The Forest of Dean.

Bygone Days

   Bygone Days.

Accidents & Rescues.

   Inquest of double road tragedy.

Pedestrian and motor cyclist victims of Steam Mills accident.

Cause unsolved by inquest.
An inquest held at Steam Mills on Monday failed to reveal the cause of a road accident on Saturday, in which a motor-cyclist and a pedestrian lost their lives.

The pedestrian, Mr. Joseph Hale, aged 79 of Bowson House, steam mills was run over and killed as he was crossing the road opposite his house by a motor cyclist, Mr. James Alfred meek (42) of 6 valley road, Cinderford, a sawyer employed at the Arthur and Edward colliery, who was thrown from his machine and died a few hours later at the Dilke hospital.

Mr Hale was for 57 years employed at the old Trafalgar colliery and was well known in East Dean.

The inquest on the two men was conducted in the little Baptist chapel at steam mills by the forest coroner (Mr M F Carpenter) sitting with a jury, of which Mr A Booth was the foreman. the jury men took the oath twice. Evidence was first taken regarding the death of Mr Hale.

John Hale of Brierley a blacksmith, son of the dead man, said his father was formerly a manager at Trafalgar Colliery.

Dorothy Emily Griffiths, of 11 Pembroke Street Cinderford, school mistress, said about 1.45 p.m. on Saturday she was standing in the front bedroom window at Bowson House watching Mr Hale, who was standing on a flat piece of ground on the opposite side of the road. Witness was getting ready to catch the 1.50 bus from Brierley where she was going to judge the Carnival. She saw Mr Hale walk across the road quickly towards the gate in an oblique direction. She did not hear any noise of approaching traffic. He appeared to be three parts of the way across the road when there was a shout and witness saw a motor cycle strike him in the side and drag him for some yards along the road. Witness ran out and Mr Hale was lying on the road with his head facing Steam Mills. Miss Hale ran up the road screaming and witness attended to her. A motor cycle was lying on its right hand side, with its front facing Steam Mills, and a man was lying on the pavement near the motor cycle. She did not, see the motor cycle before it struck Mr Hale. In reply to the foreman, the witness said Mr Hale did not hesitate. He walked as if he was in a hurry. She did not see a bus carrying miners.

Frederick George East, Edgehill, a Sawyer employed at the Arthur and Edward Colliery, said he was sitting at the back of a bus going in the direction of Cinderford. The bus stopped at Thomas's house and witness was handing a bicycle to a man when he glanced down the road and saw 150 yards back a man go up in the air from the road and another flung forward from a motor cycle. One landed in the middle of the road and the other in the gutter. Witness went back with others and recognised Mr Hale lying in the centre of the road.

Alfred Thomas Wixon, another passenger on the bus, said he looked up the road when Fred East shouted. He saw a man lying in the road.

PoolS of blood.

Police Constable J W F Adshead said he arrived on the scene at 1.55. Mr Joseph Hale was lying in the middle of the road in a pool of blood. He was on his right side with his head towards Steam Mills. He was dead. Mr meek was on his back at the edge of the pavement, also facing Steam Mills. The road was 20 feet wide and the surface was in good condition. The pool of blood was 8 feet from the nearside of the road facing Cinderford and extended 4 foot 8 inches towards the side of the road. The other pool of blood extended 2 foot into the road from the gutter. There were 2 drag marks on the road, the first 16 feet from where Mr Hale was laying, 6 foot 6 from the offside kerb, and 11 foot 4 inches long. A second mark was parallel with the first mark, 5 foot 6 inches from the offside kerb and 9 feet long. The second mark ended before the first mark. The marks were consistent with the foot rest and handlebars having dragged along the road.

There were spots of blood along the road from where the mark started to where the pool of blood was. The surface of the road was wet. There were no marks to show whether the motor cycle had crossed to its offside from its nearside.

Replying to the Coroner, witness agreed that when the motor cycle struck Mr Hale it was about 14 feet from the left kerb travelling in the direction of Cinderford.

Dr. H H Sumption, Drybrook said he was summoned and saw Mr Hale being carried on a stretcher into the house. He was told he was dead, so he went to attend Mr Meek.

Mr Hale had a deep cut on the back of his head 3 inches long, the skull underneath was cracked. There appeared to be a fracture at the base of the skull and the leg was broken below the knee. Probably he was struck on the side of the leg. Death would have been instantaneous. The cause of death was shock owing to the fracture at the base of the skull. There was a tremendous loss of blood.

The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence as to the cause of death and found the death was the result of being knocked down by the motor cyclist, Mr James Alfred Meek, who was on his wrong side of the road, but there was not sufficient evidence to show why he was on the wrong side.

The foreman of the jury, expressed the sympathy of the jury with both families. They trusted that the accident would be a lesson to all of us. The Coroner also expressed his sympathy with the relatives. He said he had known Mr Hale for many years. He was a well respected servant of the colliery company for whom he worked for so long. Only recently as he had passed he had noticed Mr Hale sitting on the little bank near his house, it seemed to have been a favourite spot of his. He was very sorry that Mr Hale should have met an untimely end. He also knew Mr meek and expressed his sympathy for those left behind in this case.

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