Whatley, Herbert

Whatley, Herbert       1918 August 30th          Burcombe

Accident with a Milk Float in Burcombe

An unusual accident occurred on Tuesday at Burcombe, when Mr Herbert Whatley, when getting into a milk float, slipped and received severe arterial injuries to his leg, from which he quickly bled to death. He was 40 years of age and was a farmer and dealer and motor bus proprietor living at Barford St Martin.

An inquest into the fatality was held by the Coroner for South Wilts (Mr F H Trethowan) in the Schoolroom at Barford St Martin on Wednesday,

PC Hunt, stationed at Burcombe, said he saw Whatley near the Ship Inn, at Burcombe, on Tuesday evening, about 9.30. He was driving a two-wheeled milk float drawn by a cob. He had no lights on the float, but he explained the reason. He drove on and was quiet sober. About 10 o’clock witness heard there had been an accident in Wilton Lane, and found it was at a spot a quarter of a mile away from where he had spoken to Whatley. There were several Australian soldiers near, and Whatley was lying in the road, apparently dead. On examining the body it was found that there was an injury at the back of the knee and a quantity of blood. He took possession of the effects, which included some notes and cash. On enquiries it was found that the cob had drawn the float home. The loose seat of the cart was discovered about 100 yards from where Whatley was lying, in the direction he had come.

Private Quinn, of the Australian Imperial Forces, stationed at Hurdcott Camp, said he was near to where the accident happened when walking from Wilton to Hurdcott. When on the camp side of Burcombe he saw Whatley standing in the road by a float. He passed by and when 100 yards on he heard a yell, and saw the cob gallop down the road. He tried to stop it but was knocked over. He went back and found Whatley lying on the ground and asked if he was hurt. He said his leg was gone and he was done. There was some blood about, and the leg was still bleeding. He was going to try and stop it when two Australian soldiers came up, and one of them went for the doctor, and the other for the police. An Australian soldier of the Army Medical Corps then came up, but while he was attempting to stop the bleeding Whatley died.

Private Hatcher, of the Army Medical Corps, stated that he found an artery was severed. He compressed the artery, and a civilian prepared a tourniquet, but just as it was about to be applied Whatley gave a groan and died.

Dr A W K Straton, of Wilton, said that in response to a message he went to Barford St Martin and saw Whatley, who was in an ambulance. He examined the wound and found it was a tear at the back of the left knee, severing the arteries. With such a wound Whatley would have bled to death in a very few minutes.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death through injuries caused by slipping when getting into a milk float.


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