Posts tagged #CPR accident

Camile Muyleart & James Rich


Camille Muyleart: b. Belgium, date unknown d. 1906

James Rich: b. Scotland, date unknown d. 1906

Cemetery location:

Camille Muyleart: Block F, Row 7, Plot 38

James Rich: Block F, Row 7, Plot 39


In June 1906, a construction company was working on a steel railway bridge east of Revelstoke on the area of track known as “the loops.” The bridge was 100 feet above the streambed. A span 70 feet long was being lowered into position when the tackle gave way and the span crashed some feet below. When it crashed, it hit and killed two men who were working on the bridge. They were Camille Muyleart of Belgium and James Rich of Scotland. Nothing is known of these individuals except for what is on their tombstones. These are quite elaborate tombstones for railway workers, and it is possible that the railway union or other workers could have paid for them.

William Joseph Phillips

Dates: b. 1890 d. 3 July 1918

Cemetery location: Block C, Row 8, Plot 25


On 3 July 1918, CPR locomotive fireman William Joseph Phillips was working on Engine 5759 at Revelstoke. The engine was one of the newest in the division, and was being used to supply steam to the stationary boilers while they were being changed from oil to coal burners.  The gauge glass on the engine was not registering correctly, and without being aware of it, there was a shortage of water in the boiler.  Because of this, the boiler exploded, killing Phillips and causing damage in the CPR yard. 

The newspaper accounts reported:

“The impact of the explosion was tremendous.  The whole upper structure of the locomotive was lifted high in the air, landing about 100 feet in a westerly direction, turning a complete somersault and becoming entirely reversed. The fall of the huge bulk was so great as to bury itself partially into the roadbed, smashing through rails and ties. The drive wheels of the locomotive and the tender remained on the rails. The cab of the locomotive, in which the unfortunate fireman was at the time of the accident, was blown over 200 feet in a north-easterly direction, embedding itself into the side of a building use for stores. The body of the dead man was found about 75 feet distant, wedged under the drive wheels of a locomotive on an adjacent track.”

Nearby houses were hit by the debris from the engine, and several windows were broken. The roof and windows of the back shops were damaged. 

Joseph Phillips was 28 years old and married to Lottie Lee, whose father and brother both died during World War I. They had a young child at the time of Phillips’s death. Phillips had been in the employ of the CPR for about eight years.

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.