Anderson, Thomas

Anderson, Thomas        1916 October 27th             Fovant/Dinton

A Soldier Drowned – Found in the River at Dinton

After he had been absent from camp 12 days the body of Rifleman Thomas William Anderson, of the Post Office Rifles, was found in the River Nadder at Dinton, on Thursday in last week.

Mr F H Trethowan, Coroner for South Wilts, held an inquest at Fovant Military Hospital on Friday afternoon.

Company-Sergeant-Major James Dunne, of the Post Office Rifles, stationed at West Farm Camp, Fovant, said that Anderson was in his Company, and had always been of a quiet but cheerful disposition. He was last seen alive on October 7th, on his way to the dining hall. He paid great attention to his duties as a soldier, and never made any complaints or took any intoxicants in any quantity. He was making a good soldier and was very interested in his work.

Charles William Bracher, dairyman, in the employ of Mr C M Green, and living at Fovant, said he was walking near the Nadder at nine o’clock on Thursday morning, and saw something in the water. He could not get at it, and retraced his steps. He crossed the hatches, and on approaching the spot again saw the object was the body of a man, dressed in khaki, which had apparently been in the water some time. He fetched Police-Sergeant Crouch, and helped him to remove the body. It lay about a yard from the bank, and in four or five feet of water. There was a footpath leading from Fovant to Teffont, which crossed the river by a barrow bridge, four feet in width, near Teffont Mill. The bridge was about 300 yards from where witness found the body. He could not say whether there were railings at the side of the bridge.

Captain J T Murphy, of the RAMC, stationed at Fovant Military Hospital, said Anderson was brought in at 12.45 on Thursday. Death was evidently due to drowning. There were no marks of violence on the body, which had been in the river for some days.

The Coroner, in summing up, said he had been informed by the parents that Anderson had no trouble, and that it would have been the last thing in the world for him to have taken his life. He did not think there was any necessity for them to give evidence. Inquiries had been made, and if they had been able to find there was any trouble or anything of that sort, the jury would have been told about it. Apparently Anderson was not strange in his manner, and there seemed not the slightest reason for him committing suicide. There was always the possibility of a man coming back after dark and falling into the water. That might have happened in this case.

A verdict of “death by misadventure,” was returned and sympathy with Anderson’s relatives was expressed.

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