Date: 11 Dec 1939
Place: East Yorkshire
Joseph Hewitt was shot by a fellow soldier at an east Yorkshire military camp.
Joseph Hewitt was a sergeant.
The fellow soldier was an Armourer Sergeant. He was tried for the manslaughter of Joseph Hewitt but said that it was an accident and had had not known that the revolver was cocked.
However, the Armourer Sergeant was acquitted after the magistrates said that there was no evidence to justify them putting him on trial.
The prosecution described the incident as an act of colossal folly.
The Armourer Sergeant said that Joseph Hewitt had been his best friend.
It was heard that after exercises, a shortage of ammunition was corrected and eight rounds were handed to the Armourer Sergeant who put them in his trouser pocket. It was said that some skylarking then took place amongst the sergeants, Joseph Hewitt, the Armourer Sergeant and another sergeant in a bedroom and that Joseph Hewitt produced a revolver and said jokingly, 'I have got you two covered'. However, the Armourer Sergeant then wrestled with Joseph Hewitt and took the revolver from him. He then took some steps back as Joseph Hewitt continued wrestling with the other sergeant and took one of the eight rounds of ammunition that he had in his pocket and put it into the chamber of the revolver and fired at Joseph Hewitt and the other sergeant as they continued wrestling. An explosion was then heard, and Joseph Hewitt was shot in the chest.
The shot penetrated Joseph Hewitt's heart.
The bedroom was ordinarily occupied by six sergeants but there were only the three of them in the room at the time of the shooting.
Following the shooting the Armourer Sergeant was taken to the Cottage Hospital because of his nervous and distressed condition. When he later heard the verdict and was discharged at the magistrate’s court he collapsed.
see Birmingham Daily Post - Wednesday 10 January 1940, p3
see Belfast News-Letter - Wednesday 10 January 1940