Historian of Brookwood Cemetery
On Wednesday 19 August 1959 a DC-
Approximately 19 minutes after take-
The resulting Spanish accident report proved to be highly controversial. On 16 May 1960 questions were asked in the House of Commons on behalf of relatives of the deceased during which the report was described as “extremely brief” and “shockingly inadequate”.
The memorial in plot 109 at Brookwood comprises a large kerbed grave measuring 32 ft by 20 ft with a large upright headstone recording the names of all those buried in the grave. The headstone states “In memory of those who died as a result of an accident in Spain on 19th August 1959”.
24 of the 29 passengers are buried here, alongside all three crew members. Brother and sister Colin and Valerie Hammond, and brothers Claus and Iraj Khorram (formerly of Iran) are buried together. Eleven of those listed on the memorial headstone also have individually named stone vases within the allotment. Of those with individual memorial vases, four were students at the Westminster Hospital Medical School, and one an engineering student at Queen’s University Belfast. Adjacent to the plot is a memorial bench in memory of Anna Veronica Miners and Eileen McGeachy Murray, two of the victims. Also close by are the graves of the Hammond and Christou families, relatives of three of the students killed on 19 August 1959.
The full list of names on the memorial is as follows (an asterisk indicates crew member):
John Raymond Arnold *
Jill Avril Bamber
Judith Anne Brearley
Christine Mary Calveley
Victor Michael Christou
Mary Christine Cotton
Stephen Calvin Chin Hong
James Thomas Dobbin *
Ann Gaudion *
Valerie Jean Hammond
Claus Parwiz Khorram
Iraj Peter Khorram
Kanta Chand Mathur
Anna Veronica Miners
Eileen McGeachy Murray
John Philip Pashley
Pamela Jewel Panchen
Thomas Vincent Reilly
Juliet Marie Williams
*The three crew members were: Captain John Raymond Arnold, First Officer James Thomas Dobbin, and stewardess Ann Gaudion.
From the casualty list published in The Times on 20 August 1959, the following passengers were not buried at Brookwood: Mr. Chaudkanda, Miss B. O’Donovan, and Mr. P. Lai. However the list appears to be incomplete since these names bring the total passenger list to 27 and not the “29 students” headlined by the newspaper.
The Barcelona air crash was the only fatal accident suffered by the Gatwick based Transair Ltd during its 13 year career. In July 1960 Transair became part of British United Airways. Today, when air travel is so universal (it is estimated that at any one time a million people are in the air worldwide), the disaster is a reminder that even 50 years ago the risks of flying were at least ten times greater than they are now.
Copyright © 2009, 2018 by John M. Clarke All Rights Reserved