates are (or certainly were) available in two forms: long (which included father's name) and short (which didn't). The grandmother would be entitled to apply for a long form, even if she didn't have one originally... and then I would think her father's death certificate and service record.

But if the OP (or partner) can find their way into genealogy circles (forums), I suspect a lot of help and advice will be available, as to where to start and then go next.
 

richw

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A Question to the OP, does your partner’s grandmother definitely have no father shown on her birth certificate?
That’s correct. No father named.

After further discussions she recalled a photo, which she’s now located of the man her mum said was her father. His uniform suggests being a chief petty officer. The mother was a Wren. The mother was discharged from the navy when pregnant.

Due to covid restrictions I haven’t seen the photo and working on the info given to us by phone

The grandmother would be entitled to apply for a long form, even if she didn't have one originally... and then I would think her father's death certificate and service record.
There is no fathers name on the long form. They were unmarried, so the father would of needed to be present at registration. He was allegedly deceased by the time she was born.
 
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