Mr Leonard Flack
Laindon man saves lives
Although not taking place in Laindon this story in connection with the rail history started there and a Laindon resident played a major part.
In April 1961 due to engineering work there was single line working over the up line between Laindon and Pitsea. The 12.25 pm train from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness arrived at Laindon and was crossed from the down line to proceed to Pitsea with a pilotman, a Mr Leonard Flack a Laindon resident. On approaching the last set of catch points, Mr. Flack noticed they had been wrongly clipped and shouted a warning to the driver who immediately braked, but due to the heavy gradient and the weight of the coaches, the train continued to slide and the engine and first two coaches slid sideways over the embankment, but fortunately the couplings and remaining carriages prevented them from falling further. The driver, fireman and Mr Flack had managed to jump clear. Although one man was killed and 40 others injured, some seriously, the diligence of Mr Flack had prevented what may have been a major catastrophe with a large loss of life.
The actions of Mr Flack in preventing this were never publicised. People have been decorated for far less.