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Manton Tunnel injury: George Buckby

In our previous post in this series, we started looking at the men injured in the 1924 Manton tunnel accident. So far we’ve been using paper-based records – usually that’s all that’s available. It’s not often you get to talk with someone who remembers the accidents that feature in the Railway Work, Life & Death project database. That’s especially so when the accident took place 100 years ago. But in the case of the Manton accident, this is exactly what’s happened, thanks to Dorothy Buckby, daughter of the 5th and final man injured in the accident – George Buckby.

Black and white portrait photograph, showing a middle-aged husband and wife, and between them a teenaged daughter. All dressed in smart clothes.
Alice, Dorothy and George Buckby, seen in the 1930s.
Courtesy Dorothy Buckby.

George Buckby (1881-1965)

Or, to give him his full name, John George Buckby. He was born on 10 April 1881, in Wing, to John Buckby, an agricultural labourer, and Sarah. However, Dorothy told us that he went by his middle name. An important thing to get right if we’re to remember him. It’s also another demonstration of the challenges of relying on the formal record.

In this case we’re particularly lucky to have been able to talk with Dorothy, as the formal record for her father is relatively slim. By the 1901 Census George had joined the railway, as a wagon greaser; at this point he was still living at home with his parents. We know he joined the National Union of Railwaymen in 1917, at its Oakham branch, as a platelayer (a track worker).

He married Alice Dewar in 1918; Dorothy was born in 1920. They were living in Wing on the 1921 Census, remaining in the village at the time of the 1939 Register. George was still employed as a track worker at that point. As Dorothy recalled, he continued working on the railway until his retirement after the Second World War. He died in around 1965.

Colour image of an elderly lady, with medium length grey hair, smiling.
Dorothy Buckby in April 2024.


The Manton accident: Dorothy’s recollections

In April I was fortunate enough to be able to meet and talk with Dorothy, about her life and about her father’s life – including the Manton tunnel accident. Dorothy was remarkable, not least for the clarity of her recollections of the events of 100 years ago. She remembered the accident which injured her father George and the other men:


Dorothy recalled the medical treatment her father received, in the pre-NHS era:


She also thought about her father’s convalescence and support available from different sources:


We’d like to extend particular thanks to Dorothy, for being willing to share her memories with us, and with you. We’d also like to thank Dorothy’s neighbours in Wing, Jane and Alisdair, who contacted us and helped us to make contact with Dorothy.


In our final post in this series, we look at how the Manton tunnel accident is being remembered, 100 years after the event.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback:Manton Tunnel: Marking the centenary - Railway Work, Life & Death

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