REDCAR – Bus Crash 1934

Accreditation Cleveland Standard 14/07/1934


Conductress  Who  Had  No
Thought   For  Herself

            One of the worst road accidents Redcar has ever seen occurred on Wednesday morning 11th, July, 1934, when two United buses, travelling in opposite directions, met in a head on collision and were completely wrecked.

            A number of scholars at the Coatham and Sacred Heart Schools were in one bus. One minute they were chatting happily – some, possibly, about their prospects in the current matriculation examination – and in the next were flung, injured and bleeding in tragic confusion amidst a twisted mass of wreckage, broken glass, and uprooted seats.

            Thirty persons, mainly children, were injured although there were no deaths; the condition of some of the victims was reported to be serious.

            The Rev. H. D. Littler, head master of Coatham School, who is ill with tonsillitis, has not been told of the accident.

            The buses met with such a terrible force that they were locked together, with engines and bonnets stoved into the drivers’ seats, and the drivers cabins smashed to matchwood a twisted mass of splintered wooden framework and metal.

            One of the first men to render first aid was a man who was sitting on the Promenade reading when the collision occurred. Looking round, he saw the buses jammed into one another, the fronts telescoped.

            The children in the bus were screaming and he ran and opened the emergency door.

            No one escaped injury. The two drivers C. D…… who was driving the bus from Saltburn to Redcar, and Mr. R. J. V. R……., who was driving the bus from Redcar to Loftus, were the most seriously hurt, and it was a miracle how they escaped instant death.

            It was amazing that in this crisis of tremendous mental and physical agony the school children behaved with such fortitude and courage.

            What greater courage could there have been than that of F. H…, a boy of Coatham School, who suffering agonies from a broken nose, slipped out of the smashed-up bus and strolled along the sands to regain his composure/

            Another boy, G.R. N…… walked into his form-room at Coatham School bleeding freely, his coat with wet blood from a three inch gash to his head. He thought there were others more seriously injured than himself who should have first assistance.

Played Cricket Later! 

            He was accompanied by T. C…., who arrived at the school dazed and suffering from severe shock. He was sent home, but in the afternoon he came to the sports field and played cricket!

            The accident occurred opposite Lime Road, at the bend of the Promenade at the Zetland Park end of Granville Terrace.

            Shortly before the collision took place the road had been watered and it is understood that the Saltburn-Redcar bus skidded across the road for a distance of about thirty yards before crashing, head-on, into the other bus, bound for Loftus, which contained seven passengers.

            Very few people were about at the time of the accidents, but the noise of the crash brought residents of Granville Terrace told me (writes a “Standard” representative) how she was looking out of her bedroom window when the collision occurred.

            “It was horrible!” she said. “The two buses simply met head-on and crumpled up. I heard screams and saw somebody fall on to the road. It was an awful sight!”

Women’s Valiant Work

            She went on to describe how, with others mainly women, she assisted in extricating the injured from the wreckage and treated their injuries as best they could in their homes, turned for the time being into first aid stations.

            Miss. D C……, a school teacher, of …………, was probably the first on the scene of the accident. She was leaving her home at the time and as soon as the crash occurred she summoned a doctor.

            Doctors G. Young, McClean, and Mac Murray rushed to the accident. Dr. A. S. Robinson and Miss E. B…… dealt with the cases at the Stead Hospital.

            All available hospital accommodation in the district was brought into use to deal with the injured, many of whom went straight to their homes. A number of the injured were taken to the Stead Memorial Hospital.

            The two drivers were later removed from the Stead Hospital to North Ormesby.

            Motor vans belonging to the Electricity Departments of the Corporation and to private traders, as well as private cars, were willingly and hastily transformed into ambulance, and within a short time all involved in the smash were receiving treatment, either in hospital or at home or neighbouring houses.

            Most of the injured were suffering from cuts and lacerations, caused by splintered glass, and bruises and abrasions of the legs caused by their being violently thrown against the seats in front.

Marske Girl’s Pluck

            Less than an hour after the accident I spoke to Miss N.R…… a bus conductress, who was sitting behind D, the driver of the Redcar bus. She was in bed suffering from a nasty head wound.

            With commendable pluck she had rushed for medical assistance, realizing that there were others more seriously hurt and in more urgent need of attention than herself.

            When she arrived home she was soaked to the skin in blood.

            Describing what she remembered of the accident she said: “I noticed nothing unusual until I felt the bus slide forward in a long skid. Then, I saw the other bus rushing straight at us. I could do nothing. It was horrible. The next minute we had crashed. There was a horrible bump and I remember nothing more until I got out of the bus with blood streaming down my face.

“Seemed to Skid”

” Mr. T. B…… was riding a bicycle behind the Loftus bus when the accident happened.

            “I saw the other bus approaching (he told me) and suddenly it seemed to skid for about 30 yards. Both buses were travelling an average speed and I think the skid was caused by the Redcar bus coming into the newly wet surface of the road after travelling on gravel from the Redcar boundary. Mr. ……… assisted in extricating the victims.

            Mr. S. C….. Who is at present staying in Redcar said that he was a passenger on the Loftus bus, “Our bus was on the correct side of the road which seemed to be well watered? As we approached the end of Granville Terrace the other bus rounded the corner. It skidded over to its wrong side directly in front of our bus. The impact was terrific and people were thrown about the bus. The front of the bus was telescoped and we had to use the emergency door. I did not know I was injured until I felt blood streaming down my face.”

Shot out of Bus

            The conductor of the Loftus bus was collecting fares just before the accident. He heard some one shout. I looked up “he said,” and saw the other bus a few yards away. The next thing was that I was out of the bus and lying on the road.” My head felt queer and when I touched the back I thought there was a piece of bone sticking out. It turned out to be a piece of wood.


dean March 4, 2010 Redcar