Jordan, Arthur

Jordan, Arthur       1916 May 26th       Bulford

Soldier Drowned While Bathing

Mr F H Trethowan, Coroner for South Wilts, held an inquest at Bulford on Friday afternoon in connection with the death of Private Arthur Henry Jordan, RAMC, who was drowned while bathing in a pond.

Private Horace George Jones, said that Jordan was stationed with a unit of the RAMC at No 3 Camp, Sling Plantation, Bulford. His home was at Iffley, near Oxford, and he was about 19 years of age. On Thursday Jordan, witness and two other men went to bathe in the water at Milston Firs. Jordan, he believed, first got into the running stream, but climbed out and went over to a pool some 30 yards distant, about 20ft long by 15ft wide. Witness did not see him enter the pool, but walking in that direction soon after, he noticed him striking out in the centre of the pool. He was making no headway, and witness called for assistance from a Private Hodder and others, who were undressing. Personally, he could not swim, and therefore could do nothing in the way of giving help. Bugler Jenkins jumped in and swam towards the spot, but Jordan had sunk, and did not come to the surface again. He had told witness that he could swim, but it was two years since he had done any swimming.

Bugler Hugh Lumley Jenkins, of the RAMC, said he was about 30 yards from the stream when Jones dashed past shouting that Jordan was going down. Witness slipped off his clothes and ran into the pond, just catching sight of Jordan’s head as it slipped beneath the surface. He swam to the spot, but could not find any trace of him. He tried to dive, but he was a poor swimmer, and could not get down very far. Other soldiers came to help but all their efforts were for the time being unsuccessful.

Private William Henry Knapman, of the RAMC, said he went to the pond about six o’clock and heard there was a body lying below the water. People were searching the pond, and he went to assist. He dived several times without success, and then found he could stand in places. Groping with his feet he touched a body. He dived again and brought the body to the surface. Jordan had got entangled in the weeds, and witness had to exert some strength to free him. The body was found to be lifeless and was taken to the mortuary.

Lieutenant Eric Gordon Dingley, of the RAMC, stated that he was informed there was a man in the pond, and got the four best swimmers he could find. He reached the pond to find other men there, and sent his men in to join them in the search. Lieutenant Cleveland, of the RAMC, an expert swimmer, arrived at the same moment, and also entered the water. Everyone was doing what he could, and witness’ was obliged to stop the poor swimmers, as they were getting tangled in the weeds, and there was, in his opinion, no chance of saving the man’s life. He was present when Knapman found the body two hours later. Deceased had died from asphyxia caused by drowning.

A verdict to the effect that Jordan was accidentally drowned was returned.

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