Mystified by Tay Bridge claims

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I WAS fascinated to read of Robin Lumley’s contention that there were more victims of the Tay Bridge Disaster than had ever been thought before (News, 1 December).

But how does he account for the fact that the three men who collected the tickets of the Dundee-bound passengers on that ill-fated train at St Fort didn’t notice all these extra people? Their evidence to the official inquiry runs to more than 5,500 words. They were closely cross-examined and gave evidence in detail about who was on the train – two season ticket holders were, for example, taken into account, as were two off-duty guards – and yet there is no hint that there were all these extra people apparently travelling without tickets.

The 650-page report of the official inquiry makes fascinating reading, as my husband the late John Prebble, author of that Tay Bridge book, The High Girders, discovered when in 1955 he found, much to his surprise, that Her Majesty’s Stationery Office still had a copy. He bought it for the original price of 12 shillings. That is one of many unpublished anecdotes behind his writings which I reveal in my autobiography, due out in January.

Jan Prebble, London

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