David A. Kennedy, PhD
Catherine McAllister’s memorial is at St Agatha’s Roman Catholic Church, Kingston upon Thames. She was a respected and much loved assistant matron at Kingston Infirmary, now Kingston Hospital. Her promising career was cut short when, on 15 August 1915, she travelled home to Co. Down via the London and North Western Railway’s Irish Mail train which suffered a catastrophic derailment near Weedon, Northamptonshire. Although she was rescued from the wrecked train, she had severe injuries and died shortly after admission to hospital. An official railway accident report concluded that the derailment was caused because the track was put out of alignment by a detached coupling rod of a locomotive hauling a train that had travelled in the opposite direction. An analysis of the Irish Mail disaster which led to Catherine McAllister’s premature death can be found in the Appendix.