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Soham
SohamAccident
The accident on June 2nd 1944
Vital statistics
Type Small town
Level Tier Three
Location Cambridgeshire, England
Inhabitants Herbert Clarke
Frank Bridges
James Nightall
Benjamin Gimbert

Soham is a small town in the English county of Cambridgeshire. Its railway station was the site of a rail disaster that happened on Friday June the 2nd, 1944 just four days out from the D-Day invasion on the first Tuesday of that month.

Bio

During World War II, an ammunition train caught fire which could have been caused by a smidge of powder left from the last run but wasn't fully explained. At 12:15 a.m., the train was travelling through this station to Ipswich. About 90 minutes into Soham at about 1:45 a.m., the train driver looked back and saw flames coming from the first wagon behind the locomotive's tender. With the train halted and instead running for safety, the driver Benjamin Gimbert instructed his fireman James Nightall to uncouple the first wagon's back coupling from the other wagons to prevent a full explosion. Nightall knew the fire was serious and Gimbert tried to get the train away from the station at one hundred and forty yards before the bombs blew up, killing Nightall immediately during the blast.

The next day, the signal man Frank Bridges who was on the opposite platform at Soham died in hospital from his wounds of the explosion. Gimbert survived although badly injured and Herbert Clarke, the train guard survived although suffering a bit of shock and stunned by the huge blast. Severely injured were five others and another twenty-two had minor injures. A month after the explosion, the driver and fireman were awarded the George Cross for their brave efforts.

Herbert Clarke's surname was given by WildNorWester to the driver, James Clarke who was the driver of Winston. The red tender engine who had James' design was severely wrecked and Clarke killed in action by the ammunition explosion. The date of this accident happened on Tuesday May the 30th, 1944 about seven days later towards the D-Day invasion which could lead to a decisive Allied victory against the Germans in all of France, Belgium and The Netherlands.

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