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Dugald, MB Train Collision, Sep 1947

Aerial view of wreck View of wreckage Burned out wreckage

WRECK DEAD PLACED AT 28.

SEARCH CONTINUES AS TOLL UNCERTAIN -- TELEGRAPH OPERATOR HELD.

Dugald, Man., Sept. 3 -- (C.P.) --Twenty-eight bodies had been recovered by noon today from the ash-strewn wreckage here where Monday night a Canadian National Railways campers special crashed head-on into a standing eastbound trans continental passenger train.
Earlier reports listed the number of bodies found at more than 30, but at noon grim-eyes workers said that careful sifting of the debris revealed that the charred and brittle bones found this morning were only those of one person.
Search Continues.
Twenty-seven bodies had been recovered yesterday before the workers took time out to rest last night, their first pause in 17 hours. The search through the twisted, scorched wreckage is continuing.
Still uncertain is the exact number of dead, but police officials said that it may easily rise above the early estimate of 35.
Operator Held.
Meanwhile, developments in the disaster to the 13-car train -- worst wreck in Western Canada's history -- which brought a tragic finish to a Labor Day weekend for many of the estimated 700 aborad when it crashed into the standing express, included these:
1. R.C.M.P. announced that DONALD F. LEDLIE, 55, of Dugald, Canadian National Railways telegraph operator, was being held on a coroner's warrant as a material witness in the collision.
2. Inquest into the tragedy was adjourned for an indefinite period after jurymen had been sworn in at Transcona, 10 miles west of here, where the bodies of most of the victims had been taken.
3. Railway officials issued a statement late last night listing 27 persons as dead, with 13 others all in good condition, still in hospitals.
4. Identification of the dead bogged down last night after five of the 27 badly-scarred bodies which had been recovered had been wither positively or tentatively identified.
5. Police officials said the death toll could rise substantially once the search through the wreckage had been completed.
6. The actylene lamps used in the nine wooden coaches of the special train were generally blamed by survivors for the magnitude of the disaster. Had these lamps not been used, they said, the fire which swept through the train immediately following the crash would not have ignited with such lightning-like rapidity.
Thorough Probe.
No details other than the bare announcement concerning the holding of LEDLIE were given by police or other officials. Railway officials announced yesterday, however, that a thorough investigation into the wreck would be held. In Ottawa the board of transport commissioners added that they too would inquire into the disaster.
While the coroner's jury, sworn to duty last night, was dismissed for an indeterminate period after viewing the remains of the victims, the lone undertaking parlor at Transcona was filled with groups of anxious relatives and friends of the missing all evening.
Efforts to identify the dead had meagre results. Only two, GAYE LEWIS of Transcona, engineer on the special, and MRS. ALBERT SIMPSON of St. Vital, a Wininipeg suburb, were definitely identified.
Tentative identification of two of MRS. SIMPSON'S daughters, WINNIE and BETTY, was also made, while less certain identification was made of DONNA BARLOW, 17-year-old neighbor of the SIMPSONS.
Railway officials said that a complete list of those missing was almost impossible to compile. The only person who knew exactly how many passengers the campers' special had carried, Conductor FRED SKOGSBERG, was among the missing. His ticket receipts were believed to have been destroyed.
Clearing Debris.
While relatives and friends retruned to the Transcona morgue again today, hoping that in a second visit they might recognize jewelry as belonging to the missing, work was resumed at Dugald of clearing away the maze of debris covering the tracks by the little red-walled flag station.
Their overnight rest was the first the workmen had had since the collision took place late Monday. Even before they retired last night carloads of spectators thronged the area, anxious to get a first-hand glimpse of the wrecked train.
Twelve R.C.M.P. constables were needed to control the traffic, while others were constantly on the alert to prevent the almost 10,000 visitors from pushing their way through the ash-strewn wreckage.
Today the number of visitors was down, only the odd automobile stopping at the small village. Workmen continued sifting through the ashes and police officials said that some of the dead would probably never be discovered, even if the sifting continued for a week, so devastating had been the flames which swept the train.

DAMAGE TO WAREHOUSE.
Winnipeg, Sept. 3 -- Losses to the Imperial Oil Company's warehouse and its contents at Dugald, Man., destroyed in the fire which swept the Canadian National Railways' campers' special Monday night were today estimated at $3,500 by company officials.
The warehouse, standing near the railway track, was ignited by flames which spread from the campers' special after it collided with a transcontinental passenger train.

DEATH MAINTAINS ITS ANONIMITY IN MORGUE.
Transcona, Man., Sept. 3. -- Death retained most of its anonymity last night in the morgue of this Manitoba town 10 miles west of Dugald, where late Monday a Canadian National Railways' train collision claimed at least 35 lives.
All evening scores of relatives and friends thronged the little funeral parlor, hoping sadly through rings, brooches or lockets to identify some of the missing.
When the weary trail into the morgue's back room where the flame-scarred remains of 27 of the dead lay on tables under white canvas sheets -- had ended only five identifications had been completed, two of them with certainty.
The identity of two had already been known, G. B. LEWIS of Transcona, engineer on the campers' special which had hurtled head-on into the standing transcontinental train, and MRS. ALBERT SIMPSON of St. Vital, Man.
Identify Sisters.
Last night two of MRS. SIMPSON'S daughters, WINNIE and BETTY, were listed as tentatively identified. Rings given them by their grandmother proved the only link.
DONNA BARLOW, 17, also of St. Vital, had been tentatively identified earlier, but DR. G. A. LAW, district coroner, said later that her identification had not been complete.
For the more than 50 persons other than the remaining members of the SIMPSON family who thronged the morgue the identification quest ended with the two words it had started -- still missing.
The bereaved moved into the back room in groups of eight and 10. Undertakers picked up various objects found near the charred bodies.
"Does a heart-shaped locket mean anything to anyone?"
Members of the first group shook their heads. The second group did likewise. The third. The procession moved on.
Nobody knew who had been wearing a white linen suit, partly saved from the flames which swept the campers' special after the wreck.
Nobody knew who had been wearing a red stone ring on a left hand.
Nobody knew who had been wearing a very plain wedding ring.
Nobody knew who had been wearing a grey, pin-striped dress -- only a few shreds were left -- and a wedding ring on her right hand.
Group After Group.
The relatives and friends moved on. Group after group entering the little room with its cold cement floor. They looked at the trinkets, shook their heads numbly, moved on into the dust-filled September evening.
The dust came from the highway, where 1,500 automobiles were whipping up the dry gravel into thick, choking clouds as they sped towards Dugald to view the wrecked train and the two inter-locked locomotives.
A dozen R.C.M.P. constables were needed to regulate traffic and to hold the 10,000 spectators away from the immediate vicinity of the of the wreck.
The workers who had been digging through the cinders and twisted bars of the railway coaches for almost 20 hours, seeking remains of the victims, were resting last night. But in the morning they resumed their bitter task.
Police officers and undertakers said that the casualty list could easily rise far above the estimated 35. Some of the victims, they said, were probably so badly burned that no trace of them would ever be found.
Meanwhile back at Transcona, the groups thronging the little funeral parlor were hoping that "still missing" would not apply in the case of their relatives and friends.

CASUALTY LIST.
The following list is compiled from reports by the district cononer, railway officials, hospitals, and relatives who have telephoned the Free Press.
Revised to noon Wednesday.
Known Dead:
G. B. LEWIS, 97 Park Circle, Transcona, engineer on the campers' special, died before reaching hospital.
MRS. ALBERT SIMPSON, 13 Morier avenue, St. Vital, died after reaching hospital.
Tentatively Identified As Dead:
MISS WINNIE SIMPSON, 26, of 13 Morier avenue, St. Vital.
MISS BETTY SIMPSON, 17, of 13 Morier avenue, St. Vital.
Believed Dead:
MR. and MRS. G. HARMON, 308 Roseberry street.
MR. and MRS. STANLEY C. ADAMS and daughter, SHIRLEY, 18, of 754 Government avenue.
MISS DONA BARLOW, 17, of 82 Morier avenue, St. Vital.
GILBERT ROUGEAU, Transcona, brakeman on the Minaki train.
MR. and MRS. GEORGE STEELE, 684 Toronto street, also their nine year old son, RONALD.
Missing:
GRENVILLE DIXON, 121 Smithfield avenue, W. Kildonan.
MRS. BETTY DIXON, 121 Smithfield.
DONALD DIXON, 21, of 121 Smithfield.
PATRICIA DIXON, 18, of 121 Smithfield.
MERLE DIXON, 11, of 121 Smithfield.
JIMMY PAPKIE, 234 Bell avenue, fireman on the Minaki train.
MRS. R. E. ELEY, whose husband lives at 890 Mulvey avenue.
MR. and MRS. RICHARD MELLOR and son, G. F. FRASER, and ADAM RICHARDSON, all of 601 Jessie avenue.
JANE JAMIESON, 15, 774 Wellington crescent.
Conductor FREDERICK SKOGSBERG, 147 Walnut street.
MISS M. E. BOOTH, 847 Westminster avenue.
MISS ALMA WYNNE, 34 Rothesay Apartments.
MISS IDA KOZAR, 131 Langside street.
MRS. JOYCE VANDER LINDEN, 308 Roseberry street, St. James.
MISS MARTHA JARVI, 123 Sherbrook street.
EDWARD KIANN, 20, 722 Talbot avenue.
Injured:
A. P. VANDER LINDER, 302 Roseberry street, St. James, condition poor.
ALBERT SIMPSON, 13 Morier avenue, St. Vital, condition fair.
PEGGY SIMPSON, 1928 St. Mary's Rd., two and one half years, grand-daughter of ALBERT SIMPSON, condition fairly good.
BARBARA HERBERT, 17, suite 18 Palliser apartments, condition fairly good.
HARRY IRVINE, 696 Simcoe street, released from hospital.
MRS. HARRY IRVINE, 696 Simcoe street, condition fairly good.
H. CLOUTIER, 48 Martin avenue, Elmwood, condition fairly good.
MRS. F. HORTON, 379 Toronto street, condition fairly good.
PAUL PRISK, 18, of South Bathurst, N.B., condition good.
WILLIAM McAULEY, 652 Garfield street, released from hospital.
MRS. WILLIAM McAULEY, 652 Garfield street, released from hospital.
E. W. MARTIN, 15 Guay avenue, condition fairly good.
CAMELLE ARNAUD, 21, of 5478 7th avenue, Rosemount, Montreal, condition fairly good.
Trainman JAMES A. BONNAR, 765 Simcoe street, condition fairly good.
FRANK CORNER, 17 Kingston Row, St. Vital, condition fairly good.
MISS NORA PATERSON, 211 Oxford street, lacerations to the right knee, released from hospital.
W. DOUGLAS, 119 Pandora W., Transcona, condition fair.

The Lethbridge Herald Alberta 1947-09-03

Comments

Moira Drysdale

My Mom was on that train and barely spoke about it years later. She had a bad scar on her forehead and still had a slight scar when she died in November 2008. She hurt her back and not sure what else during the accident. She was forever an anxious traveler especially by car or even in my speed boat after this accident when she was so young. Does anyone remember her or who she was with please? She was had blonde wavy hair, was 5.5", with a slim build, a beautiful singing voice and had been brought up on a farm in Stoney Mountain. She became a elementary school teacher. She was a great Mom and became an awesome grandmother but always a worrier.



article | by Dr. Radut