Bellamy, John

Bellamy, John            1920 October 15th                   Bemerton

Slope Of The Road

The danger of the steep camber on the Wilton Road, outside the city boundary, was illustrated by a sad motor fatality which occurred near Tinkerpit Hill on Saturday, and which was the subject of an inquiry by the City Coroner (Mr A M Wilson) at Salisbury Infirmary on Monday, into the death of John Henry Bellamy, 50, hackney carriage proprietor, of Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton.

William Charles Bellamy, haulage contractor, who identified the body as that of his father, with whom he had been living, said that about 7.30am on Saturday they left Taunton in a motor cycle and side-car with the intention of going to the Isle of Wight. About 11.50 they passed through Wilton and later on he noticed a motor lorry directly ahead, travelling in the centre of the road, towards Salisbury. He was driving at 15 miles per hour, but overtook the lorry and had to get well on the slope of the road in order to pass it. He then tried to get back to the crown of the road again but owing to the weight of the side-car being above the engine he could not do it. The handlebars appeared to be locked and the machine crashed through a bush at the top of Tinkerpit Hill and ran across the road towards a gateway leading into a field opposite. The chassis of the side-car struck the gate-stop, overturning the whole combination, and throwing him over the handlebars into the bush and his father out into the road. Witness was uninjured except for a few bruises, but he found his father lying in the road unconscious and bleeding from the forehead. An Automobile Association scout was soon at the spot and his father was taken to the Infirmary in a car which the scout held up. Only about twenty minutes elapsed between the time of the accident and his father being admitted to the Infirmary.

Witness also said he was accustomed to driving a combination and had done so for 2½ years. The slope of the road surface made it very dangerous. The brakes on his machine were in good order and when he saw where they were going he shut the petrol off. He went on to the side of the road in order to get higher up so that he could get back on to the crown of the road. In doing so he collided with a bush at the top of the bye-road, and if it had not been for that road going down so steeply they would have come out all right. There was plenty of space to pass the lorry, and it was the slope of the road which caused the accident. The machine was practically undamaged and he rode it after the accident. He could have righted the machine if the side road had not been there, but in his opinion the steep slope of the Wilton Road surface was the cause of the accident. He had passed one or two other vehicles on the road that morning, but no where was the camber so bad as at the spot where the accident happened.

Charles Challcock, an Automobile Association scout, of Salisbury, said he noticed the last witness go past, and also saw the lorry. When the car was practically level with the lorry he saw it turning the corner and was under the impression that Bellamy was going down the bye-road. Hearing shouts he went to the spot and found the passenger lying in the road, and that the motor-cycle and side-car had turned a complete somersault. After rendering first-aid he stopped a motor ‘bus, but the driver of it refused to take the injured man on board as the ‘bus was full. Witness, therefore, held up a Staff car driven by Lieut-Col Warwick of Bridgwater, who drove the unfortunate man to the Infirmary. Witness added that there was an accident at practically the same place only a very short time ago, caused in the same way, and he believed it was the worst part of the road because the camber was greater there than in any other point.

PC Jefferis, of the City Police, said that in company with the other witness he went to the scene of the accident on Saturday afternoon. The track of the motor cycle was plainly discernible, and at the particular point where the machine got on the slope the camber was one inch in seven inches. If a machine got down in the ditch the side-car would be a great deal higher than the motor cycle, and it would be most difficult to get back to the crown of the road.

Miss Margaret Hamilton King, assistant house surgeon at the Infirmary, said that Bellamy was admitted at 11.30am, and was then unconscious. He had a fractured skull and died at 2.30pm the same day, without having regained consciousness.

The Coroner registered a verdict of “Accidental Death,” and considered that there was no one to blame.

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