Coglan, Charles

Coglan, Charles     1884 February 16th

This (Friday) afternoon an inquest was held at the Salisbury Infirmary on the body of Charles Coglan, of the Devizes-road, who had been in the employ of the South Western Railway, and who on the previous evening sustained such serious injuries whilst engaged in shunting that he had to be taken to the Infirmary, where he died soon after his admission.

The Coroner (Mr George Smith) in opening the inquiry, said that it appeared to him that had the unfortunate man been in his right place during the shunting the accident could not have occurred.

The first witness examined was Mark Witt, whose evidence was to the effect that on the previous evening, at about 9.30 or 10 o’clock, he and the deceased were shunting together on the South Western railway. The deceased had just coupled on, when he engaged the witness in conversation. While they were talking they were both knocked down by the waggons attached to an engine. They had unconsciously been standing in the way, which was against the rules. He himself was not hurt. The deceased was at once taken to the platform. As a fact they were standing in the 4ft instead of the 6ft way.

Samuel Pike, engine-driver, residing in Church-fields, the driver of the engine attached to the waggons, said that in shunting back he heard the exclamation “Oh, dear.” He knew it to be Coglan’s voice, and he remarked so to a shunter. He could not see what right the men had in the 4ft way. It was not usual for a driver to whistle in shunting. After the deceased had been knocked down he heard someone say, “Don’t move an inch,” and then Mark Witt called out beneath the engine and the tender.

The next witness was Frank Barnes, who was also engaged in shunting at the time of the accident. He in corroborating the previous witnesses said this was the first time he knew anyone stand in the way. There was no light within 300 yards.

It transpired during the case that the deceased was 27 years old, was married, and had only one child. The inquest is proceeding as we go to press.

Alas, I found no follow-up report in the next issue to complete this case. Clearly, it would be “Accidental Death.”


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