Friday, 28 August 2015

Accidental Death of Welsh Soldier

Funeral of Gunner Corfield 

Saturday 28th August 1915: For the second time in just two weeks an inquest has been held at Bedford into the tragic death of a young Welsh soldier. Gunner Robert Corfield of the Cardiganshire Battery of the 1/2nd Welsh Brigade, Royal Field Artillery was killed on Thursday morning while taking part in a routine drill. A fellow gunner, Hugh Alfred Hughes, described how he was riding on the firing battery wagon in a field on the Ampthill Road. Gunner Corfield was mounted properly on the gun but fell backwards off the gun limber and the wheel ran over his head. The man on the horse could not see Gunner Corfield fall, there was no time to shout to the driver, and it was impossible for the gun carriage to stop immediately. As far as he knew Gunner Corfield was a healthy young man but he could only think he must have become faint.

Captain John Cook of the 2/1st Welsh Brigade Ambulance was in a field off Ampthill Road when he received a message that there had been an accident in the adjacent field. He found Gunner Corfield unconscious and bleeding profusely, but still alive. His jaw was fractured and there was a depression in the skull at the back. The cause of death was a fracture at the base of the skull. He thought it highly probably that the dead man was faint and overcome by the heat. Major J. C. Rey stated that he saw Gunner Corfield fall and also thought he was faint as there were plenty of opportunities for him to catch hold of something to stop his fall. He had known Corfield all his life and he was one of the best men he had. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death” and expressed their deepest sympathy with the man’s relatives.

Gunner Corfield was 27 years old and had been a hairdresser before the war. His funeral will take place tomorrow in his home town of Aberwystwyth. The chief mourners will include his mother, three sisters and two brothers.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard, 3 September 1915

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