Taylor, Edward

Taylor, Edward        1919 August 15th       Amesbury

Drummer’s Death at Amesbury

While a party of young soldiers belonging to the West Yorks Regiment was bathing in the river Avon at Amesbury on Sunday, one of the number, Drummer Edward Taylor, when some distance from his companions, apparently staggered and fell from the bank into the river, and was drowned. He had been kept under observation as a doubtful case of epilepsy and it was hinted at the inquest (which was held by Mr H E Vincent, Deputy-Coroner for South Wilts) that this was the cause of his sudden fall and inability to help himself. He was only 16; and his home was in Newcastle.

Herbert Levy, of the West Yorks Regiment, said that he, Taylor and several others were bathing near Ratfyn Bridge on Sunday afternoon. Taylor dived into the river and after a short swim came out again. He then left them, and went across the bridge to the opposite side of the river. There was a splash and Taylor disappeared. Some one said, “He has had a fit,” and he and others dived into the river to try and find him. The water at that point was about five feet deep, but there were several very deep holes. They were unsuccessful in obtaining the body and sent for help, and the Police came and recovered the body, but Taylor was quite dead, and efforts at resuscitation were of no avail. Taylor had complained of suffering from fits, but he was a good swimmer and was fond of bathing.

Drummer Robert McCorkell, of the same regiment, gave similar evidence, and said that Taylor appeared to strike the concrete pier of the bridge and fall into the water. He floated down the stream, and made no effort to swim, and then, unfortunately, he sank. He assisted in trying to recover the body.

Capt E Huntley, RAMC, said death was due to drowning. Taylor had been admitted to hospital on June 16th as a doubtful case of epilepsy and was kept under observation for about four days. It was unwise for him to bathe. He could not say whether any communication was made with the regimental officer concerning his health.

Lieut W P Clayton, West Yorks, said no special instructions concerning Taylor were received from the medical officer.

PC Woodward, of Amesbury, said he recovered the body with the assistance of PC Norris. The spot was out of bounds for the troops.

A verdict of death through misadventure was returned.

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