The Tragic Fate of William Henry Simms

Joan Barass told me a story about a shop that her husband, Jeffrey, had kept all his working life (from leaving school to the age of 81). This Yarn is entitled "An Ossett Shop That Was Kept by an Ossett Family For 115 Years and the History Of The Malt Shovel Inn". She had worked with him from their marriage in 1959 to when they left it in 2012. The shop at 155, Wakefield Road, Ossett had originally been kept by William Henry Simms, Jeffrey's grandfather. William eventually went to be the licencee of the Malt Shovel Inn opposite the shop. He then retired and the licence passed to his son, Joseph.
In 1924 William Henry was killed in a tragic road accident. This is the report of the inquest.

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William Henry Simms on the right. On the left is his son, Joseph.

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THE WAKEFIELD EXPRESS
AUGUST 30, 1924.
TRAGIC MOTOR FATALITY NEAR WAKEFIELD GARDEN CITY.
ROUNDWOOD EX-PUBLICAN KILLED ON BATLEY ROAD.
CONFLICTING EVIDENCE.
BATLEY MOTORISTS RETURNING FROM THEIR FATHER'S DEATH-BED.
A tragic story was told at Wakefield Town Hall on Thursday morning at an inquest on an elderly man, who died in the Clayton Hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning from injuries received through being knocked down on Monday night near the Garden City (the new housing estate from Batley Road to Roundwood - Eden Avenue, etc.), Dewsbury Road, by a motor-car belonging to a party of Batley people who were returning from the death-bed of their father at Clayton West.
The victim of the accident was William Henry Simms (66), retired publican, who lived with his son, Joseph Edward Simms, the licencee of the Malt Shovel Inn at Old Roundwood, near Wakefield.
The West Riding Coroner (Mr. C. J. Haworth) conducted the inquest, with a jury, there being also present the Chief Constable (Mr. R Yelloly, 0.B.E.) and Supt. A. Tattersfield. The owner and driver of one of the motor-cars concerned in the accident (Alfred and George Raine) were represented by Mr. H. P. .1. Bunney (Messrs Milner and Co., Leeds).

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The shop at 155, Wakefield Road, Old Roundwood with John and Joan Barras standing outside.

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Evidence of identification was given by Joseph Edward Simms, who said that his father left home about 5.45 on Monday night. He did not say where he as going, but witness knew that he had friends at Ardsley. The same night, about eleven o'clock, George Raine came to the house and told him that his father had been hurt. When he saw his father at the Clayton Hospital later and asked what he had been doing, deceased replied, "1 don't know, only two motor-cars knocked me out," adding that it was "a pure accident." Also, he said that he had been to Ardsley, and was getting off the Flanshaw bus when he was knocked down. When witness left the hospital his father said he was "done for," and would not see him again.
Dennis Shaw, of 20, Clifford-avenue, Sandal, a conductor in the employ of the West Riding Automobile Company, said that deceased whose body he had seen in the mortuary and identified — got on his 'bus at the Bay Horse Hotel, East Ardsley, about 9.40 p.m. on Monday. The old man was very drunk, and had to be helped on by two men. However, he was very quiet, and spoke rationally to witness when asked where he wanted to go to, but on the way to Wakefield gave pennies to a number of children who were on the 'bus. Deceased got off at Flanshaw Lane End about 10.20 p.m., and witness saw him stagger towards the footpath and lean against the railings. There was no other traffic about at the time.

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HOW THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED :
TWO MOTOR-CARS INVOLVED.
Alfred Raine, colliery deputy, 119, Carlinghow-lane, Batley, said that on the night in question he was being driven home by his brother, George Raine, of The Bungalow, Clayton West, after he and other members of the family had left the death-bed of their father at Clayton West. Questioned closely as to what first drew his attention to the accident, witness said that he did not see anything, but felt a bump on the right-hand side mudguard. The car was pulled up by his brother, and witness then exclaimed, "Oh, it's a man, George!" The man was lying in the road, and witness and his brother rushed out to try and stop their brother-in-law (Charles Robert Teak, of Carlinghow-lane, Batley), who was driving another car immediately behind them, as they thought. Before that car came up, however, another motor-car came in between, swerved to avoid the man in the roadway, and drove straight on without touching him, and without stopping. Raine said he was ten or fifteen yards away from the man at the time, and although he was shouting and waving his arms the car mentioned drove straight on, and he also failed to stop "Tale's car, which went right over the man in the road, stopping three or four yards beyond him. Witness did not know the injured man, although his brother did, and he could not say whether he was unconscious or not. The injured man was lifted into another motor-car coming from the direction of Ossett to Wakefield, and taken to the Clayton Hospital.

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In answer to the Coroner, Raine said that his brother's car had the electric head-lights on, but neither of them saw the man who was knocked down. It was very dark at that particular point of the road; and they were travelling at from 10 to 15 miles per hour. In his opinion the driver of the car which passed them must have seen the man lying in the road by the way in which he swerved in passing the body.
The Chief Constable, in cross-examination of witness, said it was most peculiar that with their powerful electric head-lights they had not seen this man. Was it possible that he was lying in the road when they bumped him ?
Witness : I cannot say.

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A Cubitt care of the time.

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NINE RIBS FRACTURED.
Dr. J. S. Loughridge, House Surgeon at the Clayton Hospital, said that Simms was suffering severely from shock when admitted to the hospital. He was badly crushed, and had a scalp wound. Death took place at 2.30 on Tuesday morning. A post-mortem examination showed that nine ribs had been fractured, and death was due to shock following the injuries. On admission the man smelt of drink.
Austin Arthur Moseley, 25, Upper Dalton-street, Liverpool, a driver in the employ of
Mr. Aspinall, motor engineer, 4, Fortescue-street, Liverpool, said that on the night in question he was driving a private touring car (a Cubitt) from Dewsbury, in the direction of Wakefield. Noticing a small group of people in the roadway he pulled up and found that there had been an accident. He was asked to take the injured man to Wakefield Hospital, and did so.
Wilfred Hollings, motor-driver, Haddingley-hill, Sandal, stated that he was walking home from the Ossett-road district on Monday night. On coming out of. Oakley-avenue, Garden City, he saw two cars standing in the main road. At the same time the driver of the Cubitt car sounded his horn for him to get out of the way. There was a crowd in the roadway 80 yards nearer Wakefield. Although he asked what had happened, when he got up to the crowd, no one volunteered any statement, and the people seemed afraid to give their names. The driver of the Cubitt car was the only person he recognised in Court that morning.

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THE DIFFERENCES IN DISTANCES.
At this point the Coroner reviewed the evidence taken so far, and re-called Alfred Raine. This witness again stated that the injured man lay some ten or fifteen yards behind their car, and he could not understand anyone saying it was 80 yards.
The Coroner : That was your statement, mind you, and all these statements are going to be very carefully checked off as far as possible. And why did you ask the driver of the Cubitt car to take this man to hospital? There were two other cars available : why should you drag him in ?
Witness : I didn't ask him.
Moseley was next re-called, and asked if they gave him any reason.?
Moseley : One of the men with me stopped behind to take the numbers of the cars. I don't know why they asked me to go to the hospital, because I was a stranger.
Hollings, likewise re-called, said no one told him anything, and everyone seemed to want to put it on the others.

THE CORONER AND THE BATLEY DRIVER.
Reference was made at this point to the absence of Charles Robert Teale, and it was stated that since this accident he had been mixed up in another one and had been injured, that being the reason for his non-attendance that morning.
The Coroner : When will Teale be here?
The Coroner's Officer (D. 0. Shillito) : His injuries were only slight.
The Coroner : Is he going to come here without any trouble, or will it be necessary to take steps to see that he does come?
George Raine : He will come without any trouble.

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TAKING THE INJURED MAN TO HOSPITAL.
WHY LIVERPOOL MAN WAS ASKED TO DO IT.
"WE'RE NOT GOING THAT WAY!"
Richard Aspinall, of 12, Greek-street, Liverpool, one of the occupants of the Cubitt car, and brother to the owner of it, was next called. He described how they were signalled to stop, .and that he saw in the roadway a man whom someone in the crowd said had been run over by a motor car. A man whom he now recognised as George Raine asked him to take the injured man to the hospital at Wakefield, and he replied, "Your engine's running, why don't you take him?" Both the Raines' refused to do this, adding, "We're not going that way!" Aspinall said he declined to take the man to hospital, unless one of the others accompanied him, and they followed on in another car.
Addressing the two Raines, the Coroner asked, Is it possible for your brother-in-law to be here this afternoon? If he isn't too ill to come he is putting the county to a considerable amount of expense, and there are statements made by these people from Liverpool which I should like him to hear."
The Coroner gave instructions for the Batley police to be communicated with, so that they could ascertain whether or not it would be possible for Teale to attend the inquest that day, thus obviating a lengthy adjournment. The Coroner added, also that the evidence was not satisfactory, and the case required further investigation. It would be better to hear what the other driver had to say.

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GEORGE RAINE'S STORY.
Whilst the Batley police were being communicated with further evidence was taken, George Raine, driver of the first car, being asked to give evidence if he cared to do so, after being duly warned.
Raine said that he was a mining engineer, and lived at the Bungalow, Clayton West. When he pulled up after feeling the "bump" which his brother had described, the deceased would be lying ten or fifteen yards away.
The Coroner : How do you account for the evidence of other witnesses on that point? Witness : I don't know, but I have "stepped" it, and I made it between ten and fifteen yards.
Proceeding witness described how the old man was run over by Teale's car, and expressed the opinion that the driver of the other car which came in front could not have seen the body in the roadway. There was no truth whatever in the statement that they refused to take the man to hospital. in fact, the driver of the Cubitt car volunteered to take him! He knew it was their duty to look after the man, and when the Liverpool men took him to the hospital he and Teale followed in another car. It was on arrival at the hospital that he recognised Simms, and immediately drove to Roundwood to inform, his son of the accident.

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ANOTHER LIVERPOOL MAN'S STORY.

Another of the five Liverpool men in the Cubitt car, Albert Homan, 61, Low Hill, told the Coroner that when they pulled up he saw two motor cars about 80 or 100 yards away from the crowd — it was a good deal more than the ten or fifteen yards mentioned by other witnesses — and when he saw George Raine he asked what had happened. Raine replied, "There's a man there, and I think he has had some drink." Witness then asked Raine for his name and the number of his car, but he made no response, and witness therefore took the number from the car.
The Coroner : You have heard him say he gave it to you? Witness : Well, he didn't.
Homan, proceeding, said he then went to the other standing car, and seeing two women in the back seat asked them to whom it belonged. The reply he got was "Oh, it's nothing to do with us, and you've a cheek to ask us, wasting our time!"
Cross-examined by the Chief Constable, Homan said that when he tried to get names and numbers he could get little satisfaction from the crowd, and meanwhile the man had been lifted into their car. He told the others not to take the man to hospital in the condition he was in, without a witness, and he was fully ten minutes trying to get someone to go with them. "We could not go to the hospital without a witness," he added, "or they would say we had done it, and I went to George Maine's car to make certain that he would go!"
In answer to Mr. Bunney, witness repeated that George Raine refused to give his name and address.
Mr. Bunney : My client has sworn that he gave his name, address, and number when requested.
George Raine I never refused to give my name and address to anyone. Also, we were not arguing for ten minutes as to whether I should go to the hospital, I didn't know this man, and the time was very short.
Mr. Bunney pointed out that the girls mentioned were not in his client's car.
The Coroner No, they were in Teale's car, and this inquest cannot go on until Teale comes.

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TEALE UNABLE TO ATTEND, AND INQUEST ADJOURNED.

Supt. Tattersfield at this point, informed the Coroner that he had received a telephonic message from the Batley police to the effect that Teale was suffering from bruises and shock, and liable to lose himself at times — as a result of his second accident. His doctor had told them that he was unfit to travel by train, but he might be able to attend if the ambulance was sent for him.
The Coroner thereupon decided to adjourn the inquest until next Thursday morning, at ten o'clock.

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UNSATISFACTORY EVIDENCE IN DEWSBURY-ROAD MOTOR FATALITY.
TAKING THE INJURED MAN TO THE HOSPITAL
WOMAN WITNESS CORROBORATES LIVERPOOL MEN'S ALLEGATIONS.

VERDICT OF "ACCIDENTAL DEATH" RETURNED.
THE JURY'S COMMENT.
The West Riding Coroner (Mr. C. J. Haworth) and jury were again engaged for well over three hours on Thursday investigating the cause of the motor accident on the Dewsbury-road, Wakefield on the night of August 25th, which resulted in the death of William Henry Simms, 66, a retired publican, who lived with his son at the Malt Shovel Inn, Roundwood.
The Chief Constable (Mr. R. Yelloly) and Supt. Tattersfield were again present.
Messrs. Alfred and George Raine (owner and driver of one of the motor-cars concerned in the -accident) were represented by Mr. Milner, of Leeds, and Mr A. E. Pelt represented the
relatives of the deceased.

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GEORGE RAINE AGAIN IN THE WITNESS-BOX.
When the inquiry opened George Raine, mining engineer, The Bungalow, Clayton West, was re-called and questioned at considerable length as to the distance the car driven by his brother-in-law (Charles Robert Teale, of. Batley) was behind him when he (Raine) pulled up after knocking deceased down. His reply was that he would not like to say definitely how far it was, as they were interrupted by the appearance of the other car which came in front and dashed on without stopping. Cross-examined by Mr Pell, he admitted that his right-side mudguard had been damaged, and the lamp dislodged, by striking the man.
Mr. Pell : Hadn't you plenty of time to stop your brother-in-law — Witness : We were checked for a few moments wondering which way the other big car that had slipped in between was going, as it seemed homing on top of us.
Mr, Milner : But you exercised every precaution?
Witness : Yes, but we had not time to get back to the other side of the body of Simms before my brother-in-law came on.
By a Juror : How far was your brother-in-law's car behind the one which swerved? — Witness : About twelve yards, but that car was travelling very fast.
The Coroner Could the damage to your car have been done had the man been sitting in the road? — Witness : It would have been his head, then, that caught the car.
The Coroner : Would that have dislodged the lamp? — Witness : Possibly because it was only loosened.

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WAKEFIELD WOMAN'S REMARKABLE STORY.
Fresh evidence, corroborating to a considerable extent that given last week by the witnesses from Liverpool, was given by Catherine Hilda Reynolds, wife of Lewis Reynolds,
37, Whitehall-street, Dewsbury-road, Wakefield. She explained that at the time of the aocident she was coming along Flanshaw-lane with her husband, and had just got to the corner
when she saw a small car seemingly lifted up and then bump down again in the road. Then '
someone shouted "Hey there, stop" and although the car had then got out of sight she heard
the brakes being applied. On getting into the main road she saw two motor-cars standing higher up in the direction of Ossett, and two men were approaching an object lying in the road. The cars were quite 80 to 100 yards away. Getting still nearer she saw that it was a man lying in the road, and she saw one of the men bend down, turn him face upwards, and then heard the . question put as to where he wished to go. One of the men suggested taking the injured man on

to Dewsbury Infirmary, but the man seemed to hesitate and made no reply. Witness then said, "Why not take him to the Clayton Hospital?" but they replied that they had not time, and were not going in that direction.
The Coroner : You don't recognise them here this morning? — Witness (looking round) : No sir.

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Proceeding, Mrs. Reynolds said that the men added that they did not know the way, but to this she replied that they had only to follow the tramlines, and could be at the Clayton Hospital in ten or twelve minutes. They made no reply to that, and nothing more was said regarding hospitals until the big car going the opposite direction was pulled up. The men then told the driver of this car that there was a man down in the road who wanted taking to the hospital. The driver agreed to take him but asked for witnesses to accompany him, as he said he came from Liverpool. The two men to whom she had spoken both said that they could not go, as they had not time.
The Coroner : Did anybody refuse to go? — Witness : They both refused.

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TEN MINUTES' DELAY IN GOING TO HOSPITAL.
Eventually, said Mrs. Reynolds, the car set off to Wakefield, but it would be ten minutes before they finally decided what to do. There was an argument, in which the driver of the big car said he would not go unless the others went with him, otherwise he would be liable to be detained, and he had not had anything to do with the accident.
The Coroner : Can you see anyone in court whom you saw that night? - Witness : I can only identify Mrs. Wardle and Mr. Hollings.
Mrs. Reynolds was closely cross-examined by Mr. Pell and Mr. Milner, and finally Mr. Milner asked : Have you read the report in the newspaper? — Witness : Yes, I saw it on Saturday morning.
Mr. Milner to the Coroner : With all respect, sir, that further discounts a good deal of what has been said.
Mrs. Reynolds repeated her statement that both men refused to go to the hospital with the injured man, and Teale, who had been given an opportunity of cross-examining her, said he repudiated the allegation that that statement applied to himself.
The question of distance was investigated at considerable length and on this point the Coroner re-called Wilfred Hollings (Wakefield) and Richard Aspinall (Liverpool) whilst further

evidence was given by Albert Gomersall, of Ivy Dene, Dewsbury-road, Wakefield, and
Mrs. Charlotte Wardle, of Acute-terrace, Flanshaw. In order to get more definite evidence on this point, it was decided by the Coroner that Gomersall, Hollings, and Aspinall, should pay a visit to the scene of the accident, in the company of Supt. Tattersfield, Mr. Milner placing his car at their disposal for that purpose.

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CHARLES ROBERT TEALE GIVES EVIDENCE.
Whilst this was taking place Charles Robert Teak, general dealer, of Carlinghow-lavic Batley — the driver of the motor-car which it was alleged ran over Simms — was given an opportunity of making a statement. After being duly cautioned by the Coroner, Teak explained that he had been pulled up near Cross-lane by some trouble with his lights. Just as he was getting Tinto his car again a big covered car drove out of Cross-lane, and witness drove behind this down the main road. The next thing that happened was hearing somebody shouting, and on pulling up his car saw his brother-in-law, George Raine, who said, "There's a man drunk in the road," and his own son (Harry Teale), who had been riding in Raines car, said, "Uncle George's knocked a man down."
The Coroner read over to witness the evidence given last week by Alfred Raine, and asked if he had anything to say in reply; and he said that the only thing he could say was that the body was a considerable distance behind his own car.
TEALE AND THE LADIES IN THE SECOND CAR.
Witness also added : There was a witness last week who said something about two ladies in the car, and I did not like it.
The Coroner : That was the evidence of a witness from Liverpool, and he is not heteto-day. Were you there when the conversation took place? — Witness : No, I was dealing with the injured man.
The Coroner : The you cannot say anything about it! — Witness : 1 cannot believe the statenient. They were my brother-in-law's children, two girls of 15 and 13. If they did say it, they did not know at the time that we were involved in an accident. I cannot understand those young ladies saying anything like that, and I want to clear it up.

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GEORGE RAINE AGAIN RE-CALLED.
After Teale had given further evidence in cross-examination, the Coroner asked George Raine, "Are you perfectly certain that Teale's car went over the man who had been knocked down? —Raine : I am, sir.
The Coroner : Did you tell him that he had run over anybody? — Raine I said he had run over this man.
The Coroner : Did he say anything to that? - Raine : I don't know. We were all much distressed.
The Coroner : He has told us you said, "There is a man drunk on the road." Did you say that? Raine : I cannot. I did not know the man was drunk until the morning of the inquest.
By this time witnesses had returned from examining the road, and each of them were asked to give his version; and Gomersall asked permission to amend his evidence in certain particulars.
Supt. Tattersfield explained the measurements which he had made.
Later, evidence was given by Harry Teale (16), son of Charles Robert Teale, who said be saw a man in front of his uncle's car, and felt a bump. The brakes were not put on straight away, but Alfred Raine said, "Let's get out and stop, Bob," and they then pulled up — This witness was cross-examined at some length by Mr. Pell as to the hesitance of his uncles in getting out of the car after Simms had been knocked down, which led Mr. Milner to remark in re¬examination that it looked very strange that Mr. Pell should have got all that information, and as if there had been some discussion about the matter!

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CORONER'S DISSATISFACTION.
The Coroner told Mr. Milner that he need not say any more about it! "If you ask me," he added. "the whole thing is very unsatisfactory and is contradictory from the very start."
In summing up, the Coroner said that the case had been somewhat complicated and much prolonged on account of circumstances which took place after the man was actually injured. Of course what took place after a man had been injured could not affect the position as it stood at the time the injury was done, but where there was not any clear evidence as to what had taken place it was sometimes necessary to look at the conduct afterwards of the parties concerned. In that connexion he was bound to say that this case had been much prolonged on account of the attitude of certain parties connected with it, after the injuries had taken place. The Coroner impressed upon the jury that there was no evidence of criminal negligence in the

driving of these motor cars, and there was nothing to suggest that the cars were being driven at anything but a reasonable pace. In outlining the evidence Mr. Haworth said that the two Raines had given an account of what happened which, up to a certain point, was a satisfactory one, They both said unmistakably that the car driven by Teale ran over the man, and the medical evidence as to the large number of ribs broken on both sides of the body suggested that he had been run over. If the case had stopped there it would not have lasted half the time it had done, there would have been no reasonable doubt or suspicion, and the jury without hesitation, would have returned a verdict of "Accidental death." But after that point evidence had been given which necessitated careful examination of that given by various people, such as the story of the three Liverpool men who said they were asked to take the injured man to the hospital, denied by the Raines' but supported by another witness that morning.

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Mrs. Reynolds, he thought, had given a clear account of what she saw, and her story about a ten minutes' discussion before Simms was taken to the hospital confirmed the statements of the men in the Cubitt car. It was only fair to the Raines' to say that they denied this, and that George Raine said definitely he did not refuse to take the man to hospital. On the other hand there was nothing in the evidence which would enable the jury to say *hat this was a case of manslaughter. The man was apparently knocked down by the first car, and the injuries which killed him must have been caused by the second car.
Mr. Milner interpolated a reminder — which the Coroner accepted — of what the dead man himself said at the hospital, namely, that the affair was "a pure accident"

THE VERDICT.
The jury considered the case in private, and on their return the Foreman (Mr. Harry Marsh), said that their verdict was one of "Accidental death." It was the opinion of the jury, he added, that if there had been more expedition shown by the people in the first car which knocked the man down, it was quite possible that the subsequent more serious injuries might have been avoided.
Mr. Milner, on behalf of Messrs. George and Alfred Raine expressed their sincere sympathy with the relatives of the deceased. The matter was an unfortunate one, and, they felt it very much.
The Foreman of the jury also added the thanks of the jury to the Liverpool people for what they did in the matter.

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