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The Langport and Somerton Herald, Apr 12 1930




While engaged in carting manure at Westport, on Friday of last week, Mr. Daniel Harvey, a labourer, aged 64 years, of Walrond's Park, Ile Brewers, suddenly collapsed and died in a field.

A lad of 15 years of age was working with Harvey at the time he collapsed, and getting no reply to his question "What's the matter Dan?" immediately summoned assistance, but without avail. Deceased evidently died instantaneously.


Mr. G. P. Clarke, coroner for West Somerset, conducted an inquest at the Westport Inn on Monday afternoon.


William John Harvey, labourer, of Westport, Ile Brewers, son of the deceased, stated his father lived at Walrond's Park. He (witness) saw him working at Mr. Hallett's farm on Friday at about 2 p.m., when he appeared to be in his usual state of health. About a week ago his father complained of indigestion and said he thought he had caught a cold, but those were the only complaints he had maid. To his knowledge deceased had never complained of heart trouble. In 1928, as a result of a bicycle accident, his father was at home for about four weeks with fluid on the knee, but he had not since complained of any effects of that.


Thomas Male, aged 15, of Barrington, stated that he was employed by Mr. Hallett at Walrond,s Park, and on Friday afternoon he was engaged, with the deceased, in hauling manure to a field known as "Great Field." When in the field and while throwing manure on to a heap with a fork, deceased suddenly looked up and said he felt ill. At practically the same moment he suddenly collapsed, falling on his back. He (witness) asked "What is the matter Dan?" but, getting no reply, immediately went for assistance and found Mr. Glover. He (witness) had been working with the deceased for about a year, and had never heard him complain of feeling ill. That morning he had seemed in his usual state of health.


George Thomas Glover, a bricklayer, of Westport, said that when outside the Westport Inn on Friday, the last witness came to him and said deceased was ill. He immediately ran to the field, a distance of about 100 yards, where the deceased was lying on the ground. He unfastened the collar of Harvey's shirt, but as he could see no signs of life in him, he went and informed Mr. Wm. Harvey, deceased's son, and Mr. Hallett. The latter immediately went for a doctor.


Medical evidence was given by Dr. Godfrey Carter, of Curry Rivel, who conducted a post-mortem examination. He stated deceased's body was thin, but bore no marks of violence and there were no fractures present. The mouth and air passages were clear. Death was due to natural causes, and in his opinion, took place immediately deceased collapsed.

The Coroner: You found no trace of the accident deceased met with two year's ago? - No.

Questioned whether it would have required any extra exertion than that in his work to cause deceased's death, Dr. Carter said even digging in his own garden might have caused it. Death might have occurred at any time.


At this point, asked by the Coroner if he had anything further to state, Mr. William John Harvey said he should like to know why Dr. R. H. Vereker, of Curry Rivel, did not attend when he was summoned. Mr Hallett, deceased's employer, immediately went for him but he did not come.

The Coroner: I don't know and Dr. Vereker is not here this afternoon.

Mr. Harvey: He was my father's panel doctor.

P. C. Blick stated that Mr. Hallett had informed him that Dr. Vereker, when called, said that he would be there shortly, but, apparently, did not turn up until Sunday morning at about 11 o'clock.

The Coroner: Dr. Vereker is not here and I don't want to say anything against a professional, as there may be some explanation.

(To Mr. Harvey): You don't suggest that your father could have been saved if Dr. Vereker had attended when called? It seems quite clear that he was dead?

Mr. Harvey: It was not for me to certify that he was dead.


The Coroner: No. of course not. This is all news to me. I knew nothing about it until now. I don't think any useful purpose can be served by adjourning this inquest. It appears that Mr. Harvey's death was due, without doubt, to natural causes and, as Doctor Carter had stated, might have happened anywhere. With regard to Doctor Vereker not attending when called, I don't think it is fair to censure people, if censure is due, when they are not present to have the opportunity of explaining. Under those circumstances I think it best to let the matter rest where it is. If there had been any chance of saving Harvey - if it was a question where life was at stake, I should be prepared to adjourn this inquest. In view of Dr. Carter's statement, however, that death was instantaneous, even if Dr. Vereker had turned up he could not have done anything. There may possibly be an explanation, and if there is, I have no doubt it will be forthcoming.


Dr. Carter, in reply to the Coroner, stated he was so pleased with the assistance rendered him in connection with the post mortem examination by P. C. Blick, that he wished to bring it to the notice of the coroner.

The Coroner said post mortem examinations in the country, where there were not proper facilities, were very unsatisfactory, and that was the reason for trying to get cases taken to Taunton or one of the various centres where facilities were available. He was very pleased to hear of P. C. Blick's assistance to the Doctor in making the examination under what were probably rather difficult circumstances.

Returning a verdict of "Death from natural causes," the Coroner expressed sympathy with Mr. Harvey and deceased's family.


The funeral took place at Fivehead on Wednesday, the vicar, the Rev. G. H. Bode, officiating. Prior to the interment, a service was held in the parish church. The mourners were: Mr. Sam Harvey and Mrs. Pester, son and daughter; Mr. Wm. Harvey and Mrs. Thyer, son and daughter; Mr A. Harvey and Miss F. Harvey, son and daughter; Mr. and Mrs. T. Harvey, brother and sister-in-law; Mesdames F., S., Wm. and A. Harvey daughters-in-law, and Mr. Hutchings and Miss Pester.

The bearers were Messrs. W. Glover, H. Salway, G. Rowswell and G. Male.

The duties of undertaker were satisfactorily carried out by Mr. Cyril Clark, of Barrington.

The breastplate of the coffin bore the inscription "Daniel Harvey, Died April 4th, 1930, Aged 64 years." There was a beautiful lot of floral tributes from relatives and friends, including wreaths from deceased's employer Mr. C. M. Hallett, and from his fellow workers at Walrond's Park.


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