Lawes, Walter

Lawes, Walter            1916 July 28th               Charlton-All-Saints

Little Boy Drowned

The Coroner for South Wilts (Mr F H Trethowan) held an inquest at Charlton-all-Saints on Friday concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of a little boy who was found drowned on the previous day in the village.

Hetty Lavinia Lawes, wife of Thomas Lawes, a farm labourer at Charlton, said that Walter Percival Lawes was her son, and was two years and seven months old. On Thursday afternoon he asked to go down to Mr Polton’s house, and she took him down the lane till he could see the gate, then she came back, and the little boy went on. She had been indoors about twenty minutes when she heard Polton call to her, and Mrs Ford told her the baby was in the water. She ran down and went into the water and got him out herself. Mr Hodges applied artificial respiration without success.

Harry Polton said that he lived in a cottage quite close to Mrs Lawes, and was partially crippled. The boy used to come down to see him sometimes, and often came by himself. Just opposite the gate there was water in the entrance to an old ford, and it was not fenced. He had seen children fall in before. The little boy came to his gate, and tried to open it, and then turned round as if to go back home. Then he heard him call out “Mummy,” and witness thought he was calling her to come and open the gate for him. Mrs Ford then told him what had happened, and the boy’s mother got the child out.

Dr Whiteley, of Downton, said that he saw the body when it was still warm. He attributed death to drowning.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death,” and recommended that the entrance to the ford should be fenced.

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