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SAFETY OF SOLDIERS

Measures Advocated By Coroner

The provision of "wet" canteens at military camps and measures to ensure the safety of soldiers using the road near Brighton were advocated by the Coroner (Col Clark) at an inquest at Hobart yesterday concerning the death of two A.I.F. members at Pontville on June 17 as a result of a motor- cycle running into a group of men.

The Coroner was informed that hundreds of men were in the habit of walking along the State highway between Brighton and Pontville each evening. One witness said he had received no instruction since he entered the camp on the day of the accident as to how persons should walk along the road at night. Another said there were no lights between the entrance to the camp and the Pontville bridge on June 17.

It appeared another case in which hundreds of men would not be on the roads at night if there was a "wet" canteen at the camp, said Col. Clark. His experience as a soldier taught him that men liked to have a glass of beer after a hard day's work. He was surprised that instruction was not given as to walking on the roads at night.

The fact that a light had been placed near the scene of the accident showed that one was needed, added Col. Clark. If the roadway were properly lighted and a pathway built the chance of accident would be minimised. He hoped whoever was responsible for the construction of a path would do the work without delay. The light in front of the Brighton camp was dazzling, and should be tilted to show on to the roadway instead of into the eyes of motorists.

A witness informed the Coroner from the body of the Court that his unit had been given instruction as to the use of roads at night.

The Coroner found that Sgt.-Major Eric Richmond Riley (42), of Kingston, and Pte John Rouse Thompson (39), of Geeveston, were accidentally killed.

Evidence was given that Riley was riding a motor-cycle, with Sgt. W. H. Quinn on the pillion, towards Pontville and seven other members of the A.I.F., including Thompson, were walking in the same direction in three groups. Some were on the edge of the road and others on the grass. Several of the men saw the lights of the cycle when it came over a hill about 200yds away. When its course was observed as it approached them two called, "Look out," but the cycle careered through the group.

The Mercury 19 July 1940

Photo by Linda McKenzie

 

 

 

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