Fulford, Richard

Fulford, Richard                     1916 January 14th                 Ludgershall

Suicide on the Railway – Worried by Noises!

Mr F H Trethowan held an inquest on Tuesday at the Pleasure Palace, Ludgershall, in connection with the death of Richard William Fulford, a soldier whose decapitated body was found on the railway.

David Gallant, of 146, Downham Road, Islington, said that Fulford was his step-son and a private in the 106th Field Ambulance, RAMC, stationed at Tidworth. He was 35 years of age, and married, but was separated from his wife. Witness last saw him at 9pm on Sunday, when he was leaving Waterloo station to return to Tidworth. He was in good spirits and had just had his portrait taken with an old friend. Witness knew he had trouble with his wife which troubled him very much. He did not know what the trouble was. Fulford was in a lunatic asylum at Dartford nine years ago for a few weeks. He afterwards went to Canada, but came back last September and joined the RAMC. He was a teetotaller.

Fred Lewis Gale, a driver on the Midland and South Western Junction Railway, living at Ludgershall, said he was driving from Andover to Tidworth on Monday, and on going into Ludgershall station he noticed a slight bump. After he had been to Tidworth and returned, he saw a spot of blood and a few hairs on the life-guard of the engine so he went to the place just outside Ludgershall station where he noticed the bump, expecting to see a dog, but he found the body of a man. The body was lying right across the four-foot way, parallel with the sleepers ; the head being outside the rail, cut off. Witness thought the man must have been lying down at the time the engine struck him. He might have fallen off the platform but witness did not think it likely.

Inspector Jones, of the Wilts County Police, deposed to finding the body as described by the last witness. He said he searched it and found four 10s Treasury notes, a railway pass, and a note book (produced), but nothing else to throw any light on the tragedy.

In the notebook Fulford had written the following in pencil:

Since joining the Army I hear voices saying, ‘You are not wanted here.’ While I am in barracks, and while working, and even at home, I hear the same. They seem to be from my own wife, Ethel, whom I bullied somewhat years ago unintentionally. I can’t bear to live and feel I am a disgrace to my family who have been too good to me. God bless them. My wife can have my money if she needs. I die in and for my country, as I can’t attend sick patients, having fears and dangers. Travelling has spoilt my life, and whatever I do in the service I feel I am not earning my money, as the noises seem to come from those at home who have worked hard and cared for my wife and child. Having been in an asylum I fear I should not have been accepted in the Army.”

Then followed names and addresses of his relatives.

Lieut McArthur, RAMC, said that Fulford was a steady, hard-working, conscientious man, somewhat deaf and a little morose and reserved. The men in his hut knew he was troubled about his private affairs. It was quite possible that he was not of sound mind on Sunday night.

A verdict of “Suicide whilst of unsound mind” was returned.

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