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Samuel Whittaker, Imperial Yeomanry - suicide at Blackburn 30.11.1901 2 years 7 months ago #66264

  • BereniceUK
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Trooper's Suicide in a Blackburn Park.

....A sensation was caused at Blackburn on Saturday by a man shooting himself in the Blackburn Corporation Park, near the Cannons at Revidge. The deceased is said to be Samuel Whittaker, who formerly carried on business in Preston New-road as a plumber. His affairs were the subject of bankruptcy proceedings some time ago. Subsequently he served with the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa, and when he returned Judge Coventry granted his discharge from bankruptcy. Deceased is a middle-aged man between 40 and 50. It is reported that deceased has been strange in his manner of late, and has been medically attended.
....A later message says the deceased has been identified as Samuel Whittaker, who was formerly in business as a painter and decorator, and not plumber, as previously stated. The revolver was of heavy army pattern, and had been loaded in two chambers. The bullet entered slightly behind the right temple and passed right through the head, coming out behind the left ear.
....The scene of the tragedy in the Blackburn Corporation Park was on Sunday visited by hundreds of persons, who displayed a morbid anxiety to fix the exact spot on which was found Samuel Whittaker, who, as already reported, fatally shot himself with a heavy pattern army revolver. The police report states that deceased was 50 years of age, a master painter, and resided at 157, Preston New-road, and that he was discovered dead in the footroad between the rocks and the cannon. The report proceeds: - "Deceased went out to the war in South Africa in 1899, and returned home in March last. During the time he was away he was suffering from dysentery and enteric, but he seemed to get all right again. About three months ago Dr. Bannister was called in to see him, and found him to be suffering from depression and mentally strained. The doctor continued to attend him, and saw him on Thursday night, and stated that he was then in a bad state of health. Deceased left home about 10-45 on Saturday morning. At that time he appeared to be much as usual. At 2-45 p.m. Mr. Stratford, the park superintendent, was near the conservatory, when a young woman came to him and told him there was a man lying in the road leading to the top of the park. Mr. Stratford at once went to the place indicated, and there saw deceased lying on his back in a pool of blood. He was quite dead, there was a wound near each ear, and a five-chambered revolver was under one of his feet. Mr. Stratford immediately sent for the police, and P.S. Heys and two or three constables were quickly on the scene. The sergeant, who took possession of the revolver, found that one of the chambers contained an empty cartridge, and another one a ball cartridge. The body was removed on the ambulance to the mortuary at the Town Hall, where P.C. Jones searched deceased's clothing and found in one of the other pockets of the coat four other ball cartridges similar to the ones in the revolver."

The Haslingden Guardian, Friday 6th December 1901
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Samuel Whittaker, Imperial Yeomanry - suicide at Blackburn 30.11.1901 5 months 2 weeks ago #80203

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I've now got the report of his death that appeared in the local paper - he wasn't in the Imperial Yeomanry, it was actually Loch's Horse. Much of the report is similar to that I've already posted, so I'm just adding the last paragraph, plus the report of the inquest.


....The deceased was well-known in Blackburn, and his bankruptcy, which took place at the latter end of 1894, caused no little sensation in the town. He subsequently left Blackburn, and soon after the outbreak of the war in South Africa, Whittaker, who was an excellent horseman, joined Lord Loch's Scouts. He returned home some months ago, and since then he and his family have resided with his wife's father at 157, Preston New-road. In September, 1900, application was made in the Blackburn County Court for Whittaker's discharge from bankruptcy: and Judge Coventry, who granted it, suspended it for two years. While he was in South Africa deceased was attacked with dysentery and enteric, and within the past few months he had occasionally been attacked by the disease from which he suffered while away on service.
——
THE INQUEST.
....At the Town Hall, on Monday morning, Mr. F. D. Robinson,deputy coroner, held an inquest on the deceased.
....Mrs. Elizabeth Alice Whittaker, widow, said her husband was a master painter. He went out to South Africa with Lord Loch's Scouts in 1899. He was away 18 months, returning home in March last. Whilst out in South Africa, he had an attack of dysentery and enteric at Bloemfontein. Since he had been at home he had occasionally suffered from these diseases. Three months ago he was placed under the care of Dr. Bannister, who found him very strange and depressed. Dr. Bannister attended him on Thursday, but he was not in bed. On Saturday morning deceased left home at 10 45, as it had been his custom to do for the purpose of taking a walk. He seemed a little more depressed that usual. He had not threatened to do away with himself, and she did not know that he possessed a revolver.
....Mr. Stratford, park superintendent, deposed to being called to the spot where the body was lying in a pool of blood. A revolver was near his feet, and when he examined the body he found that it was cold.
....The Foreman: Did you see anybody about at the time?
....Witness: There was nobody about.
....P.S. Heys deposed to receiving the revolver (produced) from Mr. Stratford. It contained an empty cartridge and another chamber was charged with ball cartridges.
....P.C. Jones stated that at the mortuary he found four ball cartridges in the coat pocket of deceased.
....In reply to the Foreman of the Jury the Deputy Coroner said the deceased had not left any note behind referring to his death. Continuing, Mr. Robinson said the revolver bore the initials of the deceased, and he thought they could only come to the conclusion that Whittaker shot himself whilst in a depressed state of mind.
....The Jury found that deceased shot himself whilst of unsound mind. The Foreman added that it was their opinion that Whittaker had been led to commit this act through his business affairs, but the Deputy Coroner said they need not go into the cause.
The Blackburn Times, Saturday 7th December 1901


Samuel Whittaker enrolled with Loch's Horse on 15th February 1900, and left on the 23rd of June 1900; he returned to England on the S.S. Kildonan. I've not been able to find where he was buried. There's apparently no record of it being at Blackburn Cemetery, but I still think he may be there.

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