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A terrific affair, attended with the loss of two lives, happened at the Beddingham gate crossing, about two miles south of this town [Lewes], yesterday evening; the down express train, which leaves the Lewes station, having run into a horse and van, with two men, and literally smashed the whole lot to atoms. It appears that at the place of accident the express was about a quarter of an hour late. The men with the van, which belongs to Mr Ellman [of Court House Farm, Beddingham], came up to the crossing a very few minutes before the train came in sight. They spoke to the gatekeeper, who unhasped the gate to allow them to pass, but almost in an instant after he had done so the train appeared in sight, and close upon the party. The evening being very dark and wet he re-closed the gate as soon as he could, but unfortunately did not hasp it; and, whether through some misunderstanding of the driver, or on account of the horse becoming restive, is not yet known, certain it is, however, that the animal got upon the rails, and moved quickly down the same side as that on which the express was coming at the rate of nearly forty miles an hour. The awful result may easily be anticipated. The train swept both horse and van before it at a terrific pace and, after a dreadful crash, smashed them to atoms, and killed both of the men. Of course the driver of the engine knew that an accident had happened but had but a faint idea of its consequences. By the time he reached Glynde, nearly a mile distant, he was enabled to bring his engine to a stand. The guard ran back as quick as possible, and was soon acquainted with the appalling nature of the catastrophe. Dr Smythe, of Lewes, was immediately brought to the scene of the disaster by special train, but nothing could be done, both men being dead, and the horse, or rather all that remained of it, being fearfully mangled. Some idea of the collision may be gathered from the fact that the van was smashed into nearly 500 splinters, that the head of the animal and different pats of its body were found at considerable distances, all the shoes having been torn off; and that the body of one of the men was found at least 70 yards from the place of collision, and the other not quite so far. The head of the first-named sufferer was dreadfully crushed, and his body presented many injuries; the last-named had one of his hands cut off, and had also sustained other injuries. The remains of both were conveyed to the Trevor Arms at Glynde during the evening.
The names of the unfortunate sufferers are – George Paine*, aged 50 years, shepherd with Mr Ellman, and Charles Moore, aged 18 years, labourer with Mr Ellman, both of Beddingham. The van was a four-wheeler.
As soon as all was done that could be done under such melancholy circumstances the express continued on its way to Hastings. The inquest will be opened tomorrow (this day) at the Trevor Arms, before Mr Gell, county coroner.
* Editor's note: This is a mistake for Samuel Payne - see inquest report. It was not a misprint as several other newspapers made the same mistake.
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