Sunday, 13 August 2006

Yesterday I told you something of my father's short-lived careers as a gunner and a criminal. (Although I'm not so sure that he didn't spend a rather longer time as the second. I only have his Victorian police record from 1938 to 1942.)

I thought that I'd find out a little more through the magic of the Web, so I searched the state archives and got a copy of his death certificate. This is where it got interesting.

He hadn't died in 1963 as I'd thought, but in 1966. And he didn't die of a stroke, which is what I'd been told. The death certificate said cause of death was 'effects of cerebral injuries received'. It also noted that there had been a coronial inquest in February of the following year. The death certificate had been issued in March 1967.

An inquest? I couldn't let that one slip past.

An inquisition for our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth II ....

The State Coroner, Harry William Pascoe, recorded his verdict:

[He] died from the effects of cerebral injuries received the day previous in a lane off Barry Street, Prahran, aforesaid under circumstances which the evidence adduced does not able me to determine.

Now I was really interested.

The police report of death for the coroner (completed by Constable G.J. Schipper) said:

Body was found in lane off Barry Street, Prahran by passing motorist who informed Ambulance on road who in turn conveyed to Alfred Hospital.

In fact, he was still alive when the ambulance picked him up. He died at the Alfred Hospital twelve hours after admission. During that time he remained unconscious. Because there were no obvious signs of trauma, the attending physician, Dr Heather Manning, assumed that he'd suffered a stroke. The pathologist would uncover the real cause of death later.

But at this stage they still didn't know who was lying on a trolley in the mortuary. Constable Schipper concluded his report:

No sign of anything in clothing that could be of assistance to help identify deceased. Missing persons informed of unknown male at Alfred Hospital and deceased is listed under serial No. 5304 at missing persons

I'll tell you the rest tomorrow.

1 comment:

Geoff_D said...

Well, snail lady, my dad was a gunner (well, he became a bombardier = corporal) too. But he actually attended the war. (That was a lot of AWOL!) And Jack was an artillery man as well, in the beginning.