Tiltman, Reginald

Tiltman, Reginald       1920 May 14th           Boscombe Down/Downderry

Overcome by Fumes

One morning last week a man named Tiltman (28), single, of Downderry, Cornwall, was discovered dead in bed in a hut on Boscombe Down, and a companion named Dicker was seriously ill. The Coroner for South Wilts (Mr F H Trethowan) held an inquiry into the matter on Friday.

Stephen Southcombe, caretaker at Boscombe Down, said that on Tuesday evening (May 4th), about 10.15, while on is rounds, he called at the hut where Tiltman, his brother-in-law, and Harold Dicker were. There was a fire burning in the stove and Dicker said he was going to make some cocoa. He said to him, “The fire is going well now as there is plenty of draught.” It was customary for Tiltman to let the fire out at night and light it again in the morning. On the following morning, as he did not see any smoke coming from the chimney of their room, his father-in-law went to call them. There was no response and the door was then pushed open and he saw Tiltman lying dead in bed, and Dicker, who was on his stomach, was unconscious and breathing very heavily. A collie dog was rolling on the floor unable to stand. He informed the police, who came with a doctor. The windows in the room were both closed, and the only ventilation would be under the door. There was no ventilator. Neither of the men left the camp on the Tuesday evening, and they were both teetotallers.

Dr J O March, of Amesbury, said that when he arrived at the hut about 10.15am he found that Tiltman had been dead some hours. The cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning from fumes from a closed stove. He could smell sulphur fumes when he entered the hut. Had the door or the window been open it would have been reasonably safe to sleep in the hut.

The Coroner returned a verdict that Tiltman had been accidentally poisoned by the fumes.

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