Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Five Year Old Boy Killed At Leighton Buzzard

Beaudesert Council Infants School, 1913 [Z50/72/21]

Wednesday 7th April 1915: The funeral has been held today for five year old Leighton Buzzard boy Hubert Michael Hyde, who was run over on Good Friday morning (April 2nd) while following the band of the West Yorkshire Regiment along Vandyke Road. Young Hubert was walking slowly backwards watching the bandsmen, when he was knocked down and run over by one of Mr. Arnold’s sand carts. Despite a plucky attempt by Drummer Johnson to snatch the boy from under the wheel it passed over the lower part of his body and caused injuries to his back from which he died a few hours later. This is the second tragedy to strike Hubert’s parents, Benjamin and Helen Hyde of 26 Regent Street, in the course of just three months. Their elder son, Private Richard James Hyde, died on January 9th while in training with the 1st/5th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment at Newmarket.

Around forty of little Hubert’s playmates and school friends attended the funeral, many laying little bunches of flowers on the grave in which the boy was interred next to his brother. Six members of the West Yorkshire Regiment band, including Drummer Johnson, carried the boys remains to his resting place. The mourners includes Hubert’s parents, his sister Constance, and his three surviving brothers, Benjamin, Frank and Reggie. Among the wreaths placed on the grave were flowers from the staff of Beaudesert Infants’ School and from the officers, N.C.O’s and men of C Company of the 12th West Yorkshire Regiment.

An inquest into the boy’s death was held yesterday. Drummer Johnson described how Hubert was turning sideways to look at the band, walked into the horse and was knocked down; despite his best efforts he was unable to pull the boy out of the way. He felt the driver had proper command of the horse and was unable to see the boy. Another bandsman said that he had warned the children several times because of the narrowness of the road; he did not think the horse was disturbed by the noise of the band. However the driver, 15 year old Albert Osbern of Evans Hill, stated that the mare started running when he met the band and he could not hold it back. He saw some children in front and “hollered” to them; they all ran out of the way except Hubert Hyde. Although he pulled right into the gutter to avoid him he could not get clear of the boy. He had driven the mare before and had never had any trouble with her. The Coroner stated that no blame could be attached to Albert Osbern. The child was listening to the band without paying attention to anything else, and did not realise he was in danger. The jury passed a verdict of accidental death and asked the Coroner to commend Drummer Johnson’s action and to bring it to the notice of his Commanding Officer.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette, 6th and 13th April 1915

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