Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Monday, 13 October 2008 11:49 UK

Mystery of train death children

Charifield road bridge
The train crashed under the road bridge at Charfield station in 1928

Eighty years to the day after a train crash killed 15 people and injured a further 23, the bodies of two children remain unidentified.

A Leeds-to-Bristol night mail train crashed under the road bridge at Charfield station, South Gloucestershire on 13 October, 1928.

Rail archives show the train went through a red signal in thick fog.

Gas cylinders used to light carriages ignited on impact, and the ensuing fire hindered the identification of bodies.

Historian Ian Thomas, who has researched the crash, said the identities of the two small burnt bodies would probably always remain a puzzle.

Woman in black

A number of theories developed locally over the years.

There were suggestions at one time they were the bodies of two small men, possibly jockeys.

More bizarrely others believed they were the charred remains of a ventriloquist's dummies.

Mr Thomas said for many years an unknown woman visited the graves where the bodies were buried locally. But she has not been seen for several decades.

"Up until the late 1950s, early 1960s, a mysterious woman dressed in black, big long flowing black robe used to visit the graveyard on the anniversary on 13 October each year and lay flowers on the grave," said Mr Thomas.

"That continued unabated until the media intervened and tried to approach her one day and she was never seen again after that."

A memorial to all the victims stands in St James' churchyard.

Each anniversary of the crash, villagers lay floral tributes there.




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