Williams, William

Williams, William            1920 May 14th            Stratford-sub-Castle

After Being Missing for a Month

William Williams, a soldier in the 109th battery, whose home was at Solvery, Rhongoeh, North Wales, has been reported as missing from Winterbourne Gunner since April 16th. His body was discovered in the River Avon at Stratford-sub-Castle on Friday. The South Wilts Coroner (Mr F H Trethowan) conducted the inquest on the following day.

Lieut E Walker, stationed at the Experimental Station, Porton, deposed that Williams was 29 years of age and had been missing for nearly a month, and that before his disappearance he had been stationed at Winterbourne for about five weeks. He used to lose his memory and was strange in his manner, and he was placed under medical observation. He had suffered from shell shock and nervous debility, but apparently he was not considered insane, nor was he put under restraint. He was quiet and well behaved.

Bombardier Donovan said he had known Williams since he came to the station. On the night of April 16th a soldier in the hut had a fit, and Williams ran out and had not been seen until his body was found in the river.

PC Mercer said that on Friday he received a report that a body had been found in the river at Stratford, and on going to the spot he saw a man in RFA uniform lying on the bank. It was evident that the body had been lying in the water some considerable time, and he had it removed to the Old Sarum Military Hospital. He searched the pockets and fund notes and coins to the value of £3 15s 9d and papers showing that he was the man reported missing in the Police Gazette since April 16th. There were no letters which threw any light on the matter.

Lieut L G Davis, medical officer at the Old Sarum Hospital, said that there were no marks of violence on the body and that Williams must have died some weeks ago. Death was very probably due to drowning.

A verdict that Williams was found drowned was returned.

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