Rail crash victims honoured 50 years on from tragedy

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A former firefighter who attended the scene of a fatal rail crash at Stanton Gate 50 years ago has organised a special service to mark its anniversary.

A train driver and fireman, both from Leicester, were killed when their diesel locomotive collided head on with a freight train five decades ago.

Peter Mee, from Ilkeston, was a fireman for the railway network when the crash happened on December 6, 1963.

A service was held at the rail bridge by the crash site on Thursday December 5.

Mr Mee said: “I was really pleased with how it all went.

“We had about 20 people there to pay their respcts and it all went as planned.”

Mr Mee, who was 21 at the time, said it was the first time he had dealt with a death.

“I’d never seen anything like that,” he said.

“It really stuck with me for a long time. It was very upsetting.”

At the time a Ministry of Transport report on the accident said the 22:40 goods train from Leeds to Leicester collided with another train at about 01:30.

Mr Mee, now 71, said the Leicester-bound train hit the only two carriages of the other locomotive, which were carrying cement blocks.

The report concluded that fireman Raymond Carter, 36, and driver Dennis Vincent , 37, may have “become drowsy” in the cab having had very little rest the previous day.

Firefighter Ron Burns also received a commendation in the report for leaping on to the derailed carriage and isolating the battery, potentially preventing an explosion.

Ex-train drivers and other people who attended the anniversary service laid wreaths at the site.