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.

Bus 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!

Local Hero 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:

So there you go, strange but true! It’s not just in Spice World the Movie that things like this happen!

More London Inspiration

8 Comments

  • John Newm an

    Reply

    I lived two doors i was at 49 he was at 53 Theberton Street his son was my mate

    July 15, 2018 at 5:08 pm
  • Keith Barton

    Reply

    My grandfather was the conductor Alfred Barton he was the person who broke his leg.

    July 8, 2019 at 9:28 pm
  • Albert gunter was my 3rd grt uncle on maternal side. I remember my nan telling me about it when i was young. And it was not till she passed that i googled and have found out so much.

    September 6, 2020 at 6:47 pm
  • Jane

    Reply

    My husband’s uncle was the boy he fractured his collarbone. He died a month ago but he dined out on the story for many years

    September 15, 2020 at 2:22 pm
  • Sandra Barton

    Reply

    I have the original newspaper cutting. The conductor 0n the bus was Alf Barton, my father-in-law’s brother and my husbands uncle. With the compensation he received’ he was able to move from a rented property in London and buy a house out right in Rochford, Essex.

    May 18, 2021 at 9:37 am
  • John Richard Dally

    Reply

    Just found your site. I am lucky enough to own the bonnet plate RT 793 of the very bus. It appeared at a railwayana auction in 2014 and I couldn’t resist having a go for it, and was successful. Makes a great conversation piece. It would be great to know what the passengers thought at the time

    July 31, 2023 at 2:56 pm

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