A small series of photographs by Albert Parsons shows a military funeral during the First World War.
Roger Day kindly researched this, and found that funeral was of Charles Stephen Appleby, a Private with the 339th Motor Transport Company, Army Service Corps. He came from Sale Moor, Cheshire and died on 22 Nov 1915 aged 24.
Additional research by Dr Jimmy Whitaker (Jan 2018) adds that Charles Appleby had been living at Rutland Lane, Sale with his father, Stephen Cowton Appleby, a railway clerk, who travelled to Hungerford, no doubt by train, to identify the body as that of his dear son, Charles Stephen. He was the son of Stephen and Mary Appleby and was born in Sale, just outside Manchester in 1892. Prior to enlistment he worked as a butcher’s assistant.
- Pte Appleby's CWGC headstone in St Saviour's churchyard, 2017. (by Dr Jimmy Whittaker)
The Inquest into his death:
Clive Appleby (a distant relative of Charles Appleby) kindly contacted the Virtual Museum in Nov 2015, and was able to supply the following detailed information about his death and the inquest:
The death certificate: The death certificate gave his date of death as 22 Nov 1915, the cause of death being recorded as "heart failure".
His father's statement of identification: A statement given by his father identifying the body stated: "Stephen Cowton Appleby of Rutland Lane, Sale, Cheshire sworn states as follows: I am a Railway Clerk. I have just viewed the body now lying dead at the VAD Red Cross Hospital and I identified it as that of my son Charles Stephen Appleby, age is 24 years. He was a private in the 339th Company Army Service Corps."
A police report: A police report reads: "The deceased who was billeted with Private Harold Pemberton Brittain of the 339th Coy ASC at Mrs Ramsey's, High Street, Hungerford, complained of neuralgia on Thursday afternoon the 18th. Since then he has appeared alright except for a slight cold. on Sunday. He had his food as usual and went to bed after supper. At 4.30am and again at 6.30am in the morning the deceased was sick and had been breathing very bad. He came downstairs at 8.30am and had a cup of tea then returned to bed and was sick again." The statement was signed William Wetherall, PC 69 stationed at Hungerford.
A witness statement: There is a witness statement by Harold Pemberton Brittain supporting the facts above: "Harold Pemberton Brittain, a private in the 339th Company Army Service Corps billeted at Hungerford, gave a sworn statement as follows: I was billeted with the deceased at Mrs Ramsey in High Street, Hungerford. He complained of having neuralgia rather bad. I was with him on Sunday night last the 21 November 1915 I was in bed when he came home. He seemed quite alright then. About 4.30am next morning he got up and vomited he got back into bed again. I noticed his breath was very short and trembling. He vomited again at 6.30am and got up about 8.15am and had a cup of tea. I went down to the doctors about 8.50am. I saw him again at dinner time he was in bed then the doctor came. I saw the deceased about quater to 1pm."
The doctor's statement: The doctor's statement is signed by Dr Robert Blake James: "Robert Blake James of Hungerford, Berks sworn states: I am a medical practitioner residing at Hungerford. I was called to see the deceased on Monday morning last 22 November. I received the message at 9am that the man was sick and wished to be seen in his billet. I saw him at 1/4 to 1 same day.
I made arrangements for him to be taken to the V.A.D. Red Cross Hospital on a stretcher. I saw him there at 4 o'clock same day I saw him again at 6.30pm. I stayed with him till he died a little before 7 o'clock same evening.
When I saw him first he appeared to be very ill there were no physical signs to show what was the matter with him. I thought he was going to have an inflammation of the lungs but could not find any evidence.I examined him again at 4pm there was still no evidence as to his complaint.He died soon after 6.30pm.
The post mortem report: "I subsequently received instructions to hold a post-mortem examination on the body of the deceased which took place yesterday. The result was that was commencing acute congestion of the lungs and acute inflammation also commencing of the inside lining of the heart. He died from heart failure. The deceased came out into an usual rush in different parts of his body before he died his temperature was about 105 when I saw him first. If he had lived long enough he would have had inflammation of the lungs in 24 hours it would have developed had he lived."