Bates, Simeon

Bates, Simeon      1918 May 10th        West Lavington

Fatal Explosion – A Bursting Shell Kills a Bombardier

Mr F H Trethowan (Coroner for South Wilts) held an inquest at Fargo Military Hospital on Wednesday in connection with the death of Bombardier Simeon Percy Bates, of the RGA, stationed at Winchester, who received fatal injuries whilst firing at West Lavington on Monday.

Sergt A W Fuller, RGA, stated that Bates was 37 years of age, and his home was in Appledore, Kent. He was sent to West Lavington for a course in gunnery, and on May 6th was in a detachment at Peel’s Position who were firing 95 rounds of percussion shell. On the 53rd round Bates was ramming home the shell when the shell burst and he was knocked down. He was doing his duties properly, and witness could give no reason for the explosion except that it was a faulty fuse.

Second- Lieut J W Sharp said he saw Bates ram home the shell. When he afterwards picked up the fuse he found the time pin in position. He thought the fuse was faulty. The number of the fuse was known and enquiries would be made by the military authorities.

Captain T H Richmond, RMAC, said the man was admitted to hospital on May 6th suffering from shock – the result of hemorrhage from a wound on his left side. He died shortly after admission.

A verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned.

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