Sunday, 8 February 2015

A Tragic Accident at Arlesey

Arlesey Station Crossing c.1906 [Z1306/2/14/1]

Monday 8th February 1915: An inquest has been held today at the Pavilion, Arlesey into the tragic death of Royal Naval Reserve Stoker Joseph Shannon, aged 36, a stoker on HMS M.F.A. Baron Amrossan He was returning home to South Shields for five days leave when his comrades noticed his was missing from the train and a door was open. Stoker Shannon’s body was found by a platelayer on the Great Northern Railway 300 yards south of the Three Counties Station at Arlesey at 7.15 on Friday morning. The doctor called to examine his body said that the nature of the injuries meant that death must have been instantaneous. His identity was confirmed by his wife, Margaret Shannon of 59 Francis Street, Deans, Tyne Dock, South Shields.

The engine driver, George Thomas Hall stated that he was driving the 11.45 express from King’s Cross when he noticed at Great Barford that someone had pulled the communication. He pulled the train up at St Neots South Box and sent his fireman Frederick Parker to investigate. Mr Parker spoke to a naval man who said his mate had fallen from the train and that he had pulled the cord. The passenger guard Arthur Edward Monk heard someone calling “guard” when the train stopped. He found another Naval Reserve man, Alexander Turnbull, who said he had been pulling the cord for twenty minutes and asked why they had not stopped the train earlier – the driver said that he had followed company regulations in proceeding to the St Neots South Box as the next stopping point.

Alexander Turnbull told the inquest that he was also from South Shields and served on the same ship as Stoker Shannon. They were travelling home together from Chatham with two other men, Robert Wilson and Samuel Smith. They were all in the same compartment until 12.25 when Turnbull left to find a seat where he could lie down. Shannon and Wilson were both asleep at this time, and Smith was smoking. Turnbull went to sleep and was woken by Smith who said he though Joe Shannon was missing; they returned to the compartment where they found Wilson crying. When asked whether it was true Wilson told Turnbull, “Mate, its too true, owing to the door being open”. The witnesses stated that all the naval men were quiet and sober. A verdict of accidental death was returned.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard 12th February 1915

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