Suicide by train ....

Discussion in 'Court Records' started by Half Hour, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    2 questions in one!!

    If anyone could find this .... I would love to see a copy or newspaper report of the inquest for my gr. grandfather Walter James Hillier who died May 29 1919 , Medway, Kent ,after jumping in front of a train at Meopham station. :eek: His death certificate says there was an inquest held on June 2 1919, Rochester. NO..I'm not gruesome, but a 2nd cousin had told me about this but I wanted proof and now I have it and I am curious..

    2nd question.. if someone's suicide was "felo-de-se" in 1919 would it still have been considered a criminal act and his property turned over to the crown or was this outdated by then?
     
  2. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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  3. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I've yet to find a report of the inquest, but there is this brief article in the East Kent Gazette 7th June 1919
    William James Hillier, age 63, of Leigh Road, Gravesend, died at St Bartholomew's Hospital, Rochester, on Friday, as the result of injuries sustained through being run over by a train on the railway at Meopham, on the previous day. A platelayer saw Hillier suddenly step off the platform in front of an incoming train. He was terribly injured and at the hospital it was found necessary to amputate both legs.
     
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  4. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Ann....Interesting how stories get exaggerated . Same 2nd cousin told me he jumped off an overpass in front of the train, but the D.C. never said that although I do think the word they used is jumped ( bad writing). I am wondering if he was drunk ( he and his wife apparently often were, but again that is rumours...) Same person also told me he only had one leg at the time..
     
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  5. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I can’t find any other reports, so I doubt it was considered a suicide - the death certificate would almost certainly say it was suicide and the newspapers loved a good suicide story :( It must have been treated as a very sad accident.
     
  6. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    It says..
     

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  7. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    Interesting - it says he jumped ‘deliberately’ but doesn’t go as far as saying it was suicide. I suppose there was no note or any indication, before he jumped, that he was going to do what he did, so it would be impossible to prove. I wish I could find a newspaper report of the inquest......
     
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  8. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    I thought from what I have researched that since it said "felo-de-se" that meant they came to the conclusion it was suicide. As the death was registered the day after the inquest and it was signed by a coroner. They certainly were not a family that could have paid to keep it quiet. I'm glad my grandmother was already over here in Canada when it all happened.
     
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  9. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I was forgetting about the ‘felo de se’ :oops: Even more reason for there to be a newspaper report, but I’m blowed if I can find one :sceptical:
     
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  10. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    Maybe they misspelled his name..happened a lot when trying to search the family! Thanks for trying, Ann. At least it is out in web land now so maybe someone will know about it and help out at some point.
     
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  11. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    Well, I've gone through all the Kent newspapers available on-line for the first and second weeks of June 1919 and can still only find the mention I've already posted. It really is strange :sceptical: There are several other suicides or deaths referred to the Coroner, but no mention of Walter. Perhaps the reporter never turned up for the Coroner's court when the inquest took place :rolleyes:
     
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  12. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    I don't have the newspaper-rootling skills of Ann, but I could only find the report posted above. I'd say 'felo-de-se' is quite conclusive.

    My great grandfather also died under a train - a few years after Walter's demise, and I was unable to find anything in the newspapers for that, apart from a small snippet saying 'body believed to be missing person X'. One would imagine that it would not only appear in the local editions (possibly not yet digitised) but be reported in other areas too around that date. Or perhaps people dying under trains wasn't seen as particularly newsworthy at the time - it's odd.

    Do you have the inquest report, Sue? I called up my g-gf's, and it was well worth the outlay. There were witness statements from several family members/friends as to his character and state of mind before leaving home, and eventually a verdict of 'accident' was returned, but I do wonder if the family covered up. The fact that his hearing was good, it was a clear and bright morning... hmm.
     
  13. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    How would I go about getting it? Please and thank you...

    I have a gr. uncle here in Ontario who was killed by a train when his team of horses got spooked by the whistle on the train and the newspapers even ran the coroner's report. This was in 1911... As Ann says, the more blood and gore the better!
     
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  14. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    According to Kent County Council's site, they are held at Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone. It says they are 'normally available after 100 years' and 'if you would like access to these records please contact the coroner from the relevant area in Kent'. I expect it would be Mid Kent & Medway. Contact details for coroner's office are on Kent County Council's website.

    This is actually a bit more complicated than when I accessed my g-gf's in Wales. I simply said what I was after (he was killed 1924) and the copying service from the local archives wasn't that expensive.
     
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  15. GrannyBarb

    GrannyBarb Custodian of the Family Accounts

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    If he was younger, I would say perhaps he was into thrill-seeking, or took a dare to run across the track in front of an oncoming train. But at 63, even if drunk, that seems unlikely.
     
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  16. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    From what my 2nd cousin (who has disappeared off of the face of the earth, or at least King's Lynn) has said he was a bad one. Her grandfather, who was my gr. uncle, apparently told her a bunch of horror stories. Dad said Grandma never talked much about her home, but they did seem quite proud that he was a waterman. I always heard that!!
     
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  17. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    @Bay Horse ..I'll see what I can find on the weekend and email them. Thank you.
     
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  18. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    I received the following email back from my request for the coroner's report... so now I will wait.
    [​IMG]
    KentandMedwayAdmin@kent.gov.uk
    4:45 PM (3 hours ago)


    to me
    [​IMG]




    Thank you for your email



    We receive a high volume of emails and telephone calls on a daily basis and therefore it is not always possible to respond as quickly as we would like.



    To help speed up the process it would assist greatly if when emailing you do not follow it up with a telephone call as this does add to the workload.



    The team will action your request as quickly as possible.



    Thank you for your patience.



    Kent and Medway Admin - Coroners (General Enquiries)

    Coroner Service |Public Protection | Environment, Planning & Enforcement|Kent County Council

    03000 410503|Cantium House, Sandling Road, Maidstone, ME14 1XD
     
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  19. Half Hour

    Half Hour Well-Known Member

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    I received a reply yesterday... the archives can't find anything either. :( When I sent the original email I even included the death reg. so I guess there really isn't anything else they can do. :eek:
     
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  20. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    Well, at least you know you’ve tried :D
     
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