Sydney Morning Herald -
The Sydney Morning Herald - Monday 29 December 1879
Letter to the Editor
RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT
TO THE EDITOR OF THE HERALD.
Sir, There are
one or two facts connected with the sad death of young Mr Learmonth that should no longer be kept back, because I think their suppression has given an erroneous idea of the whole matter.
It has been stated in
the papers that the poor youth "jumped out of the train when passing Croydon " at the rate of twenty miles an hour". "Rash," "foolish,' "careless,'' and similar epithets have been freely applied
to this supposed action on his part. Now, I am informed, that at the inquest it came out -
1 That no passengers
should have been allowed in that particular train at all.
2 That the door
of the carriage in which young Learmonth travelled was not locked.
3 That his return
ticket was for Ashfield, not Croydon
Further I am informed
that a certain carter was an eye witness at the accident, and declares that he saw the unfortunate youth leaning on the door, and that to him the door seemed to open suddenly, causing
Learmonth to fall out. Now, this, I think, is a far more probable account ot the accident.
As one who knew
Learmonth very intimately, who, for two years and a half saw him almost daily, and was more conversant with the events of his daily life during that time than even members of his own family could be - as, moreover,
one who knew
the lad's character, tendencies, and disposition thoroughly, I venture to aflirm that, in my opinion Learmonth was not capable of the rash, foolish and mad action ascribed to him. Besides,
if he intended to jump
from the train, why should he do so at Croydon, which was not his destination.
It is possible
that the supposition in question has been encouraged with the kindly intention of shielding those officials to whom neglect of duty in this instance may be fairly ascribed. I sympathise
with that intention, but is it right or just to the young man's relatives that his memory should be under this reproach? I wish to mention that I am writing this entirely on my
own account. I have held no communication with the family on the subject. But, as one who claimed the friendship and affection ot the lad in no ordinary degree, I unwilling to allow a supposition of this nature to remain unchallenged,
when there are facts which point
to a different conclusion.
I am, Sir