Tributes to pair who died in Itchingfield train crash 50 years ago

Families of Mick Guppy and John Myles with a plaque remembering them at Horsham Railway Station
Families of Mick Guppy and John Myles with a plaque remembering them at Horsham Railway Station

Emotional tributes were paid to two men who died in a train crash 50 years ago at the unveiling of a plaque at Horsham Railway Station.

Relatives and former work colleagues of Mick Guppy and John Myles were among the dozens of attendees paying their respects on Sunday (October 26).

Mr Guppy, a train driver, and firefighter Mr Myles were killed when two trains collided near the Itchingfield junction on March 5 1964.

Paul Edwards, of the Brighton branch of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF), organised for a plaque at the railway station as well as a gathering of ASLEF members in memory of the pair.

He said: “This is something we wanted to do as an act of remembrance.

“It is overwhelming to know that after all these years, people still wanted to pay their respects and remember them for the right reasons.

“There is a strong community among us - the camaraderie is second to none.”

At the emotional ceremony, Mr Guppy’s son Tim and Joan McAulliffe, the eldest sister of Mr Myles, unveiled the plaque, and a minute’s silence was held.

On the night of the collision, a freight train running from Brighton to Three Bridges ran past adverse signals, it is reported, and collided with a train travelling from Three Bridges to Chichester near Horsham.

An investigation was carried out, but ASLEF members remain sceptical about the outcome, Paul added.

He said: “The big tragedy was the real truth never really came out.

“There was an investigation but because they died at the scene they were unable to give their account.

“Two men were lost in the prime of their lives.

“The driver left three young children and the fireman had his whole life in front of him.”

The plaque, reproduced above, includes the inscription:

‘Dead men tell no tales’, John Dryden 1681

Paul added that the plaque will serve as a ‘permanent reminder’ to the public of the tragic accident.