Moxham, Reginald

Moxham, Reginald         1920 March 19th           Winterbourne Earls

Pathetic Death of a Winterbourne Boy


As a result of three young brothers playing with a gun, which was thought not to be loaded, but was, the death occurred on Monday, under most pathetic circumstances, of Reginald John Moxham, a boy of eight years of age, son of Mr and Mrs Frank Moxham, of Winterbourne Earls. The inquest was held by the South Wilts Coroner (MR F H Trethowan).

Frank Moxham, a small holder, said that on Monday afternoon, about 2.45pm, he was in his kitchen with his wife. His three boys, Reginald, Alan and Ralph, had gone into the scullery to play. There were two guns there. One was an old muzzle-loading gun (which did not belong to him and was unloaded), and the other was a breech-loading two-barrel weapon, which he had taken out on the previous Sunday morning. He had put two cartridges in but he had not fired it. When he returned he must have taken out only one cartridge and left the other in the gun, but he had no recollection of doing so. Soon after the boys went into the scullery he heard a report, and went at once. His son Alan came rushing towards him and said, “Oh, Dad, I did not know that your gun was loaded.” He saw his son Reginald had been shot. His wife put the boy on the sofa and he sent for assistance. He felt sure that his son died at once. He was not insured.

Alan Ridout Moxham said he was 13 years of age. He and his two brothers went into the scullery to play a game called “Rabbits.” His brothers were the “Rabbits,” and he picked up his father’s gun and pretended to shoot at Reginald, and pulled the trigger. The gun went off and he saw that his brother was shot. He did not think the gun was loaded. He had often opened the breech, and had always found it unloaded. His father previously had always emptied the gun before going into the house.

Dr R C Monington, of Salisbury, said he found two wounds on the left side of the shoulder, which came out at the back. They were evidently shot wounds caused by a gun being fired at close quarters. Death must have been instantaneous.

A verdict of accidental death was returned.


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