One account was from a passenger who was travelling with his wife and widowed sister and they were in the second coach. The man, Louis Huntley, spoke of him telling his wife to jump out of the carriage, which she did but he saw his sister, trapped from the waist down by the weight of the mangled wreckage. He couldn’t pull her free and as he saw the flames coming nearer, he had no choice but to jump also and leave his poor sister there to die in the flames.
A public house nearby, called The Railway Tavern, became the place to treat any injuries. More than 30 people were treated for injuries and there were 11 gravely injured passengers.
Because of the intensity of the fire, there weren't many human remains to identify those who had died. Personal effects such as rings, watches, even a distinctive shirt were used to identify those who had perished. The total number of those who died was 16 (although some reports say 13 and others say 15 but I have put 16 as I had this number from the inquiry into the accident) and this is where the mystery of 2 children begins.
When the search of body parts and personal effects was taken, the remains of 2 children were found but only the trunks of the bodies. They were lying close together near the Gloucester side of the bridge and had no personal effects on them. Close by, there was a shoe, which had partial remains of a foot inside and these shoes measured around 9” in length. The children were aged, one male who was 10-15 years of age and the other child was aged around 3 to 7 years of age. No one claimed these poor children.
All the other people who had died in the horrific crash had been identified apart from these 2 children and 1 other passenger. The other passenger was later identified by a survivor from the accident and he was Mr Nixon, Clerk from Halifax. The survivor was shown a photo of Mr Nixon and identified him as he had shared a compartment on the train. Mr Nixon never returned home to his mother and had written to her the day before the crash, saying he would be getting the train. His being declared as dead was the first time under the new Coroner’s Act that being declared dead without an actual body was actioned.
During the inquest, which was held in the nearby village of Wotton-under-Edge (where the haunted Ancient Ram Inn stands) a porter at Gloucester station said he had seen 2 unaccompanied children travelling together on the train. He said one was a girl around 12 and the boy was around 9 years of age. He noticed they had school caps on and had their own tickets. He could not recall how they were dressed. Another possible clue to the children’s identity was a school badge on a blazer that was found. The motto on the badge was “Luce Magistra”, which roughly translates to “With the light as my teacher”. This badge was found to belong to a girls school in Cornwall but it had been found out that a consignment of 10 of these blazers had been a package on the train and had been sent from a Bradford firm so this clue was a dead end.
These poor children were labelled as Number 9 and Number 10 as no one claimed them despite publicising these 2 children countywide. Their remains were buried in the churchyard in a mass grave. There has been a memorial stone for those who perished at the site of the crash and the children are included as “Two Unknown”.