1910 06 24

1910 June 24th         Heroism on the Line

Railway Porter’s Brave Rescue

The daring heroism of a railway porter averted a shocking tragedy at Lyndhurst Road Railway Station on Sunday evening. The platform was crowded with people, who, after a visit to the New Forest, were awaiting the arrival of the Bournemouth to Waterloo express to return to their respective homes.

Amongst them were a considerable number of Southampton people, including a young man, believed to be employed at a local hotel, who was accompanied by his wife and several little children. As the train was running into the station one of the children, a boy about four years old, roamed to the edge of the platform to watch the approach of the gigantic engine and was observed to overbalance and fall between the line on which the train was traveling and the wall supporting the platform.

A cry of horror arose from some women as they saw the train bear down upon the child, who seemed certain to meet a terrible death. The driver looked out, and, seeing the boy, put on his brakes and did everything in his power to avert the tragedy.

But his efforts were unavailing, and the engine seemed certain to crush the child into a pulp, when the porter, a middle-aged man, named William Piercey, who happened to be wheeling some luggage past the spot, without considering the terrible risk he was running, jumped from the platform to the line.

The boy at that moment, paralysed with fright, had his head and one leg across the line, while one arm rested on the pipes which enclosed the signal wires. As Piercey jumped he was fortunately able to catch the boy’s arm, and, putting all his energy into a despairing effort, by main strength picked the boy up and dragged him into the six foot way.

So close was the escape of both from mutilation that the engine actually brushed Piercey’s coat as he cleared the rail. His heroic action evoked an outburst of applause from the horrified onlookers, who were greatly relieved that an apparently certain tragedy had been averted.

The parents of the child were so overjoyed that they could scarcely express their heartfelt gratitude to the brave rescuer, who took the congratulations showered on him with becoming modesty, and quietly resumed his duties as though nothing had happened.

One gentleman present declared it to be the most gallant act he had ever seen, and everyone agreed that it deserves a tangible award.


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