Bere Ferrers Rail Accident

The men died on 24 September 1917 when they mistakenly got off their train at Bere Ferrers thinking they had arrived at their destination of Exeter.

In fact the train had only stopped for signals and the men were hit by an express train on the other track.

The service was the result of a request by the New Zealand Army Museum.

The station was the scene of a fatal railway accident on 24 September 1917.The soldiers from New Zealand had arrived in Plymouth on two troopships, Ulimaroa and Norman. They were en-route from the docks to Sling Camp on the Salisbury Plains when the tragedy occurred. At Bere Ferrers station, the train made an unscheduled stop. The soldiers had been told that they would be given rations upon arrival at Exeter station. Thinking they had arrived at Exeter and being unaccustomed to British railways, they climbed down on to the down line. They were struck almost immediately and killed by an oncoming express heading towards Plymouth. The men are buried at Efford war cemetery in Plymouth. A plaque in their memory was unveiled in 2001 in the village.

The adjourned inquest on the New Zealand soldiers killed in the railway accident at Bere Ferrers Station last week was resumed yesterday by Mr. R. Robinson Rodd (Coroner) at Bere Ferrers. A train was standing in Bere Ferrers Station on Monday afternoon last and some New Zealand soldiers got down from the train on to the permanent way, not knowing that an express train was due to pass through. The train dashed into the men, killing nine and injuring three. One of the latter (Private Trussell) subsequently died at Tavistock Hospital.