04.12.

1951: Double-decker Bus Runs over 24 Children

1951: Double-decker Bus Runs over 24 Children
Photo Credit To http://image1.findagrave.com/photos/2008/232/CEM46944385_121921659385.jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event: Night was falling, and the bus had no headlights on, only sidelights, which was allowed in Britain at that time. The driver said that he did not see the children in front of him, but only felt bumps when he hit them.

On this day in 1951, the toughest traffic accident in the UK thus far occurred. A double-decker bus drove that night on a country road near Gillingham, Kent, and ploughed into the rear of a company of children aged 10-13 years. The children were members of the Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps and walked, three abreast, on the left-hand side of the road. They wore dark blue uniforms that were hardly visible in the evening light.

The bus had no headlights on, only sidelights, which was allowed in Britain at that time. The driver said that he did not see the children in front of him, but only felt bumps when he hit them. Seventeen boys were killed on the spot and another seven died in hospital. An additional 24 children were injured. Only those who were at the head of the column were unharmed. The bus driver received only a 20 pound fine and was banned from driving for three years.

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