Roads, William

Roads, William              1916 May 12th           Swallowcliffe

Young Officer Shot

Mr F H Trethowan (Coroner for South Wilts) held an inquest at the Military Hospital, Fovant, on Monday, concerning the death of Second-Lieut William Herbert Roads, which occurred as the result of a gunshot wound, in a garden at Swallowcliffe on Friday afternoon.

Thomas Scott Apergis, a second-lieutenant in the 10th (Reserve) Batt., London Regiment, at present attached to the Young Officer’s Company at Hurdcott Camp, said that Second-Lieutenant Roads belonged to the same regiment as himself and was stationed at Hurdcott Camp. His home was in Streatham and he was 30 years of age. On Thursday they went to tea at the house of Thomas Scammmell, a blacksmith, at Swallowcliffe, and after tea went into the garden. Mr Roads was carrying a double-barrelled gun. A rat ran across the garden and Mr Roads fired, but the rat did not appear to be hit, so he seized the gun by the barrels and ran after it, and struck at it with the butt of the gun. The butt struck the ground and there was an immediate explosion. Mr Roads turned round and said he was shot. Mrs Scammell came to his assistance, and witness borrowed a bicycle at the Post Office and went for a doctor.

Kathleen Scammell, daughter of Thomas Scammell, blacksmith, of Swallowcliffe, said that after tea Mr Roads took up a gun belonging to her father. She said to him, “Be careful, it is loaded.” He replied, “It’s allright, I understand.” He went out with the gun and came back, , and subsequently went out again with it. She was in the lodge and heard a report and went into the garden and saw Mr Roads running after a rat with the gun, holding it by the barrel. He struck at the rat with the butt end, and the gun went off. He turned round and walked a few paces and said, “My God, I’m shot,” and fell down.

Lieutenant Lancelot M Breton, RAMC, attached to the 7th Reserve Battalion of the London Regiment, said he received a message shortly after four o’clock and motored to Swallowcliffe immediately. He saw Mr Roads lying in the garden with a wound in the abdomen. He described the injuries and treatment and said he had him taken to Fovant Hospital, where he died a few minutes after admission. Death was due to collapse from hemorrhage. There was every sign that the injury was caused by a gunshot wound.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

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