Page last updated at 20:57 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 21:57 UK

Memorial for WWI train accident

Memorial service
The soldiers mistook Bere Ferrers station for Exeter

A World War I train accident in which 10 soldiers from New Zealand were killed has been remembered in a service in a Devon village.

The men died on 24 September 1917 when they mistakenly got off their train at Bere Ferrers thinking they had arrived at their destination of Exeter.

In fact the train had only stopped for signals and the men were hit by an express train on the other track.

The service was the result of a request by the New Zealand Army Museum.

The men, not knowing the geography of the UK at all, jumped off and the train ploughed into them
Peter Williams, Royal British Legion

It contacted the Royal British Legion hoping to find out about New Zealand servicemen who are buried in Devon and Cornwall.

The volunteer soldiers had arrived in Plymouth from New Zealand and were en route to Salisbury Plain for training when the accident happened.

Seven of them were killed outright, three others died later in hospital.

Peter Williams, from the Royal British Legion, said: "The men had been told their first stop would be Exeter.

"Several soldiers had been detailed to get off and go to the back of the train to get supplies to dish out to the troops."

He said they had been confused by an "unscheduled" stop at Bere Ferrers.

"The men, not knowing the geography of the UK at all, jumped off and the train ploughed into them."

As well as the memorial service, a plaque bearing the names of the men was unveiled at Bere Ferrers station.

Wreaths were laid at the village's war memorial at 1534 BST, the exact moment the accident happened.



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