Gramshaw Crossing Fatalities
Friday 29 July 1927
"Suggestions of a gallant self-sacrifice on the part of a nurse in an attempt to save the life of her little charge came out at an inquest at Bemerton on Monday (25 July) into the deaths of Vivian Harrison, 22 years of age, a nurse, and Vivienne Grace Younger, the four-year of daughter of Major Younger of the Royal Artillery ... who were killed by a train on a level-crossing at Bemerton on Saturday evening (23rd July). Miss Harrison was taking the little girl and her brother across the Gramshaw railway crossing from Bemerton to Wilton Road when the tragedy happened.
"At this spot there are two double main railway lines - one pair of tracks being the Great Western and the other pair the Southern. They had entered the crossing gates and were about to cross the Southern lines when their attention seemed to have been concentrated upon a Great Western goods train coming from Salisbury station and making considerable noise. Apparently, as the nurse and the little girl were about to cross the Southern line - the boy had already safely crossed - they failed to notice a Southern Railway passenger train thundering upon them. And, then, Miss Harrison, in making a frantic last-minute effort to push the girl clear of the train, appeared to have fallen right in front of it and was killed instantaneously. The little girl was struck by the near side of the engine and she, too, was killed outright ....
"The police soon arrived and, with the help of the Great Western Railway ambulance, removed the remains to Bemerton House, where the nurse and children had only a short while before been enjoying the afternoon with their uncle, Dr Holmes ...
"The inquest was held at the Parish Hall, Bemerton, by
Mr Vincent, coroner for South and West Wilts, who sat with a jury of whom Mr Billett was foreman ... Having heard evidence from Dr Holmes, the train crew and eye witnesses, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death and added a recommendation that the railway companies be asked to put a footbridge at this spot in the interest of public safety... One of the jurymen, Mr Cook, said he thought it might be pointed out to the railway companies the difference in the character of the surroundings now and when this crossing was made. Formerly, Bemerton was purely an agricultural district, with few houses, but now with a growing population the danger increased daily ...
The widespread public sympathy evoked by the tragic occurrence was evident at the funeral of Miss Harrison and the child, which took place at Bemerton Parish Church on Tuesday afternoon (26th July). Crowds of people flocked into the Church and witnessed the burial of the two bodies in graves lying side by side in the Churchyard ... The hymns sung in the Church were The King of Love my Shepherd Is and Abide with Me."
30th April 1937
Whilst walking over a level-crossing near her home on Tuesday evening (27th April), Margaret Ellen Button, aged 13, of Nursery Road, Salisbury, was struck by a train and died at the Salisbury Infirmary a few hours later.
The girl was the eldest of the five children of Mr George Button, a railway guard, and Mrs Button. The accident occurred at the crossing which separates Gramshaw Road from Lower Bemerton, and which has been the scene of other fatalities in the past. There were no eye-witnesses, but immediately after the train had passed the injured girl was found lying beside the four-foot way. The wheels of the train had not passed over the child, who was apparently struck a glancing blow. Her skull was fractured and she died at 1am on Wednesday morning (28th April).