Belgian Army lorry involved in incident at Millbrook, Co. Antrim

Northern Irish court prosecuted a member of the Belgian Army for reckless driving after an incident at Millbrook, Co. Antrim, which injured several locals.

On Thursday 13th September 1945, the Larne Times reported on a case of reckless and dangerous driving. Head Constable Stansfield brought the prosecution against Private Roger Callons of 3rd (Rumbeke) Infantry Brigade, Belgian Army. The Belgian Private had returned to serve in Europe before the date of his court appearance.

On 16th August 1945, had driven carelessly at Millbrook near Larne, Co. Antrim. The Chief Crown Solicitor requested a Mr. Wylie to attend the hearing as a courtesy to the court. Captain Jones of the Claims Commission would settle for any injuries received as a result of Callons’ driving. Several people had received injuries and so the case was not withdrawn even when the Private left Northern Ireland.

Edward Leighton, a baker from Millbrook, Co. Antrim gave evidence stating that he and his wife stood at their front door at around 1500hrs on 16th August 1945. A Belgian Army lorry descended the hill at North Brae at a “terrible rate” before the driver jammed on the brakes to avoid 5 people sitting on the roadside.

Callons’ lorry skidded, hit a bank and overturned before striking the 4 women and a young boy. Leighton claimed there were no obstacles in the road and the boy did not run out from the roadside.

Constable Mullan had cautioned and interviewed Roger Callons after the incident. The Belgian infantryman stated he was doing a speed of 35mph. He sounded his horn as he drew close to the group of people and the little boy ran out into the road causing him to apply the brakes. The overturning of the lorry threw Callons clear of the crash.

The court took evidence of the independent witness and fined Callons £5 with £4, 1s, 6d costs. They also suspended his driving license for 12 months. As 3rd (Rumbeke) Infantry Brigade and Private Roger Callons had returned to Europe, it is not known whether he paid the fines or stayed off the roads.