5 November 1967: a sad day
Four RGS and RMS pupils, Ricky Spencer, Dianne Williams, and sisters Gay and Judith Breeds were tragically killed in the Hither Green rail crash on 5 November 1967. In 2008 a bench was placed on the Strand in Rye in their memory. Amongst those present at the ceremony were the vicar of Rye, the mayors of Rye and of Winchelsea and the Principal of Rye College. The amenity was provided by ROSA in conjunction with the Environmental Agency. The vicar of Rye conducted a short service, and ROSA President Richard Moore read a verse by Rudyard Kipling. Kevin Williams, Dianne’s brother, and John Breeds and Neil Perry, contemporaries of the four former students, paid tributes. The first person to sit on the bench was the late Mary Breeds, Gay and Judith’s mother, after which she cast two yellow roses into the River Tillingham where they floated long after the ceremony was over.
Inscription on the memorial bench
‘Dedicated to the memory of Dianne Williams, Ricky Spencer, Gay Breeds & Judith Breeds who lost their lives in the Hither Green Train Disaster November 5th 1967’
On 5 November 2017, the 50th anniversary of the crash, there was a memorial service held at Hither Green Station and at St. Mildred’s Church, Lee. Photo courtesy of Kevin Williams, whose sister Dianne was tragically killed in the crash.
Again courtesy of Kevin Williams, here is a link to the BBC London News Report on the memorial services. The report starts at 2.35 into the video. Watch it here
On the 50th anniversary of the crash, Heather Rendall (nee Bather) remembers Di and Ricky in Memories here
On 5 November 2018 a service of dedication was held at Hither Green Station where a memorial plaque to those who lost their lives in the crash was unveiled. This is in addition to the existing plaque commemorating Dianne Williams and the other 48 passengers who died which Dianne’s brother Kevin had organised.
John Breeds, who with his wife Geraldine attended the service representing Rye in general and the Breeds family in particular, has kindly sent in the following photos of the Order of Service and the plaque.
Kevin Williams unveils the new plaque, watched by John and Geraldine Breeds
The new plaque
The existing plaque