Two fatalities in South Milford

Local newspaper the Skyrack Courier on July 16th, 1915, reported that “Quite a gloom has been cast over the village of South Milford by two fatal accidents that have occurred”

The first was Mr Charles Percival Lister, age 34, who lived at the very bottom of High St and was a commercial traveller for G H Moon, of East Keswick, who had a shop in the village. The unfortunate Mr Lister seems to have accidentally shot himself with a gun and was taken to Leeds Infirmary where he died. He left his wife, Elizabeth and 2 children, Violet age 7 and Richard age 6.

The paper reports that “the deceased was greatly respected and was of a very cheerful disposition”. Also that “the South Milford C.C second team bemoan his loss, he being one of their best bowlers”.

The second was George Bramham, age 44, who lived in Poplar Terrace on Low Street and was a signal fitter for the North Eastern Railway Co. Mr Bramham left his wife, Mary, and children Ellen, age 19 and John, age 16. 

The Courier reports the evidence given at the Inquest and describes how he was working with 4 other men, including his father in law, George Wilstrop from Sherburn, at Copmanthorpe Moor level crossing when he was fatally struck and killed by a train. The crossing keeper had told the men that he was closing the gates to allow 2 trains to pass through on this 4 track section of railway. All the other men stood aside to allow the trains to pass except George Bramham who, through some loss of concentration, walked away from the others and remained on the tracks. His colleagues lost sight of him due to the smoke from the first train to pass and then found him with horrible fatal injuries lying on the track after the second train passed.

It seems that at that time there was no requirement to appoint a lookout man and the men were expected to ‘watch out for each other’. Extraordinarily, by today’s standards, a verdict of accidental death was returned by the inquest. The jurymen gave their fees to the widow. I imagine that is all the compensation she will have received!