The death of (Henry) Robert Hagger, 13 Aug 1917

As reported in The Hertfordshire Mercury, 18 Aug 1917


                    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
                    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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Page last updated: 14th January 2008, e-mail: martin@hagger.org