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Bus Crash at Kilton Mill

A different view of the bus crash from the 1950s showing the United bus still in the stream, viewed from the Loftus side of the bridge, possibly from the former railway line that linked Whitecliffe mine with Loftus (Skinningrove) mine.

Bus Crash

One of several photographs we have of this bus crash on Mill Bank; the bus ending up in Kilton Beck.

Image courtesy of Alan Richardson.


Not the way to Skinningrove; a front view of the United bus in the woods at the bottom of Mill Bank. the brakes failed on the bus and so failed to negotiate the hair-pin bend on Carlin How bank. The bus ended up down the bank side. Two hours later the driver was back in the driving seat after crawling back up the bank, his only injury were cuts to the inside of his mouth sustained from the broken glass. Hardly surprising when the state of the bus front screen is viewed.
Image courtesy of Eric Johnson, updates courtesy of Terry Clark, Dave and Mr Bint. 

Down In The Woods

A bus where a bus shouldn’t be! In the wood at the bottom of Mill Bank. Terry Clarke commented: “Ha ha ha, sorry you should not laugh but that was the day when the brakes failed on the bus, I could be wrong but the driver that day was a local lad from Loftus. The bus ended behind Spedding’s; a few feet from the beck.” Dave commented: “That was Paul Hart who was the driver; who is my uncle.” We understand the unfortunate driver was called Paul (Sprag) Hart from Loftus; the brakes failed on the bus and so failed to negotiate the hair-pin bend on Carlin How bank. The bus ended up down the bank side. Two hours later Paul was back in the driving seat after crawling back up the bank, his only injury were cuts to the inside of his mouth sustained from the broken glass. Today the crash barrier would prevent such an incident occurring. Emma Wright added: “Remember it as my dad was a bus driver at the time and we went down to see it!”

Image courtesy of Eric Johnson; thanks to Terry Clark, Dave, Mr Bint and Emma Wright for the updates.

Dial 999

This is the first of four photographs taken by Ted Morgan and loaned to us by Eric Johnson, I think that if an incident like this happened today the traffic would be stopped, not left to go by as though nothing unusual was happening.  By the look of the car, the smoking Mini, I think (but I know you people out there will correct me if I am wrong) the year would be  late 1950’s or early 1960’s.  Do you remember this accident? Derick Pearson advises: “The Minis however were not released until late 1959 so I would place this as early 1960s.” Kev Hamlinton agreed with this identification; whilst Bryan Richardson believes: ”The car with the damaged front could have been driven by Richard Aitken who I think lived in Wood View?”

Malcom Covell tells us: ”Richard, (and wife Kaye and Mother) Aitken lived at no 3 Wood View. We, Covell’s, lived at no 1. Wood View. The houses were built by Knaggs  in the mid 1960′s. I do have a recollection of Richard been involved in an accident on Loftus Bank and a car catching fire. Richard started a ready mix concrete franchise.” John Aitken adds further information: “I’m Richard Aitken’s son, and he did indeed have a near fatal accident there before I was born, maybe 1964? I was always told he ran into the back of a truck, but having checked with Mumsie and he did run into the back of a truck, but it kept going. That was his car, a Mini though rather than a Morris minor.
I remember running through the house at No.3 Wood View when it only had bare floorboards and made a lot of noise. I had was nearly 3 when we moved in so our’s must have been completed in 1968, perhaps April. Aunty Muriel in No1 and Aunty Brenda (Horness) in No.5. Neither were Aunties of course, everyone was called Aunty then.”

Image courtesy of Ted Morgan and thanks to Derick Pearson, Bryan Richardson, Kev Hamlinton, Malcolm Covell and John Aitken for the updates.

Are We On Fire?

The bus driver may well have been asking that question as the flames sweep across the road towards the bus. The bus possibly being one run by Saltburn Motor Services (Kelly’s to many locals), running the service from Saltburn to Loftus via the notorious Spa Bank.

Image courtesy of Ted Morgan, loaned by Eric Johnson.

Were You There?

Okay own up were you one of the two boys watching the firemen?  I don’t think they would have been allowed  to be so close  today, nor would the bus have been allowed to pass an obviously burning vehicle!

Image courtesy of Ted Morgan, loaned by Eric Johnson.

Still Fire Fighting

Looks to me as though the fireman walking up the bank has had enough, I could have put the caption ’Had Enough I Am Going Home’ but I am sure that is not the case it must have been a very trying time for all of them.  Knowing that the accident involved Richard Aitken of Loftus, it must have been a frightening experience!

Image courtesy of Ted Morgan via Eric Johnson.

Bus Crash 1950′s

The Archive does have some information on this photograph kindly loaned by Kathleen Hicks: “The Skinningrove night shift were coming home when the accident happened and John McLaren crawled to Loftus, after having his leg brken in the accident, to get help.  John Bennett (Senior) drove the break down vehicle that hauled the bus from the beck.” Derick Pearson advised: “The bus had gone straight along the front of Kilton Mill (mill building) and over the bank into the stream.   Looks as though there is snow on the ground. The sign just above the men’s heads is what used to be the Advisory ‘Stop and get into first gear’ Sign before attempting the bank, for the United buses.” Craig W. tells us: ”The recovery truck is a World War II ex-army Canadian Ford or Chevrolet (CMP) that belonged to United buses, one of these could be seen in Loftus bus garage well into the 1970’s and this may be the one. Fascinated me as a kid because I was well into World War II vehicles. Possibly it’s still around as some were bought by classic vehicle collectors when sold off.” Pam McVay has added: ” My dad; Deryck Jones was a fitter at the united in the 50s and could well have been at the crash or even driving the recovery truck, My brother was a fitter there too and may know a bit more about the recovery truck.”

Image and information courtesy of Kathleen Hicks, also thanks to Derick Pearson, Craig W. and Pam McVay for the updates.

Oops – Accident on Loftus Bank

Enough of an unusual spectacle to attract a crowd of bystanders – but was it?  In those not-so-far-off days of crash gear boxes and cable brakes it only took a missed gear-change to set you off in a rearwards direction!  On todays crowded roads it would have ended up with a multiple vehicle collision. Craig Colledge updated our knowledge with: “I think that you will find that this was my grandad’s bus, George Colledge. I have various photographs at different angles of the accident blown up in frames on the wall. As I remember being told as a youngster it was at the bottom of Brotton. Grandad always said he has never seen so much raw eggs, live chickens and other animals thrown a cross the inside of a bus. (In them days you would take anything on board to market). The reason for the accident was that the steering failed. Or that is what he told me.”

Image courtesy of Howard Wilson, thanks to Craig Colledge for the update.