Author Topic: HMS 'Pembroke', Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham - 3rd September 1917  (Read 4473 times)

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Offline John

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Re: HMS 'Pembroke', Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham - 3rd September 1917
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2024, 05:50:24 am »
Kent Messenger - Saturday 08 September 1917

Inquest on a Civilian.

An inquest with regard to the death of Mrs. Mary Longley, age 58, the lady killed in the air raid at Luton, Chatham, on Monday night, was held before Mr. C. B. Harris, County Coroner, at the Town Hall, Chatham, on Wednesday, Mr. Charles J. Potts being foreman of the jury.

The Coroner observed at the opening that the matter was one of military importance and they had to treat it as an incident of the war. The lesson they had to try to draw was that they shduld set their teeth and make up their minds there was no way to peace but through victory.

George Charles Longley, the husband, a draper's salesman, who at the time of the raid was living with his wife and family at 2, Church Terrace, Luton, stated that while he was sitting with his wife in the dining room at about 11 o'clock on Monday night, she remarked that she heard a very loud sound of an aeroplane. Witness went out into the yard to see what was about, but although he heard sounds he saw no aircraft. He was proceeding up the garden when there was a loud report, and on turning he saw that the house he had just left was demolished. He understood since that the bomb must have gone straight throngh the house and exploded in the cellar. His son, two daughters and niece had gone to bed, although one daughter had just got up. All were buried in the debris, but were got out, fortunately not much injured, except from cuts, bruises and shock. His wife's body was not recovered until the following morning.

Police Sergt. Richard Cullen, Special Reserve Constable, K.C.C., deposed to being present when the body was recovered in the scullery. There was a considerable quantity of debris upon the body, which was in a half-upright position. Her skirt had apparently been bloWn off by the explosion.

P.S. Ernest E. Hoare, K.C.C., gave evidence as to the raid. He was on duty at Chatham Hill shortly, after eleven o'clock on Monday night, in company with a police constable, when he heard the sound of aircraft and almost immediately afterwards bombs fell behind them in the direction of Chatham. Realising that something serious had happened, and not having received any warning, they decided to run in the direction of Luton to see whether information of a raid had been rceived there. As they ran they saw a bomb fall in the direction of Mr. Longley's house, followed by an -explosion and a cloud of dust. On arriving at the spot they found that with the exception of the scullery and the small bedroom above, the house was demolished. From what was discovered afterwards, undoubtedly the bomb went through the house, reached the cellar and exploded there, blowing the p;ace to pieces. Cries for help were coming from the ruins and witness and others set to work to rescue, and after a time brought out Mr. Longley's daughter and niece, neither of whom was badly hurt. The son, it transpired, was in the small room over the scullery, and hearing the noise proceeded to leave the room and found the remainder of the house gone.

In answer to the Coroner, Sergt. Hoare said there was no fire. Portions of the bomb found were similar to other pieces found in the district.

The Coroner: Is there anything to show they were part of a German machine?. Witness: I can't say, sir; they have been submitted to experts.

It is admitted from a military point of view there was an enemy air raid on that night? - Yes, it is admitted.

Very little notice was given of the raid? - Notice was not given until some tine after our section had left the station.

The jury returned a verdict that deceased died of injuries caused by a bomb from an enemy aeroplane, and both Coroner and jury expressed their deep sympathy with the widower and family.
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