Biglands, John

Biglands, John       1917 February 9th           Fovant

Sad Discovery in a Detention Room

Mr F H Trethowan, Coroner for South Wilts, held an inquest at Hurdcott Camp, on Saturday, on Pte. John Robert Biglands, of the Australian Imperial Forces, who was found in the detention room with his throat cut.

Capt. Blumer, of the Australian Army Medical Corps, stationed at Hurdcott Camp, said that at 10.30pm on February 1st, he was called to see Biglands and found him dying. His throat was cut, the wound having been apparently self-inflicted. The wind pipe and the large blood vessels on either side were severed. He died almost immediately from hemorrhage.

Private Camp, AIF, said that Biglands was 22, and his home was in Portland, South Australia. He had known him about two months, and last saw him alive at 7.30pm on February 1st, when he took some tea and something to eat into the detention hut where Biglands was detained for being absent without leave. Biglands said nothing. He seemed depressed and had been depressed for the last week. He knew of no cause for the depression except the detention. For the last week he would not speak to anyone. If he had any trouble it must have been of a private nature. He had recently been in hospital with mumps. About 10pm on Thursday he went to the detention room where Biglands slept and thought he was in a fit. He called the sergeant of the guard and they went back together, got a light, and saw that Biglands’ throat was cut. They called medical assistance.

Sergt. McCornick, of the Regimental Police, said that from the position of Biglands’ body it appeared that the wound was self inflicted. There was no serious charge against him. It was usual in the case of detention of this kind to allow a man his kit, and he attended drills. His door was not even locked.

PC Hull, stationed at Burcombe, deposed to being called to the hut and finding the body. A razor was under his shoulder, and his holdall showed that the razor had probably been taken from it. There was a number of letters, but they threw no light on the affair.

A verdict of “Suicide while of unsound mind” was returned.


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