Matthew Sainsbury

Dates: b. Portsmouth, England, 17 July 1886 d. July 1928

Cemetery Location: Block E, Row 3, Plot 22


The town of Revelstoke was deeply affected by the news of the death of three of its residents, Matthew Sainsbury (Stanbury), William Clay and Maurice Roger, in an engine explosion in July 1928. The explosion occurred near Glacier, caused by a water shortage in the boiler of the train engine. An incident inquiry did not find the cause of the water shortage, and the engineer had not reported engine defects before the ill-fated train began its journey.

Matthew Sainsbury was born in England in 1892, coming to Canada in his early teens and joining the Canadian Pacific Railway as a wiper in 1920. His entire Canadian Pacific Railway career was served on the Revelstoke Division.

During World War I, Matthew enlisted with the 54th Kootenay Battalion, proceeding overseas with one of the first drafts from this battalion. He was then transferred to the 7th Battalion, British Columbia Regiment, and served with distinction until the end of the war. Matthew was wounded several times and before the accident had coughed up a fragment of shrapnel that had been embedded in a lung since 1916.

He was married in London, England, in 1917, to Miss Eva Marie Davis and they had four girls: Rita, Donna, Eileen and Joan.

Returning from overseas, Matthew resumed work with CPR as a fireman and at the time his death had recently passed his engineer examinations. He was an exceptionally powerful man and prominent in boxing and wrestling circles.

Matthew was 42, Maurice, 43 and William, 42 years old when their lives were tragically cut short.