Conisbrough Tragedy – Child under Bus

July 1942

South Yorkshire Times – Saturday 25 July 1942

Child under Bus

Conisbrough Tragedy

“It surprises me how parents let small children go out on to the road,” declared the Doncaster District Coroner (Mr. W. H. Carlile) at Conisbrough on Saturday.

“A number of children are killed every year as a result of being allowed on the road at ages of sometimes two years and under. It astonishes me that parents do not realise that young children have no sense of danger.”

He recorded a verdict of “Accidental Death” on Ambrose Davies son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Davies, of 4, Burcroft Hill, Coolsbrough, who was fatally injured were knocked down by a bus in Low Road, Conisbrough, the previous Thursday. The child’s father is serving with the Forces.

The driver of the bus, which was travelling from Mexborough to Doncaster, was Charles Norman Boak of 10, Earlesmere Avenue, Balby, Doncaster.

The child’s mother said that the boy went out at about 11.30 a.m. with another son, Albert Davies (6). About 33 minutes later, the elder boy returned home and told her that his brother had been run over.

Sitting behind the driver at the right-hand side of the bus was Mary Mullins (a conductress employed by the Yorkshire Traction Company) of 46. Northfield Avenue. Sprotborough Road. Doncaster. She was a passenger, and had a clear view of the road. The bus had taken the bend after climbing up the hill and was travelling just a little faster than a walking pace well on the left side of the road.

She said “I first saw some children on the right-hand footpath, then the driver drew out. The smaller child stepped off the pavement with two or three running steps, and then I heard a bump.”

Driver Kenneth Smith who was marching with a squad of soldiers in Low Road in the direction of Brook Square, saw the boys stop to look at them. A bus came up behind them (the soldiers). He saw the boy leave the pavement, then the bus obstructed the view. He said that the bus was travelling slowly and the driver pulled up quickly. He went round the bus and saw the child pinned by the rear wheel.

When asked by Police Inspector Waugh whether the children were near a tram stand, he said that they were near a stand on the Conisbrough side.

Inspector Waugh: Do you think that had any effect on the driver?

Witness: No.

Inspector Waugh: Was there anything else coming to stop the driver from pulling up?

Witness: No.

P.c. Albert Arthur Beaumont (Conlabrough) said In my opinion the bus wheel did not make a complete turn after running over the child.

The driver of the bus said he had been driving for the Yorkshire Traction Company since about 1931. He know the road well, and was driving at about eight or ten miles an hour. He saw the soldiers and was going to overtake them. When he had got round the bend he saw the children. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the child leave the pavement. He then pulled to the left using what little room there was.

Inspector Waugh: Had you seen the child before you commenced to overtake the soldiers.

Witness: Yes.

Inpector Waugh: Did you keep your attention on the children!

Witness: I kept my attention on the whole road.

Inspector Waugh reminded the driver hat one of the rules of the Highway Code was that when about to overtake, warning must be given.

Mr. C. M. Pratt (for the driver and Yorkshire Traction Company): In third gear does the bus make a terrific noise? Did you think the soldiers knew that you were coming?

Witness: Yes.

The Coroner said children were attentive to motorists, and that where there were children warning of approach ought to be given.