Giles, Ernest

Giles, Ernest            1918 May 31st            Nunton

Motor Car Accident – Nunton Child Fatally Injured

The sequel to an unfortunate accident at Nunton on Sunday, May 19th, took place on Monday evening at Salisbury Infirmary, an inquest being held by the Deputy Coroner for the City (Mr F H Trethowan) in consequence of the death of a little boy named Ernest Alwyn Giles who had been knocked down by a motor car.

Mr C H Baker was chosen foreman of the jury.

Herbert Giles, a carpenter in the employ of Messrs Wort and Way, living at Nunton, said his little boy was eight years old last birthday. He was a bright, intelligent child. On Sunday, May 19th, at about 4pm, his daughter told him his child had been hurt by a motor car, but she did not think there was much the matter with him. He had been taken to the parish nurse’s house, where witness found him being attended to. The child knew him and wanted to go home, so he was taken home in the car. Witness then came into Salisbury for Dr Ward, who after examining him said he had better be taken into the Infirmary straight away. He was taken in the same evening and remained there till he died early that (Monday) morning. Witness was present at the time.

Kathleen Mary Giles, a domestic servant, said she was at present living with her father at home at Nunton. The little boy was her brother and on May 19th she was walking home from Salisbury when she met him on the iron bridge at about 4 o’clock. He got over the fence to look at the fish, she thought, and then got back and crossed the road. She heard the hooter of a motor car as her brother shouted out something about the fish. When the car came along he was about half-way across the road and before he could run any further the car knocked him down. She could not say whether he was actually moving, or whether he had stopped, when the car came round the bend. Nor could she say whether the car was going fast or not, because she had not seen it coming along. The driver pulled up sharply and she picked her brother up. He was conscious then, but did not say anything about the accident. When he was put into the car to be taken to the nurse’s house he asked where his hat was.

Witness : I don’t think he was at all. (Question missing from report – Ed)

Replying to the Foreman, she said the bend in the road which hid the car from them was not very far away. She did not think the driver could have seen the boy till he was fairly close to him.

Reginald John Foot, a licensed taxi-cab driver, employed by Mr A Swatton, Devizes Road, expressed his willingness to give evidence. He said that on this occasion he was driving from Longford Castle towards Salisbury, and when approaching the iron bridge at Nunton he noticed several children on it. He thought he might have been about 12 yards away when he first saw them, but could not say for certain. He was travelling between 14 and 15 miles an hour and sounded his horn several times. All the children seemed to be on one side of the bridge, but a boy left the others and began to run across the road to the other side. He ran just in front of the car and the left wing caught him. Witness pulled up as quickly as he could, in about the length of the car, and went to the boy who was only a few steps away. He thought only the wing of the car had hit him. A girl came up and witness asked her what was the nearest place to take the boy. She suggested the nurse’s house, so he took the boy there and sent for his father, who came and took him home.

Answering further questions, Foot said he would be 18 years of age in September and had been driving since last September, but had had experience with cars before that. He did not think there was anything he could have done to avoid the accident because there was not time to do anything. The boy came across the road so quickly. He had no passengers in the car.

The House Surgeon at the Infirmary said the child was brought in at 6pm on Sunday, May 19th, suffering from concussion and a fracture of the skull. He also had cuts and abrasions about the body. He was in a semi-conscious condition. He afterwards became unconscious and died at two o’clock that (Monday) morning, death being due to the injuries he had received.

In the course of summing up to the jury, the Coroner said they had no evidence that showed the driver was in any way to blame. There was nothing on which the jury could find he was negligent in any way.

A verdict of accidental death was returned, and the jury gave their fees to the Infirmary.

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