I was more than a little interested to read the letter from Mr. C. F. Thacker in your October issue regarding progress with “Babs” and feel that it tells us the story of what happened on that tragic day at Pendine Sands. Consequently I have been surprised that it has aroused no interest.
The first point that struck me was “a strong smell of burned Ferodo”. This suggested transmission trouble immediately prior to the accident since the fan effect of the rotating parts would dispel any strong smells under normal conditions.
The next forceful point was the damage to the offside chain fairing, i.e. “out by the broken chain in an upward direction, opposite to the rotation of the chain.” This is precisely the type of damage which would occur if the back axle for any reason seized, followed by chain breakage (the clutch although starting to slip, still transmitting enough power for this) the chain then tending to unwrap from the rear sprocket.
The final point which confirms the other two was the sand in the chain fairings. Not only were they full of loose sand but “hard packed sand, black in colour, was caked right inside.” I have seen this phenomenon occur on quite a number of occasions where quite powerful chain conveyors with enclosed rear sprockets have sheared due to fine material being carried back by the bottom chain and deposited in the tail end guard. This material packs like cement and the only recourse is to remove the guard and hack the material out before the conveyor will run.
Is this really what happened to “Babs” and Parry Thomas? Have any other readers any views on this subject?