Cullimore, Rachel

Cullimore, Rachel         1916 September 8th              Boscombe

Woman’s Fatal Burns

Caught Fire in a Shepherd’s Hut

The story of the sad death of an elderly woman who lived in a shepherd’s hut at Boscombe, near Salisbury, was told at an inquest held at the Infirmary on Monday by the City Coroner, Mr S Buchanan Smith. Mr W Gilman was chosen foreman of the jury.

Elijah Cullimore, a carter employed by Mr M J Read, of Manor Farm, Boscombe, said that his wife, Rachel, was 67 years of age and was a cripple. They had lived in two shepherd’s huts near the farm-house.

The Coroner : Why do you live there?

Witness : “When we came first we lived in a cottage, but the Government took the cottage and turned us out. That happened on May 30th.” He added they slept in one hut and had their meals in the other. On Saturday he left at 5 o’clock in the morning, and went to a neighbouring camp. When he returned about one o’clock, he heard that his wife had met with an accident and had been taken to the Infirmary.

Ernest Robert Cooke, carter, of Newton Toney, said that on Saturday morning at about a quarter to 12 he was delivering coal at Boscombe, and heard shrieks, and saw a woman rush from a hut with smoke coming from her garments. He ran to the hut and found her rolling on the ground, with her clothes on fire. He took a sack and rolled it round her, and threw some water over her clothes. Then he went for assistance.

Mrs Annie Perrett, said that on Saturday morning, she had been to Mrs Cullimore’s hut, and when she left, Mrs Cullimore was at breakfast some distance away from the stove, and there was a large fire. The coalman told her what he had seen and she went over to the hut again and stayed until assistance arrived. Mrs Cullimore told her that her frock caught on fire and she went outside to roll in the grass, but it caught more. She was a cripple and kept her irons hanging over the stove. If she went to get one of them down her dress would go close to the stove.

Police Constable Cook, stationed at Newton Toney, said that when he was called he found Mrs Cullimore severely burnt on the right side and about the chest. He obtained some lint and did what he could. On the advice of the district nurse he removed Mrs Cullimore to the Infirmary.

The house surgeon at the Infirmary attributed death to shock caused by burns.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

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