Evening Express Feb 3rd, 1940

Mother tells of fire tragedy

Vain effort to save children

Dramatic evidence of how two young Liverpool children perished in a house fire while their mother was absent for only ten minutes, was given at a Liverpool inquest today. The victims of the double tragedy were Gerard SUDBURY aged 3, and his sister Margaret Mary aged 2, who lived with their parents in Hatfield St, off Paddington, Liverpool. The tragedy occurred shortly after noon on Thursday. The mother, Mrs Margaret SUDBURY said she left home to go to the shop just over the road from where she lived. At the time the children were sitting on a couch which was on the opposite side of the room to the fire. There was a fire guard in front of the fire, and this had been securely fastened by her. Outside the fender was a rug.

Mrs SUDBURY said, that when she returned, after an absence of ten minutes, the vestibule door was smoking, volumes of smoke were coming from the kitchen. She entered the smoke filled room and crawled over the rug, she caught sight of Margaret sitting on a chair by the window, she picked her up, but as she was carrying her through the door it burst into flames. She left Margaret in the street and went back for her son, but was unable to find him.

Joseph Frederick MORRIS, general labourer, of Paddington Gardens, Liverpool, said he borrowed a gas mask from a soldier and entered the house by a window. He groped his way over to the far side of the room where he found the boy.

Fire Brigade Inspector Joseph Denis BRAMHALL, of the Liverpool Fire Brigade said the kitchen was extremely burned, but concluded that the fire had started at the opposite side of the room to where the fire grate was. Their was a large quantity of soot in the fire grate, which could suggest that hot soot had fallen down the chimney and caused the fire.

The floorboards on the opposite side of the room, however, were charred, and this lead him to believe the fire was caused by the children looking for something with a naked light.

Medical evidence was then given that the children were dead when they arrived at the Royal Infirmary. Death had been caused by suffocation.

The Coroner recorded a verdict of Accidental Death in each case. He commended for his courageous act, on behalf of the court Mr MORRIS who entered the smoked filled room in an endeavour to save the boy , saying he acted in a brave manner.


£1015 for loss of son

Tragic accident at road junction

In a case that was settled before Mr Justice SINGLETON at Liverpool Assizes today, £1015 damages and costs were awarded to Mr and Mrs Charles Joseph WHELAN, of Milford St, Liverpool for the loss of their four years ten months old son, Bernard WHELAN.

Damages were awarded against Joseph Elisha JACKSON, of Harvey Rd, Wallasey and Percy de WHITE, taxi driver of Rydal St, Liverpool.

The boy received fatal injuries in a motor car accident on July 15th last at the junction of Derby Rd and Boundary St, Liverpool. It was alleged that JACKSON in order to avoid coming into collision with de WHITE and his taxi cab, drove his motor car against an electric standard.

The boy was sitting on a portion of the electric standard, was so severely crushed that he died soon after the accident.

Mr Justice LYNSKEY, K.C, and Mr Raleigh BATT appeared for the plaintiff, and the defendants were represented by Mr Basil NIELD.


Daily Post, Tues, Oct 1st, 1940



Dr Alexander Charles CUMMING of Red Latches, Caldy, has died from heart failure while shooting near Meifod, Montgomeryshire, at the age of 60. On Saturday he failed to attend the lunch and when a search was made he was found dead.

Dr CUMMING was well known in Liverpool business circles and was formerly managing director of Macfie and Sons, the sugar refining firm, retiring three years ago. He was also a director of United Molasses Company Ltd, and chairman of Messers Ramis Clark and Co Ltd a Scottish Chemical concern.

An Australian by birth he had a successful university career in Australia, Scotland and England, gaining many academic distinctions in chemistry and obtaining a doctorate of science. He was also Professor of Chemistry at Edinburgh University.

He was awarded the OBE for secret work during the last war, when he offered his services to the Government and organised TNT factories at Leith and Edinburgh. At Leith he converted and egg factory to the purpose until the naval authorities objected to an explosive factory in the district. After the war he devoted himself to Industrial Chemistry and joined the board at Macfies fourteen years ago.

He was a keen Rotarian and a member of the Liverpool Club, and up to the time of his death was a helper at the Angel Club. He leaves a widow and five children three daughters and two sons, the eldest is a medical student, the youngest a trooper in the Royal Tank Corps.

The burial will take place privately at Glenisla, Angus, where Dr CUMMING has owned a cottage for 20yrs.



A Liverpool born Fighter Pilot, Lieut R. K. RIMMER aged 21 has been killed in action in the recent fighting over London.

The eldest son of Flying Officer L. J. RIMMER a test pilot and Mrs RIMMER of 284 Promenade, Meols.

Lieut RIMMER was a member of the Liverpool and District Aero Club and his father who is well known on Merseyside as a pilot of the last war, and a prominent figure in civil aviiation, he took up flying as a career. After leaving Holt School he entered the Nautical School, Byrom St to prepare himself for entry into the RAF

Three and a half years ago after taking his pilotís certificate in the Aero Club Flying School, he was passed into a flying squadron in the RAF and has been exclusively with fighter planes since then. In June this year he was promoted to Flight-Lieut.

His record in the air includes shooting down eight German planes and he saw active service with Metropolitan Squadron over Holland, Belgium and Dunkirk.




A large number of theatre goers on Merseyside and an even wider area will learn with regret of the death of Mr John GAFFNEY, formerly manager of the Shakespeare Theatre Liverpool.

Mr GAFFNEY who a generation ago was one of the best-known figures in theatrical life in Liverpool died at the residence of his daughter at Gerrardís Cross, Bucks.

For 20yrs from 1883 to 1913 he was manager of the Shakespeare Theatre having been connected to the building since its opening. He left in 1913 to take over the general managership of the Scala Theatre, Seacombe.

During his tenure of the Liverpool theatre he was extremely popular and known to all the famous actors and actresses, he reckoned every famous actor with the exception of IRVING had been on the Shakespeare boards.

He received a notable testimonial on his retirement , and some 10yrs, later a benefit matinee was arranged at the theatre for him.



Mrs Milly EDWARD-JONES widow of Dr S. EDWARD-JONES and for three consecutive years mayor of Wrexham, besides being Mayoress during her husbands Mayoralty , died suddenly at her residence in Wrexham yesterday.

A daughter of the late Capt and Mrs George MARSH of Pickhill Hall, Bangor, Isycoed, she took a prominent part in local government and was a JP for the borough.


Inquests at Liverpool yesterday

A verdict of suicide while the balance of his mind was disturbed on Private George SEDDON, aged 30 of Burwood Dr, Adswood, Stockport, found shot in his billet in Liverpool yesterday.

Sgt Alfred BROWN said, SEDDON had been a very good soldier until he was evacuated from France. He had since then been quiet and moody and would not talk to his friends.

A verdict of accidental death returned on Mankret DAVIES, 34, General labourer of 72 North Hill St, Park Rd, Liverpool who was knocked down by a lorry during an air raid alert on Scotland Rd, on Thursday.


Oct 2nd 1940


The Liverpool Coroner Mr G. C. MORT at an inquest yesterday, found Mrs Emily FAIRCLOUGH, aged 58, laundry manageress, of 42 Catherine St, found lying unconscious in Bold St had died through natural causes.

Miss Jessie GUTCHER who lived in the same house said they met on Saturday in the Wine Lodge and later on the way home they stopped in a shop doorway in Bold St to tie up a parcel. A man came over and struck Mrs FAIRCLOUGH there was a scuffle and they fought back with their handbags, the man then ran away. A few minutes later witness saw Mrs FAIRCLOUGH lying in the roadway.

Const Hector H. RONALD said he was on duty in Bold St and heard a scream and found Mrs FAIRCLOUGH unconscious in the road, Miss GUTCHER told him a man had hit her friend in the face and she threw her handbag at him. Mrs FAIRCLOUGH was dead on admission to hospital.

Prof DAVIE who made the post mortem found the deceased had died from subarachnoid haemorrhage due to natural causes there were no signs of violence, the haemorrhage was probably due to congenital defects in the blood vessels at the base of the brain.


John CLIFF a native of Halifax aged 24 and a private in the AMPC fell into Ramsey Harbour during the blackout and was drowned. A fisherman heard him fall into 15ft of water a search was made but his body wasnít found till morning. His wife lives in Leeds.


Award for loss of husband

The Court of Appeal yesterday increased from £750 to £1,250, damages awarded by Mr Justice OLIVER of Liverpool Assizes to Mrs Mary WALLEY of Little Stanney, Chester, against the British Continental Steamship Co in respect of the death of her husband. He was one of the gang discharging cargo from a ship in Ellesmere Port when a derrick fell on him, killing him instantly. His widow is left with 7 children, four under 16. A verdict of accidental death was recorded at Frodsham last evening on Mary Elizabeth FRANCE, aged 16, a cable worker of Hullsís cottages, Elton, nr Chester who was in a collision with a motor car while riding her cycle along the arterial road at Hapsford.


Shipping agents death

The death has taken place at his home, 45 Canning St, Liverpool, of Mr Oscar ALEXANDER, partner in the firm Messers Maccabe, Hughes and Alexander, Liverpool Shipping and forwarding agents.

He was 60 and the son of the founder of the firm which began in 1903 as Hughes Alexander and Co, The present title after amalgamation in 1921.

He was a prominent Freemason and a member of Liverpool Castle Lodge Standard Chapter, Past Provincial Grand Deacon. He leaves a widow and was at business up until the day before his death.


Wallasey Aldermaní loss

Airman son killed

Leading Airman Roy PENNINGTON, aged 19, son of Alderman John PENNINGTON. J.P, leader of Wallasey town council and Mrs PENNINGTON of 23 Groveland Rd, Wallasey, has been as a result of a flying accident.

The sad news was received yesterday by the family during the funeral of the young manís Aunt. Roy, their youngest son, was educated at Berkhamstead School and Hertford College, Oxford, he joined the Fleet Air Arm from college when only 18 yrs old. He was the Junior Public Schoolís running champion.

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