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Two Days in May

A story based on the Quintinshill Disaster

David Clemson


On 22 May 1915 three trains collided outside the signal box at Quintinshill near Gretna Green. A local commuter train known as the Parliamentary, a Scotch Express and a train carrying troops were those involved. Hundreds of people died or were injured. Most of the casualties were soldiers of the Royal Scots, on their way to Liverpool to board ship destined for Gallipoli.

This is a story of small acts of compassion and heroism by ordinary people who did all they could to help those hurt in the crash. Railwaymen, villagers from Gretna Green and passers-by all joined the rescue effort to save lives and comfort the wounded. Others placed duty above all and remained at their posts.

Two signalmen in the Quintinshill box had come to an arrangement to change their working hours. This scheme may have contributed to the causes of the disaster, though particular railway lines being busy and the late running of trains were factors too. The death toll remains the highest in any accident on British railways. Months later the Courts decided where the blame lay; but who had had their hand on the signal lever?





Publication Date:

2019 August


Paperback; 210 x 148mm




One black and white illustration

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