Miscellaneous Deaths

Not all deaths were a result of active service. Many deaths were caused by accidents or friendly fire in training. For example there were five fatal shootings and three serious injuries in August 1914, at the beginning of the war, all involving soldiers from Territorial regiments ar home. Three of the killings involved soldiers being shot by mistake, and two other soldiers shot themselves accidentally while cleaning their rifles. These men had all volunteered and were on duty and in uniform, but none of these deaths are cited as the earliest casualties of World war One.

Friendly fire incidents during August 1914 – (War declared 4 August)

Arthur Cecil Rawson, probably Britain’s first WW1 Casualty.
  • 9 August – Cpl Arthur Rawson, 1st Cambridgeshire Regiment, shot dead in barracks when a comrades rifle misfired (he was shot on 8 August but died the next day)
  • 10 August – Gunner Louis Morrice, Royal Garrison Artillery, shot dead
  • 16 August – unnamed soldier, shot dead while cleaning rifle
  • 18 August – Walter Smith, 6th battalion Middlesex Regiment, shot dead
  • 26 August – Pte Pugmire, 6th Northumberland Fusiliers, shot dead cleaning rifle
  • 31 August – L/Cpl Thomas Ward, 4th battalion Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, accidentally shot by sentry.

The Hull Daily Mail reported a number of miscellaneous local deaths over the course of the war. These include;-

Private, William Holtby Habbershaw, 11th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, who died choking on his false teeth (HDM 07/11/1915).

Private, Arthur Herbert Smith, 5th East Yorkshire Cyclists, drowned on his 24th Birthday, while swimming at Withernsea, on the 17/08/1915.

Private, John William Milner, of the 3rd East Yorkshire Regiment, died in mysterious circumstances on the 5/12/1914. He had fallen from a balcony and impaled himself on the railings beneath. The Coroner recorded an ‘Open Verdict’. He was 38 years old and buried in Hull Western Cemetery. His wife Hannah Maria Milner who he had married in 1899, lived at 5 Ash Grove, Brighton Street, Hull.

Private, Albert Williamson, Northumberland Fusiliers, died falling from the Hull to York train, near Cottingham, on the 23rd November 1916. He is buried in Hull Northern Cemetery. He left a widow Charlotte Williamson, at 3 Percy Cottages, Mayfield Street, Hull.

Private, George Frederick Williamson, died on leave, from mushroom poisoning, on the 26th November 1916. He was aged 20 and is buried at Hull Western Cemetery.

Private, William Jackson, 78047, 1/9th Durham Light Infantry, killed alighting a car, in occupied Germany, on 9th July 1919, aged 20. His mother lived at Marlborough Terrace, Norfolk Street, Hull.

Private, Charles Arthur Lockton, 17/134, 17th Northumberland fusiliers, enlisted in the “Railway Pals” formed in Hull when war began. He served in France from 20/11/1915, but his war experiences had made him mentally “Unfit”. He was returned to England on 15th May /1917, but never recovered and was discharged from the army on 24th April 1918, having served 3 years and 222 days. He was declared “Insane” and died at the County Asylum, Sleaford on 13/11/1918, aged 38. His military character was described as “Very Good”, and his pension was left to his widow Clara, at 19 Villa Place, Hessle Road, Hull. There is no CWGC record of his death, but his name was placed on the Walker Street WW1 Memorial, Hull.

The following were deaths caused in Training.

Driver, Charles Milson, from Arundle Street, died during training in 1915 and is buried in Wiltshire.

Private, George Wilkinson, 3rd KOYLI, enlisted on 23/05/1915 and fractured his spine, during gymnastics training, at North Ferriby, on 19/06/1915. Unable to stand or walk. He was discharged from the army, on 21/02/1916 and died in the John Symons Home, Park Street, Hull, on 06/10/1917, aged 24. His war pension went to his only sister, Alice, at 200 Newbridge Road, Hull.

Sgt, Henry Hill, MM, 11th EYR, from 9 Berkshire Street, was killed in a Trench Mortar accident.

L/Cpl., George Leonard McKee, 2nd Coldstream Guards, was accidentally killed, during bomb throwing instruction, on the 8th October 1915.

Gunner, Albert Powley, Royal Garrison Artillery, was accidentally killed while handling ammunition. He was 32 years old, and left a widow at 37 Steynburg Street.

Able Seaman, Ivor Francis King, was killed when HMS ‘Brisk’, exploded in port, on the 2nd October 1917. He was 28 years old and left a wife and children at Rosamond Street.

John William Benson, a Royal Navy Engineer, from Hessle Road, died when his ship HMS ‘Glatton,’ exploded in Dover Harbour on 16th September 1918.

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