Posts tagged #CPR fatality

Charles Ambro Davis

Dates: b. Yorkshire, England, 1877 d. Taft, 1 August 1912

Cemetery Location: Block C, Row 3, Plot 41


The sudden death of English-born Charles Davis, Presbyterian student and missionary at Taft and Three Valley (approximately 20 kilometers west of Revelstoke) in August 1912, was a shock to the town.

Apparently Charles was onboard a logging train, seated in the front car with one foot hanging over. When the train mounted a steep grade, jerking the cars, Charles was thrown from the car and struck on the head by a brake beam, the blow proving fatal.

At the time of the accident, Charles was 35 years old and a student of Manitoba College. Charles had filled the pulpit for Rev. Stevenson in Revelstoke, and was a widely travelled individual (he had been a missionary to the soldiers in India).

Alpin Dewar

Dates: b. 1882 d. 9 July 1909

Cemetery Location: Block F, Row 9, Plot 26


On 9 July 1909, Canadian Pacific Railway engineer Alpin Dewar and his fireman J. Beattie were killed when their train left the tracks near Griffith Siding, east of Rogers Pass. The engine and several cars rolled down an embankment, striking a telegraph pole and throwing Alpin from the train. Nine other crewmembers on board escaped serious injury.

It was thought that the track may have expanded in the heat causing the derailment, but the Coroner’s inquest was inconclusive. The jury found no evidence to indicate the train was travelling at excessive speed or out of control. They also found that:

“the train was equipped with a sufficient crew, the said crew were giving proper attention to their duties, and safety appliances were in good working order.”

Alpin had been a long-term resident of Revelstoke and left behind his wife Annie and child. He was only 27 years old at the time of the accident, and J. Beattie, just 25.

Six weeks later, Annie’s brother Stewart McGuire drowned in Loon Lake, near Phoenix, B.C. According to his obituary, Stewart was a well-liked Revelstoke resident who worked at Bews Drug and Stationery Store.

Frank Alfred Ford

Saint Peter's Anglican Church and rectory, Revelstoke.

Saint Peter's Anglican Church and rectory, Revelstoke.

Dates: b. 1868 d. 27 January 1899

Cemetery location: Block C, Row 6, Plot 17


Frank Ford was the vicar at St. Peter’s Anglican Church from 1897 until his death in 1899. He had come to Canada from Plymouth, England.  At the end of January 1899, he traveled by train to Rogers Pass to visit some parishioners there. On the way back the train stopped briefly at Albert Canyon and Rev. Ford stepped off to speak to someone on the platform.  As the train started to pull away, Rev. Ford ran to board the train, but slipped and fell under the wheels. He was brought to the private hospital at the top of Douglas Street, but did not survive. 

The parish was devastated by his death and created memorials to him, including the marker in the cemetery, and a memorial plaque in the church.  A photograph in the museum reveals this gravesite used to have picket fence around it.

David & James Lyttle (Little)


James T. Lyttle: b. 1867 d. 11 November 1898

David Lyttle: b. 1875 d. 3 April 1905

Cemetery Location:

James T. Lyttle: Block C, Row 6, Plot 24

David Lyttle: Block C, Row 6, Plot 30


On 10 November 1898, engineer James Lyttle suffered severe injuries in a freight train accident, 1½ miles east of Shuswap, British Columbia. He died the following day.

The explosion of the engine boiler, discovered about 20 feet from the overturned cars, was most likely the cause of the incident, which also killed brakeman A. E. Reid and injured one other crewmember.

The sympathy of the community was evident in the large numbers who attended the funerals of Lyttle and Reid. Covering the funerals of both men, the Herald newspaper wrote, “While railroading has its certain dangers, we are apt to forget that much of the loss of life and maiming of good men is largely unnecessary; that it is due to the neglect and indifference on the part of corporations.”

At the time of his death, James had a wife, Isabella J. Lyttle, and a young son, Frederick. Another son, James, had died at the age of one year, just a few months prior to his father's death.

Sadly, seven years later, James’s brother David Lyttle was also killed in a CPR accident, six miles from Golden. The freight train ran into a rockslide and was derailed, the locomotive and four cars going over the embankment into the Kicking Horse River below. Engineer Lyttle was caught under the wrecked engine and killed instantly, while Fireman Dickey had an arm and two legs broken (he later died in Golden hospital). The rock that had caused the accident was so large that it had to be blasted out afterwards.

David was just 30 years old when he died, leaving behind a widow and two young daughters.

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.

Andrew Shepherd Sr. & Jnr.


Andrew Shepherd Sr.: b. Scotland, 1887 d. Revelstoke, 2 March 1936

Andrew Shepherd Jr.: b. 1922 d. 21 September 1927

Cemetery Location:

Andrew Shepherd: Block E, Row 2, Plot 20

Andrew W. Shepherd: Block E, Row 2, Plot 21


Canadian Pacific Railway carman Andrew Shepherd was 49 when he and 15 others died in one of Revelstoke’s most devastating railway accidents.

The incident occurred on 2 March 1936, when a tender (coal-car) broke loose on the steep grade towards Illecillewaet, near the scene of huge snowslides that had caused a derailment at Albert Canyon (34 kms east of Revelstoke). The runaway car mowed down unsuspecting workmen on the tracks, before colliding with the derailed freight engine. Andrew was killed instantly either jumping or being thrown from the cab of the runaway tender; his body was recovered from the river below.

Andrew joined the CPR in June 1912, serving in a munitions factory in the United Kingdom for three years during World War I, and returning to Revelstoke in 1919. He was a Past Noble Grand of Selkirk Lodge No. 26, I.O.O.F., and was District Deputy Grand Master of District No. 13, I.O.O.F. at the time of his death.

Andrew had a wife and two children: Billy and Christine. A third child, Andrew Shepherd Jr., died from polio at the age of five, in 1927.