'Driver's Life for Little Girl...'
This fairly innocuous inscription says....
OF MY DEAR HUSBAND
EDWARD T. HARRIS
KILLED ON THE GT ORME TRAMWAY
AUG 23RD 1932
AGED 30 YEARS
"REST IN PEACE"
...but gives no hint of the tragedy around his death.
Information from francisfrith.com tells us there was a tram smash on the Great Orme and Edward Harris was the driver of the tram. This was the most serious runaway and crash that happened on this line.
Car number 4 broke away from the haulage cable, crashed into a wall dislodging coping stones causing passenger injuries. The driver Edward Harris was thrown sideways and crushed to death. Riding with the driver was a 12 year old girl, Margaret Worthington, whom the driver had courageously scooped up, but they were both crushed. Because she was not meant to be there when the tram was in motion Edward Harris was not recognized for his bravery.
Various claims for compensation by the passengers resulted in the winding up of this Tramway Company. Later, it passed into the hands of the Great Orme Railway Company.
The accident happened because of new metal drawbar which had been replaced. But, the tramway company appeared to have been lax in their specifications in ordering this item. The drawbar only had an internal tension in one direction, and not a side by side internal direction as well. In addition there were other fairly serious problems in the braking system.
On a positive note the trams were refitted with a highly efficient system of brakes which still remain in use today.
Further investigation in the archives of The Singapore Free Press & Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942) in 7th Sept 1932 Page 8, gives the original newspaper article with the headline "Driver's Life for Little Girl".
Here, it explains the little girl Margaret Worthington (aged 10 in this newspaper article) was the daughter of one of Edward Harris's colleagues who was only there because she had brought her father's dinner that day. She had undergone a foot amputation in hospital but sadly died.