Shadwell, John

Shadwell, John              1917 October 5th            Bemerton Heath

Killed by Falling Timber

On Friday, whilst engaged in measuring and marking timber which had been cut and stacked at Bemerton Heath, John William Shadwell, of Over Wallop, was seriously injured by several planks falling on him, and died as the result on Tuesday. An inquest was held in the Infirmary by the City Coroner (Mr A M Wilson) on Wednesday, Mr T C Bampton being chosen foreman of the jury.

Frederick Charles Shadwell, a foreman, employed by his father at Church Farm, Over Wallop, said that John William Shadwell was his brother and was 35 years of age on August 26th. He lived in the village and carried on business as a carpenter and wheelwright, and also made timber saw benches for Mr Randolph Meech, of Hamworthy. His brother was married, and was a non-smoker and total abstainer. Witness last saw him on Thursday, September 27th, when he was in his usual health.

Herbert John Alcock, foreman for Mr Meech, said that Shadwell occasionally assisted him in measuring planks, and he was doing so at Bemerton Heath, on Friday, September 28th. The planks were stacked near the wood. Shortly before four o’clock they had nearly finished and Shadwell was stooping down to mark the last few planks, when he and the men who were assisting them saw a stack of fir planks begin to fall towards him. They shouted to him to get out of the way, but witness thought he stumbled and the planks fell on him. The stack was about 7 feet high, and the planks varied from 9 to 12 feet in length, being about two or three inches thick and a foot wide. They were green and would weigh not less than 2 cwt each. Five or six fell on the man. They had previously tried the stack to see if it was firm and it appeared to be quite safe.

Answering the Foreman, he said there were no ties in the stack.

Edward Green, timber cutter, who was also present when the accident occurred, gave corroborative evidence. He said they all tried the stack from which the planks fell on Shadwell, and considered It safe. After they had fallen they were removed and a police constable was sent for.

In reply to a juryman, the witness stated that the ground was fairly level but there were tree stumps about.

PC Titt, stationed at Bemerton, said that he received information of the accident from Mr Yates, of Highbury Avenue, and cycled at once to the spot. He found Shadwell lying on the ground ; his right thigh was fractured, also his right collar bone, and there was an injury to his left leg. Witness rendered first aid, and with assistance carried him to the road and put him in a passing motor van to be conveyed to the Infirmary. He was quite conscious and told him he was measuring timber when the stack fell.

Miss D’Abrue, one of the house surgeons at the Infirmary, said Shadwell was admitted at about 5.45pm on Friday. The fractures were set, but he developed cerebral symptoms, the coma deepened, and he died on Tuesday. Death was due to cerebral embolism.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, the foreman stating that they considered the stacks of planks should be made firm with ties.

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