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All railway disasters are terrible, but there was an aspect to this one which was particularly tragic . It was a commuter train to the Kent dormitory towns and a high proportion of the victims were young to middle-aged men returning home from the City. It therefore left a very large number of children without their fathers, often in clusters in various towns. At my school there were so many victims the school had to make special arrangements for the kids. Thirty years later I met one of my old teachers again and one of the first things he asked me was whether I was a Lewisham Boy - such was the impact it made on staff and pupils alike. This must have been repeated at a number of other schools in the area.

Remarkably, Spitfire suffered relatively little damage and was soon back in service. Nowadays they would have changed its name out of consideration of the feelings of those who had suffered a loss, but in those days they looked at things differently. I still can't see a picture of it without a twinge of sadness - and I was one of the lucky ones.
 
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