Frater, John, Stirling, James

Frater, John, and  Stirling, James       1918 November 1st            Stonehenge

Extraordinary Accident

Bomb Fatality on Salisbury Plain

The County Coroner (Mr F H Trethowan) held an inquest on Wednesday evening concerning the deaths of two young riflemen, John Frater, aged 17, and James Stirling, aged 18, of the 4th Royal Irish Rifles, who were killed as a result of an accidental explosion of a bomb on Normanton Downs, near Stonehenge, on Monday.

They were walking over the downs, as it was officially stated they were entitled to do, whilst bombing practise was proceeding, as no red flag was shown at the time. A witness said he saw one of the men kick at “something,” which turned out to be a 16lb unexploded bomb, which upon impact exploded and killed both Frater and Stirling.

It was stated by a military officer that the ground is periodically searched for unexploded bombs but no record was kept from which it could be stated definitely that all unexploded bombs had been found.

A verdict was recorded that the two men died from injuries caused by the accidental explosion of a bomb, and the military authorities intimated that an enquiry would be held with a view to effecting precautions against the recurrence of similar accidents.


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