The Bus That Jumped Tower Bridge
No, it’s not the plot line for the next James Bond film…
It was a normal shift for Albert Gunter on 30th December 1952 and he was on his usual route, the number 78, approaching Tower Bridge. But on this fateful day there was a fault with the warning lights and without any notice, the bus became trapped on the North arm of the Bridge as it started to lift.
Split Second Decision
Gunter had two options; slow down and face falling into the Thames, or speed up and attempt the jump. Luckily the South arm wasn’t as high so the bus was able to make the jump, falling onto the lower side and staying upright!
Out of the 20 passengers the most serious injury was an 11 year old boy called Peter who suffered a fractured collarbone, something of a minor miracle!
Gunter became something of a London hero and was offered the hefty sum of £10 from London Transport and £35 from the City of London. He told the Daily Express in 1953 that he “can’t understand what the fuss is all about”, saying his colleagues at Dalston Bus Garage call him “Parachute Gunter and Waterwings!”
Here’s a contemporary newspaper report from the London Observer, July 24th 1953: