Daniels, William

Daniels, William          1916 January 14th                 Amesbury

Sad Sequel to a Swerving Lorry

Through the skidding of a heavy motor car a party of soldiers who were motoring into Amesbury on Sunday met with a disaster, and one man was so severely injured that he died within an hour. The fatally injured soldier was Private William Daniels, aged 31, of the 144th Field Ambulance, RAMC, stationed at Sling Camp, and his home address was 13, Albany Street, Middleton, Manchester.

An inquest was held by the Coroner for South Wilts (Mr F H Trethowan) at Fargo Military Hospital on Monday evening.

Private Ernest Edward Barker, of 144th Field Ambulance, stated that on Sunday afternoon he was walking with Daniels from Sling Camp to Amesbury, when a motor lorry passed them, going in the same direction. A soldier riding at the back of the lorry beckoned to them, and witness and Daniels and two other soldiers climbed up on the lorry. The driver was not called upon to stop, and witness did not know if he had even seen them climb up or not. Just before they reached Amesbury the motor lorry skidded, and the soldiers riding at the back of it were all thrown out. They had all been sitting on the floor, with the exception of Daniels who was on a box. Witness and two others were thrown on a bank, but Daniels went out over the back on to the road, and the wheel of the lorry struck him on the stomach. A motor ambulance took him away in the direction of Bulford.

In reply to questions, Barker said the roads were very greasy. There was nothing calling for notice in the speed of the motor.

Private Thomas Kenney, MT, ASC, the driver of the lorry, said the vehicle swerved three times coming down the hill. When a swerve took place it caused further trouble if the driver had to put on the brakes before the machine righted herself. On the last swerve he had to apply the brakes as there were some foot passengers about, and this made the rear of the lorry swing round. Witness had no idea that Daniels or his mates were riding on the vehicle. He estimated the speed at ten miles an hour.

PC Norris said he was informed of the accident, and he found three soldiers of the RAMC lying on the road unconscious. Daniels was seriously injured. Witness rendered first aid, and the man was taken away in an ambulance to Bulford Hospital. There was nothing to show how the accident occurred, but the road was very greasy.

Lieut. Walsh, RAMC, said the injured man was brought to Bulford Hospital suffering from internal and external hemorrhage. There were no facilities for dealing with a case of this sort at Bulford Hospital, which dealt with special diseases only, and witness sent the patient to Fargo Hospital. He thought there was just a possibility of something being done for him at Fargo. Captain Davies, RAMC, also saw the patient and agreed with witness’s view.

Sergt Bradley, RAMC, who was sent in charge of the ambulance, said the patient was very restless. He died just as the ambulance turned the corner from the Plain Road to go to the hospital.

Lieut Robert Sterling, RAMC, said the man’s pelvis was broken and there had been considerable hemorrhage. He attributed death to hemorrhage and shock.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”


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