INQUEST IN THE VICTIMS - CORONER AND UNWARRANTED ATTACK - NOT SUCH A THING FOR 1000 YEARS...CORONER AND THE TRAGIC AFFAIR
...There had been a good deal of talk in the town about the fleet, but they must bear in mind that the fleet had a great work to perform. Its duties were enormous, and its responsibility was equally great.
Gertrude Annie Hall, 28, Westbourne-park, daughter of late Mr John Hall, J.P., identified the body. Her father was an architect.
The Coroner: He was also a Justice of the Peace?
Gertrude Hall: Yes
The Coroner: For the borough or county?
Gertrude Hall: Both
Continuing, the witness said "that besides deceased, her mother and herself were in the house. At about 8-15 a shell hit the house, going clean through the dining-room window. The mother and the witness were downstairs, and deceased upstairs when the witness heard the crash. Her father was in the room above the dining room. He called for them to proceed to him. Witness went, and found him wounded on the floor.
The coroner: Can you tell us briefly the nature of the injuries?
Witness said a leg was broken in two places, and the other leg was flesh rented. An arm was broken in two places, and there was a wound in the side. Was he conscious? - Yes.
Did he say anything? He said he was killed .
What was the condition of the room? - the shell had burst in the room below, and gone through the ceiling above, making large holes. Dr Hollings was called - witness thought he was in the street passing - and on his advice deceased was removed to the Hospital. He died just after arrival. What was his age? - 65.
JURYMAN AND "MURDER"
The Coroner said that was all the evidence he proposed to call. The bombardment was the cause of death, and they would find that deceased was killed by the bombardment by the enemy of the town on the 16th.
Mr Plummer Yoeman (foreman of the jury): I suppose I cannot say it is murder?
The Coroner said that in a verdict of murder he had to bind someone over to prosecute. He could not do so in that case, and that would be making the proceedings a farce. If persons were killed in war it was not necessary, in all cases, that inquests should be held on combatants. He had conferred with the Coroners Society as to cases of the deaths of non-combatants, and he thought in those cases the verdict should be as he suggested.
Mr Yoeman said it was a murderous attack which caused these deaths, a murderous attack on an unfortified town, and all the world should know.
A verdict as the Coroner had suggested was returned.
THE DEATHS AT 22, WESTBOURNE PARK. PATHETIC CIRCUMSTANCES
The case of the child, John Shields Ryalls, was next taken, the father, George Ryalls, who said he was of no occupation, giving evidence. The house, said witness, was struck by a shell which entered a bedroom, in which the child was, from the roof at the back of the house, Miss Bertha McIntyre, was also killed. The child, said witness, was injured on the skull and body. The child breathed its last about ten ten minutes later. He had not slept in that room - he had been taken up there just before . Miss McIntyre took him. She heard him crying at the noise, and with the idea of pacifying him took him to her bedroom, the shell dropping there just after and killing both.
The same verdict, as in the other case, was returned, the Coroner stating the facts were more sad as the child had been in what proved to be a safe place. He was taken away by Miss McIntyre to try to pacify him, and both were killed.
KILLED WHILST PERFORMING A KINDLY ACT
The Coroner next took evidence in the case of Mrs Merryweather, husband, said he and his wife resided in the house near the shop at the corner of Prospect-road and Columbus Ravine. When the first shot was fired witness was opening the shop. His wife asked him what it was. She then went to fetch some friends from a short distance away, with the idea of their going to the cellar door, and his wife was standing near the shop door jamb when a shell struck the main pillar of the door near Prospect Road. Shrapnel flew, all over and his wife was struck in the body, and fell down, saying: I am wounded.
She was conveyed on a vehicle to Dr Wilkinson's, but when she reached there the Doctor said that she had died. That was about ten minutes after she was hit. The other women were standing together, but only his wife was hurt.
A similar verdict was returned.
...A TERRITORIALS DEATH
The Court resumed at 3-30, the case of Albert Featherstone Bennett being taken. Bennett was a territorial, and had been stationed at Scarborough.
John Bennett, 1 Union Street, Scarbro' identified the body as that of his youngest brother whose home was with his parents at 2 Wykeham Street. Deceased was a Territorial in the Royal Field Artillery , and before that was a railway porter. He was at the time of his death billetted at home.
Christopher Candler Bennett, stonemason, now living at Norwood Street, brother of the deceased, said that on Wednesday morning, he was in bed at 2 Wykeham Street, when the deceased went to him, and asked him "to go and see after mother." Deceased had just gone downstairs when the house was struck by a shell, and witness fell through the bedroom floor to the lower floor, the house having collapsed. Witness fell amongst the debris, and the wonder is he was not killed. Deceased was in the fireplace, debris all over him. He was alive, but seriously injured. He died at the hospital at 4-20 the same day. A similar verdict was returned....
On the resumption of the Coroners inquirey on Friday night, the two sons of Mrs Bennett, Wykeham Street, were called and stated that a shell struck No. 2 Wykeham Street bringing down the roof and completely wrecking the house. The bedroom floor was brought down in which Mrs Bennett and the two children were killed. Mrs Bennett was found buried under the debris in the kitchen. One of the children had his head blown off and the other was disembowelled.
Mr Ryals stated that the shell which killed Mrs McIntyre, who was staying at his house, 22 Westbourne Park, apparently burst in the bedroom as she was dressing. He was on the scene within a minute or two of the explosion, and the lady was then dead. Her name was Mary McIntyre, of Sheffield, and she was an insurance agent, about forty two years of age.
Thomas Briggs, 11, Sherwood Street, Carter, stated that the deceased Margaret Briggs was a single woman, and a domestic servant.
MR J.H. TURNER'S EVIDENCE.
John Henry Turner, of Dunollie, Filey Road, stated that the deceased Margaret Briggs had been domestic servant with him for ten years. She was very trustworthy and respectable domestic servant. On Wednesday, at five minutes past eight, he was awakened by the sound of gunfire. He put on his dressing gown and went downstairs. He found the hall full of smoke and debris. He called out "Margaret" three times and had no response. When he got to the front door another shell burst just past him, shattering two doors in the lobby. He went into the library, which was full of smoke, and dust, and saw Miss Briggs on a couch there. He called her name, shook her, and satisfied himself that she was dead. Moving her shortly afterwards her body was laid open, a shell having evidently penetrated her body. The legs were broken also. He found afterwards that some of the books in the library were cut clean through as though by a knife. There was evidence of three shells having dropped in front of the house, within two or three hundred yards.
Mr Turner added, at the conclusion of his evidence, that he was of the opinion it was not safe for any women folk to remain in Scarborough.
THE SOUTH STREET FATALITIES.
John Foreman stated the deceased Harry Frith was a driver in the employ of Messrs. Land and Co.. He was 45 years of age.
John Willie Russell, grocer's assistant, Tindall Street, stated he was on the scene of the fatality within a few seconds of the occurrence. He heard a crash and went to the front door of the shop where he then was at South Street, occupied by Messrs. Land and Co. There were two bodies near, one of them that if the deceased, and the other was named Ellis. The latter was lying in the doorway of Messrs. Clare and Hunts.
Mr J.P. Medley, solicitor, appeared on behalf of Mr Frith's relatives.
Alice McKinley, Hampton Road, identified Leonard Ellis as her brother in law. He was a widower, and had two children aged 18 and 16. He was a porter at Messrs. Clare and Hunt, and was 47 years of age.
Thomas Lightfoot, 28, Tindall Street, identified the body of Miss Edith Emma Crosby, 1 Belvedere Road, who was his half cousin, and P.C. Shepherd spoke to removing the body to the mortuary about 10-30 on Wednesday evening. Sheperd said he found an unexploded shell in Belvedere Road in the adjoining garden of No 1. It was 18 inches in length, and 6 inches in breadth. He took it to the Police Station.
Thos. E. Buckle, 21 Kitchener Street, Haxby Road, York, idenetified Mary Prew, 17a Belle Vue Street, widow of Wm. Prew, who resided at the same address in Scarborough up to the time of her death. She was 65 years of age.
John Wilson, Belle Vue Street, stated that he witnessed the deceased, Mrs Prew, in front of his shop. A shell burst and knocked her down. He went to her, and she was dead, bleeding at the mouth. The bursting of the same shell broke all the windows of his house and shop in the front, and broke many other windows in the vicinity.
Jas. Wm. Beal, joiner, identified the body of Alfred Beal, who lived at 50 Raleigh Street, and was a postman.
P.C. Sheperd stated he found the body of Beal ten to twenty yards from the doorway of Dunollie. Death had taken place. The injuries were to the lower part of the body and left shoulder.
In each case the same verdict of death by fire from enemy vessels was returned.
Mr P. Yoeman, the foreman of the jury, expressed the view of the jury that the evidence of P.C. Shepherd had been of much assistance.
The Coroner agreed, and stated that other officers also had acted in a manner worthy of the police.
The Foreman also expressed sympathy with the relatives of the deceased in what he described as "this murderous business."
The Coroner said he quite appreciated the expression. It had been a sad thing, and showed the misfortune which might have happened to any one of them. They could only express their thankfulness that they were not amongst the victims.