The death of (Henry) Robert Hagger, 13 Aug 1917
|As reported in The Hertfordshire Mercury, 18 Aug 1917|
SHOCKING ACCIDENT IN HERTFORD - THE POLICE COMMENDED A shocking accident which unfortunately had a fatal termination occurred on Monday morning in Ware Road, Hertford. A driver of a steam motor lorry in the employment of Messrs. Garratt & Sons, Millers of Hertford, named Robert Hagger, aged 55 of 43 Portvale was looking down at his engine as it was in motion when he collided with a tree and his leg was almost cut off. He died later in the day from shock and loss of blood. An inquest was held at the County Hospital on Wednesday afternoon by the District Coroner (Mr. P. R. Longmore) when Mr. C. Skerman was chosen Foreman of the Jury. Joseph Hagger, son of the Deceased gave formal evidence of identification. William Martin of 4 Brewer House Lane, a Fireman in the employment of Messrs. Garratt & Sons said that on Monday last he was working on their steam lorry, the Deceased being the driver. They were the only two men on the lorry, but there was a man named Street on the trailer. About 8.55 a.m. they were going along the Ware Road to Enfield. They stopped near Christ's Hospital the Deceased got off the lorry to put a ring in the pump cylinder which took him 2 or 3 minutes. He got on the lorry again and started off, but before they had got a good start the Deceased looked down at the pump and the engine collided with a tree on the left-hand side of the road. A witness thought the front part touched the tree and the Conveyance swung round. The Deceased then said "it's cut my leg off". The witness got down and helped P.C. Knight to extricate the Deceased. It appeared as if he had got his leg between the engine and the tree. The Deceased was then seen by Dr. O'Dell. The Deceased had been driving the same wagon for some considerable time. By a Juror: The Deceased had only travelled about 40 yards from where he put the ring in to where the collision took place and he had not got any speed up. P.C. Knight said that on Monday morning he was coming along Ware Road when he saw the steam engine standing outside Christ's Hospital. Before he got to it it started along Ware Road very slowly. The Deceased was looking down at something and when within a few yards of the Plough Public House the engine turned sharply to the left and collided with the tree. The witness ran to the engine and saw the Deceased pinned between the tree and the lorry his left leg being crushed above the knee. The Deceased was extricated and the Dr. and ambulance was sent for. Dr. O'Dell arrived almost immediately, and strapped the Deceased up and ordered his removal to Hospital. There was no other traffic about at the time. Dr. O'Dell said that when he arrived on the scene of the accident he found the Deceased being supported by the Fireman and P.C. Knight. His leg was smashed on the upper part of the thigh and was simply hanging on by pieces of skin and untorn muscles. A temporary tourniquet was provided, and he was sent to the Hospital where the leg was amputated and the blood vessels secured. He only lived until 2.30 that afternoon. He died from hemorrhage and shock. The Coroner said it was a sad and unfortunate case, but not in any way a difficult one for the Jury to come to a decision about. He would like to take that opportunity of complimenting the Hertford Police on the extraordinary way in which they always seem to be on the spot when anything happened in the street. The Beats and Patrolling of the streets must be exceedingly well arranged because if anything happened there always seemed to be a Policeman within a few yards willing to give every assistance. It spoke very well for the Police Force and the Rules laid down. He had had several Inquests lately in cases of accidents and he always found that there was a Policeman on the spot ready to do what could be done. The Jury returned a verdict of Accidental Death.
[Transcript supplied by Andrew Hagger, copied from the original cutting (held by a member of his family)]
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