Dudding, Bertram

Dudding, Bertram           1920 August 13th            Bulford

A Soldier’s Grief

At an inquest held by the Coroner for South Wilts (Mr F H Trethowan) last week at the Military Hospital, Bulford, a verdict of “Suicide during temporary insanity,” was returned in connection with the death of Bertram Dudding, a mechanical staff-sergeant in the RASC.

His widow, Irene Sophia Dudding, of Plumstead, said she saw her husband on August 3rd, when he appeared in good health, but was depressed. Since he had been back from Mesopotamia he had had fits of depression. She did not know the cause, but his mother died while he was in Mesopotamia, and this was a great shock to him. He had never made any suggestion of taking his life.

Harold Kirkham, a mechanical sergeant-major in the RASC, said he had known Dudding for about 10 years. On August 3rd, when he joined the Company at Bulford, he seemed very depressed and ill. The next morning his conduct was very strange, and he moved backwards and forwards between his bunk and the barrack-room several times. Later in the morning he took a shaving mirror and looked at himself in it for about a quarter of an hour. He then went to the wash-room and drank a quantity of water. Shortly afterwards witness was informed that Dudding had shot himself in his bunk.

Leslie Thomson, a private in the RASC, stated that at about 11.15am on August 4th he was in the barrack room, in a bunk which was occupied by Staff-Sergt Dudding. He heard a shot, and on looking through the window saw him lying dead in his bed. He was holding a rifle in both hands, and a string was attached to his right boot and to the trigger of the rifle.

Capt Edward Thomas Larkham, RAMC, deposed that he found two wounds, apparently caused by one bullet passing from the front of the neck to the back of the skull. It was undoubtedly self-inflicted from the position of the body and the string referred to by the last witness.


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