This year there are 68 cases, and the Salisbury Times also carried articles again about the local Tribunals, cases in which those who considered they shouldn’t enter the Army made their appeal. The pressures exerted by the Great War are shown in the difference to the tribunals of a year before. Where, in 1916, cases were reported anonymously, so in 1917 the appellants are described more closely by trade and age, though not name. Clearly, it would be enough to identify the poor person to those who lived near, and undoubtedly there was bad feeling towards these people, whether justified or not.

Among news items my eye passed across during the year was an attack on a work-party of conscientious objectors at Brockenhurst, who were pelted with mud and thrown in the river. Any hint of not ‘doing the right thing’ found an angry response in the various levels of society.

As with the previous three years there are any number of soldiers having accidents or committing suicide, and a number of flying fatalities of a quite pathetic nature. The Aviation cases include the following: – Arthur Jackson, Harold Smith and Joseph Chetwood, Herbert Ezard, Arthur Pycroft and Emil Margetson, Stanley Nolan, Lindsay Morrison, Arthur Wall and John Clark, Arthur Smith, John O’Giollagain, Alexander Campbell, Edgar Latham, Henry Mahaffy, Harold Holdman, Edward Siddy, James Fennelly and Ronald Findlay, Harry Marshall and Alexander Deuchar (whose death was painfully witnessed by Mrs Blades).

I can easily imagine Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army dropping a live Mill’s Bomb into a box of bombs and then panicking, and I suppose the idea came from some possibly real event – the grim reality occurred in the Arthur Newcombe case. Hubert Morris died as the result of an overdose of laudanum, but I thought there was a grey area about intent.

When Mrs Eileen Long was killed in a motor collision, her husband, Lieutenant Long was critical of the car driver involved. When the case went to the magistrates trial the evidence of Long was cross-examined by the Defence Counsel, who made it known that Long was suffering from shell-shock and poor nerves as a result of his war wounds. This is an early negative use of shell shock to cast doubt on a witness’ testimony, as well as his veracity.

The Michael Thomas case gives us some idea of the choices available to the elderly poor, once the Old Age Pension was given up for a place in the Union Workhouse. The Coroner also makes some distinctions between sane and insane with regard to suicide cases. Mr Wilson also lets Dr Saunders know quite clearly, in the Alfred Sutton case, that it is the doctor’s duty in a case of sudden death to inform the Police or the Coroner.

William Andrews killed himself, and orphaned his son, when his wife ran off with the lodger, but a sign of the times is shown in the fact that the wife and lodger were then arrested for stealing trinkets of Andrews’ ‘property,’ and a crowd of people hung around the court to admonish them.

From June onwards, by Government order, the number of the jury was reduced to seven members. This year also marked the end of the career of Mr S Buchanan Smith, the City Coroner, replaced in that role by Mr A M Wilson.

Cooper, Alfred

Allday, John                                             Bulford

Johnson, George                                       Semley

Jackson, Arthur                                         Figheldean

Biglands, John                                          Fovant

Grace, William

Newcombe, Arthur                                    Fovant

Bailey infant                                             Teffont Evias

Few, Agnes

Andrews, Allen                                         Whiteparish

Williams, Humphrey                                 Amesbury

Farrant, James                                          Larkhill

McNaught, Douglas                                  Larkhill

Ford, Thomas                                           Tisbury

Morris, Hubert                                          Tisbury

Down, Mabel                                           Over Wallop

Smith, Harold and Chetwood, Joseph       Netheravon

Abel, Reginald

Baker, Victor                                            Larkhill

Redgrave, Joseph                                     Larkhill

Tapper, Francis

White, Henry                                            Milford

Hill, Harold                                             Downton

Portnell, infant                                         Amesbury

Ezard, Herbert                                         Netheravon

Harding, Mary                                         Wilton

Jenden, George                                       Wilton

Grant, Winifred                                        Little Durnford

Rogers, James                                         Harnham

Pycroft, Arthur and Margetson, Emil          Netheravon

Cook, Norman                                         Larkhill

Howell, Louis                                          Larkhill

Nolan, Stanley                                         Netheravon

Morrison, Lindsay                                    Netheravon

Wall, Arthur and Clark, John                     Netheravon

Pointon, Ernest                                         Larkhill

Ramos, Antonio                                       Mere

Long, Eileen                                            Britford

Smith, Arthur                                            Netheravon

Thomas, Michael

Blake, Richard                                         Larkhill

O’Giollagain, John                                    Upavon

Curnow, Daniel                                        Chicksgrove/Tisbury

Berry, Henry                                             Bulford

Feltham, Elizabeth

Andrews, William

Campbell, Alexander                                Netheravon

Halliday, Arthur                                        Winterbourne Stoke

Lyons, Robert                                           Larkhill

Shadwell, John                                          Bemerton Heath

Burns, George                                           Fovant

Latham, Edgar                                          Netheravon

Mahaffy, Henry                                         Netheravon

Holdman, Harold                                     Netheravon

Watt, Louis                                               Fovant

Donaldson, James

Atkins, Alfred                                           Larkhill

Lawrence, Hannah                                    Amesbury

Deuchar, Alexander

Siddy, Edward                                         Lake

Parker, Joseph                                          Larkhill

Lyall, George                                           Tidworth

Reeves, Charlotte                                     Steeple Langford

Jeffery, Thomas

Sutton, Alfred

Fennelly, James, and Findlay, Ronald

Marshall, Harry

Bartlett, George

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by hac1418 on June 2, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Hi. I have very much enjoyed reading your website tonight. I came across it whilst searching for information about the death of Driver John Percival Williams of the Honourable Artillery Company. Williams died of internal injuries after being kicked by a horse at Larkhill Camp. The informant section of his death certificate states “Certificate received from J N Trethowan Coroner for South Wilts. Inquest held 4th June 1917”. Do you have any information on this one please?

  2. Hello, Thanks for your comment, glad you have found the site useful. I have had a look on the British Newspaper Archive but there is no sign of a report for the inquest of your ancestor. This is a shame, but also a sign of how many accidents, some fatal, were occurring on the Plain and the numerous camps around Salisbury. An awful lot of men were brought into contact with horses – particularly mettlesome military horses – for the first time, and misjudgements were common. It’s possible the Coroner took several on the same day, and this one was missed by the reporter, so much was moving about on Salisbury Plain. Sorry I can not help any further.

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