Webb, Frederick

Webb, Frederick       1916 July 21st           Whiteparish

Fatal Motor Accident

Little Boy Killed on Whiteparish Hill

The City Coroner (Mr S Buchanan Smith) held an inquest on Wednesday at the Infirmary in connection wit the death of a boy named Frederick Edward Charles Webb, who was killed by a collision with a motor car when cycling on Whiteparish Hill on Tuesday evening.

Mr T B Garland was appointed foreman of the jury, and Mr F H Trethowan represented the owner of the car and the driver.

Arthur George Webb, residing at the Lodge, Brickworth Park, Whiteparish, said that on Tuesday evening he put a new inner tube and outer cover and brake on the boy’s bicycle, and the boy went out for a spin up the road. He had been gone about five minutes when there was a crash. He ran up to a bend in the road, and saw two Australian soldiers lifting the boy into a motor car. They then drove to Salisbury Infirmary as he could see the boy was badly injured. He held him till they arrived, but did not know whether he was alive or dead. Between Brickworth Lodge and the farm entrance, near which the accident occurred, there was a bad bend, and it was impossible to see more than 25 or 30 yards. The road ran in the shape of the letter S, and the hedges were very high, especially on the left side. In reply to Mr Trethowan, witness said that the boy had been riding a bicycle for 18 months, and was very nimble on it.

Corporal Victor Dean, of the Australian contingent, stationed at Rollestone Camp, said that on Tuesday morning four friends and himself hired a motor car at Shrewton for a run to Southampton. They were going down a long hill when a boy came out of a little lane on a bicycle. The driver jammed on the brakes, and the car swerved, but it struck the boy or the bicycle, and there was a bump as though the rear wheel had gone over something. The driver stopped in about twenty feet. At the top of the hill he noticed that the speedometer registered a little over twenty miles an hour. The driver sounded the horn all the way down the hill. He did not see the boy till they were right on him on account of the bend in the road, and it was not possible for the driver to avoid him.

George Victor Case, the driver, gave evidence which agreed with that of the previous witnesses. He said he had been driving nearly two years, and this was his first accident. He was practically a teetotaller, and had no intoxicating drink that day, and all the soldiers were sober.

In answer to the Foreman, he said he knew the Southampton Road very well but he had not noticed this little side road before.

The House Surgeon said that the boy was dead when brought to the Infirmary, and had a fracture of the base of the skull. Death was due to the shock consequent on the injury. He must have died soon after the accident.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death.”

Mr Trethowan expressed the regret of the owner of the car and the driver at the sad fatality, and also sympathy for the parents.

Much sympathy is felt in Whiteparish for Mr and Mrs Webb, especially as the boy would have been eleven years of age on Thursday, and preparations were being made to keep the birthday.

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