Date: 18 Oct 1915
Place: Fort Clarence, Rochester
Henry Fokes was found dead wearing only his shirt on a staircase.
He was found early in the morning, 4.50am, by a corporal of the guard on the landing between two flights of stairs with a large wound to his stomach, nine broken ribs, a fractured pelvis and a wound on his forehead. The stairs had led up to his bedroom in the fort. The stomach wound had been about 25 inches long and had extended round his body from front to back.
No weapon of any kind was found and it was stated that his injuries were not self-inflicted. A temporary-Lieutenant also said that a fall would not have accounted for his injuries.
The rail by the side of the staircase was broken at the lower post, and a three-inch mail projected from the end of the rail.
The inquest heard that suicide was ruled out by the fact that no instrument or weapon was found.
A doctor said that the large wound to his body was probably caused by a heavy, but not too sharp instrument.
Henry Fokes was a Lance-Sergeant in the 3rd Queens West Surrey Regiment.
A Company-Sergeant said that Henry Fokes was the most respected man in the regiment. He said that in the last few days Henry Fokes had been worried through fear that he was going blind and told the company so in the mess. It was heard that he asked whether he would have to go to the workhouse if he went blind but was told that the NCO's of the Queen's did not let their old soldiers go into the workhouse after which it was said that Henry Fokes had seemed much cheered.
see Western Mail - Monday 18 October 1915
see Derby Daily Telegraph - Monday 18 October 1915
see Dundee Courier - Monday 18 October 1915
see Wells Journal - Friday 22 October 1915