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The Day the Gas Bus set on fire

Wednesday 27th May 1942



Seven Persons Injured


"Seven persons were injured when the fire broke out on the Bartons bus travelling between Melton Mowbray and Nottingham this morning. A gas container on the roof of the vehicle was destroyed.

The bus was the 9:30 AM from Melton and was approaching the turn into Upper Broughton village when passengers saw flames licking the sides of the vehicle.

The driver pulled up promptly and soldiers who were among the full complement of passengers assisted women and children from the burning vehicle.

Ambulances were summoned and five of the injured were taken to the Nottingham General Hospital.

Local ARP wardens fought the flames with stirrup pumps and Dr Cuddogan of Long Clawson attended to the injured passengers before their removal, and a nearby house was converted into a casualty station.


The five passengers taken to hospital were Eva Arnell, 9, of 44 Victoria Street Melton, injury to knee and leg; Janet Finch, 28, of Nether Broughton, cuts; Robert Cook of 100, Classold Crescent London, injuries to hand; Jack Tighe, 22, Kentley Avenue, Gedling, lacerated calf and leg; and the driver Jack Upton of 4, Commercial Avenue, Beeston who suffered burns to the hand.

It is understood that the fire broke out at the front of the vehicle. When the burning gas container fell from the roof of the vehicle some alarm was caused among passengers and soldiers hastily smashed the windows and women and children were passed through. All the injuries were caused by glass."

One of the visitors to our exhibition in 2013 in Upper Broughton Village Hall was the son of Janet Finch who is mentioned in the newspaper article as one of the five passengers taken to hospital. He said that his mother was travelling on the bus to go and visit her husband who was serving in the forces and had been injured and was in a hospital in the north of the county. She never did get to see him in that hospital.



"The bus was fuelled by gas which was contained in a big green receptacle on the roof and one day it went on fire. No one was hurt but a poor lady had her coat burnt as she escaped through the emergency exit, which was a sad loss in the days of clothes rationing." Rachel Fairrie (nee Pryor)

"The bus comes up the hill from Nether Broughton, passed the school, gets to the bend and the bloody thing blew up. The whole structure was enveloped in flames. They were smashing windows, pushing ATS girls through and to get them out and there were a lot of theme very badly cut. It was eventually put out……. with stirrup pumps. My dad was one of the people who went to help put it out. It was one of the highlights of the war for Broughton." Peter Burgon


"Many times I couldn’t get on the bus to go for my music lesson because the buses were so overcrowded. Health and Safety didn’t come into it in those days. The bus was packed......Those old Leyland buses at the side of the driver’s cab, there was a covering over the wheel and they even had soldiers sitting on there to make sure they got into Nottingham." Audrey  Jones

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