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4304 Private John Richards, Welsh Regiment - suicide on 14.8.1904 2 weeks 17 hours ago #74294

  • BereniceUK
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EX-SOLDIER'S SAD DEATH.

SUICIDE AT NOLTON.
....A painful sensation was caused at Nolton Haven on Sunday when it became known that Mr John Richards, who kept the Mariners' Inn for his brother, had been found dead, hanging from a beam in a back house at the Inn. Deceased was discovered about noon by his brother, Mr George Richards, but was then quite dead, although he had been seen feeding the fowls at 10.30. From the evidence given at the inquest on the following day it appeared that he had suffered from a disease contracted during the South African War, through which he fought with the Welsh Regiment. On account of this he was invalided out of the Army, but his sufferings evidently caused him much trouble, and many times he threatened to do away with himself. He was a young man of fine physique and of an amiable disposition, and it seems sad that after fighting for his country through the war he should die by his own hand at home.
....The Inquest was held at the Mariners' Inn on Monday, by Mr H. J. E. Price, Coroner. Mr W. J. Canton, Q.C., was foreman of the Jury.
....George Richards, brother of the deceased, stated that his brother looked after the Mariners' Inn for him. He was invalided out of the 41st (Welsh) Regiment, having been through the war. Witness last saw him alive on Thursday evening at Little Haven. Deceased was 30 last January; he seemed in good spirits last Thursday. He had been suffering ever since he had been home, which was two years next September. He was discharged from the Army for pneumonia. He had been under one operation since his return. His sister was with him at the Inn up till Saturday. He asked her to go home and help his mother over Sunday, and then return on Monday. His young lady had given him up, but witness could not say if that troubled him. Witness came to the Inn on Sunday about noon and found the place locked up, except the bedroom window, which was open. Failing to get an answer to his knocks, he got a ladder and went through the window. He searched about the house with his brother and ultimately found the body hanging in the outer kitchen. He called in a man named James, and with his help cut deceased down. His brother was dressed in his ordinary every-day clothes. His legs were drawn up under him, and he could have stood up if he had liked. Witness had heard him many times threaten to do away with himself since his return. He used to get into violent temper and say he would put an end to himself; this would be when he was suffering from his side. Witness found a note afterwards on the bar counter, containing the words: "Good-bye to all; be kind to my dog."
....Martha Ann Lee, Nolton Haven, wife of James Lee, mason, stated that she saw deceased about 10.30 Sunday morning by the front door, against which he was leaning. She thought he looked a little strange. He appeared to be feeding the fowls, although she could not see latter from where she was standing in her garden.
....Dr. Wilson said he attended deceased sometime ago whilst in the Infirmary, when he was suffering from an abscess in the chest, which he contracted in South Africa. About a month ago he attended him and found he was practically well as far as the abscess was concerned. He seemed nearly all right then. Witness took out a tube from his side, which had been there to allow the discharge to come away, as the trouble had completely healed. He did not think this would prey on his mind.
....George Richards, re-called, said his brother was getting a pension of 17s 6d per week. It was 10s 6d up to last Christmas, when it was increased on account of his state of health. Witness produced deceased's South African medals, he having received both the late Queen's and King Edward's. The former had six bars, viz, Belfast, Diamond Hill, Johannesburg, Driefontein, Paardeberg, Relief of Kimberley. The latter had two bars: "South Africa, 1902," and "South Africa, 1901," whilst round the edge was deceased's number &c: 4304, Pte. J. Richards, Welsh Regiment."
....The Coroner said it was a very sad thing to see a young man, after going through all the hardships of the war, come home and put an end to his life. But that was the only conclusion to which they could come. The only question for them to consider was as to his state of mind, and he thought they could not but be of the opinion that his mind was at least temporarily affected.
....The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst temporarily insane."
The Pembroke County Guardian, Thursday 18th August 1904


No mention of the funeral, but the nearest place of burial would be at St Madoc's Church, Nolton.

Below - Nolton Haven, on the Pembrokeshire coast.
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4304 Private John Richards, Welsh Regiment - suicide on 14.8.1904 2 weeks 12 hours ago #74305

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Hi Berenice

Many thanks for posting this poignant story. Such a sad tale. Alas, many returning soldiers must have had their demons. The Welch regiment were certainly in the thick of the combat in the early stages of the war. Even the beautiful tranquil Pembrokeshire coastal hamlet of Nolton Haven could not heal him. I have enclosed his well-earned medal roll’s.

Regards

Dave

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
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4304 Private John Richards, Welsh Regiment - suicide on 14.8.1904 2 weeks 11 hours ago #74306

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That's great! Thanks, Dave.

Interesting medical information in the newspaper report; apparently most abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection, so presumably connected with the pneumonia which he was invalided home with. I wish we had someone connected with the forum who has medical knowledge.

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4304 Private John Richards, Welsh Regiment - suicide on 14.8.1904 2 weeks 11 hours ago #74308

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John Richards, originally a grocer from Haverfordwest, had joined the Welsh Regiment upon the 13th of April 1894 at Pembroke Dock, clearly he had been a good soldier achieving the rank of Sergeant, but, he had sadly been court marshalled twice and by the 7th of June 1899 it was back to the ranks.
He was discharged unfit upon the 30th of January 1903 at Crownhill having served in South Africa from the 4th of November 1899 until the 16th of June 1902, his next of kin is shown as his parents Richard and Mary.

BereniceUK wrote:

EX-SOLDIER'S SAD DEATH.

SUICIDE AT NOLTON.
....A painful sensation was caused at Nolton Haven on Sunday when it became known that Mr John Richards, who kept the Mariners' Inn for his brother, had been found dead, hanging from a beam in a back house at the Inn. Deceased was discovered about noon by his brother, Mr George Richards, but was then quite dead, although he had been seen feeding the fowls at 10.30. From the evidence given at the inquest on the following day it appeared that he had suffered from a disease contracted during the South African War, through which he fought with the Welsh Regiment. On account of this he was invalided out of the Army, but his sufferings evidently caused him much trouble, and many times he threatened to do away with himself. He was a young man of fine physique and of an amiable disposition, and it seems sad that after fighting for his country through the war he should die by his own hand at home.
....The Inquest was held at the Mariners' Inn on Monday, by Mr H. J. E. Price, Coroner. Mr W. J. Canton, Q.C., was foreman of the Jury.
....George Richards, brother of the deceased, stated that his brother looked after the Mariners' Inn for him. He was invalided out of the 41st (Welsh) Regiment, having been through the war. Witness last saw him alive on Thursday evening at Little Haven. Deceased was 30 last January; he seemed in good spirits last Thursday. He had been suffering ever since he had been home, which was two years next September. He was discharged from the Army for pneumonia. He had been under one operation since his return. His sister was with him at the Inn up till Saturday. He asked her to go home and help his mother over Sunday, and then return on Monday. His young lady had given him up, but witness could not say if that troubled him. Witness came to the Inn on Sunday about noon and found the place locked up, except the bedroom window, which was open. Failing to get an answer to his knocks, he got a ladder and went through the window. He searched about the house with his brother and ultimately found the body hanging in the outer kitchen. He called in a man named James, and with his help cut deceased down. His brother was dressed in his ordinary every-day clothes. His legs were drawn up under him, and he could have stood up if he had liked. Witness had heard him many times threaten to do away with himself since his return. He used to get into violent temper and say he would put an end to himself; this would be when he was suffering from his side. Witness found a note afterwards on the bar counter, containing the words: "Good-bye to all; be kind to my dog."
....Martha Ann Lee, Nolton Haven, wife of James Lee, mason, stated that she saw deceased about 10.30 Sunday morning by the front door, against which he was leaning. She thought he looked a little strange. He appeared to be feeding the fowls, although she could not see latter from where she was standing in her garden.
....Dr. Wilson said he attended deceased sometime ago whilst in the Infirmary, when he was suffering from an abscess in the chest, which he contracted in South Africa. About a month ago he attended him and found he was practically well as far as the abscess was concerned. He seemed nearly all right then. Witness took out a tube from his side, which had been there to allow the discharge to come away, as the trouble had completely healed. He did not think this would prey on his mind.
....George Richards, re-called, said his brother was getting a pension of 17s 6d per week. It was 10s 6d up to last Christmas, when it was increased on account of his state of health. Witness produced deceased's South African medals, he having received both the late Queen's and King Edward's. The former had six bars, viz, Belfast, Diamond Hill, Johannesburg, Driefontein, Paardeberg, Relief of Kimberley. The latter had two bars: "South Africa, 1902," and "South Africa, 1901," whilst round the edge was deceased's number &c: 4304, Pte. J. Richards, Welsh Regiment."
....The Coroner said it was a very sad thing to see a young man, after going through all the hardships of the war, come home and put an end to his life. But that was the only conclusion to which they could come. The only question for them to consider was as to his state of mind, and he thought they could not but be of the opinion that his mind was at least temporarily affected.
....The Jury returned a verdict of "Suicide whilst temporarily insane."
The Pembroke County Guardian, Thursday 18th August 1904


No mention of the funeral, but the nearest place of burial would be at St Madoc's Church, Nolton.

Below - Nolton Haven, on the Pembrokeshire coast.

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4304 Private John Richards, Welsh Regiment - suicide on 14.8.1904 2 weeks 5 hours ago #74313

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Frank Kelley wrote: John Richards, originally a grocer from Haverfordwest, had joined the Welsh Regiment upon the 13th of April 1894 at Pembroke Dock, clearly he had been a good soldier achieving the rank of Sergeant, but, he had sadly been court marshalled twice and by the 7th of June 1899 it was back to the ranks.
He was discharged unfit upon the 30th of January 1903 at Crownhill having served in South Africa from the 4th of November 1899 until the 16th of June 1902, his next of kin is shown as his parents Richard and Mary.


Thanks, Frank. I went back and re-checked the Pembrokeshire paper, also that of Haverfordwest, but found no other mention of him.

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4304 Private John Richards, Welsh Regiment - suicide on 14.8.1904 1 week 6 days ago #74316

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BereniceUK wrote: That's great! Thanks, Dave.

Interesting medical information in the newspaper report; apparently most abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection, so presumably connected with the pneumonia which he was invalided home with. I wish we had someone connected with the forum who has medical knowledge.


It could have been this ?

Empyema can develop after you have pneumonia. Many different types of bacteria may cause pneumonia, but the two most common are Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus. Occasionally, empyema may happen after you've had surgery on your chest. Medical instruments can transfer bacteria into your pleural cavity. Empyema is also called pyothorax or purulent pleuritis. It's a condition in which pus gathers in the area between the lungs and the inner surface of the chest wall. This area is known as the pleural space. Pus filled abscesses occur with immune cells, dead cells, and bacteria contained.
Regards
Dave
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
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