Unsolved Murders

Fletcher Poynter Fraser

Age: 27

Sex: male

Date: 31 Mar 1942

Place: West Hill, East Grinstead

Fletcher Poynter Fraser was run over by a motor vehicle.

He was found injured in the road at West Hill in East Grinstead between 2.45am and 3.10am on Saturday 31 March 1942 by a driver and he was shortly after taken to hospital where he died soon after.

A doctor said that when he saw Fletcher Fraser at about 4am on the Saturday he was semi-conscious and suffering from concussion and added that his right leg and arm were badly injured.

He said that Fletcher Fraser later died at 8.15am.

It was heard that he had just come from a Warship Week dance at the Rainbow ballroom in Whitehall.

He was a soldier in the Canadian army.

A corporal that had been at the dance in Whitehall said that he saw Fletcher Fraser soon after the dance. He said that it was a moonlit night and that he saw Fletcher Fraser walk off down West Hill on the left-hand side of the street.

A man that lived in West Hill in East Grinstead said that he was awakened by a lot of noise and footsteps on the road and that when he looked out of his window, he saw a motor vehicle pulling up on its near side. He said that he then heard a man say something about someone being knocked down and that after he hurriedly dressed and went out, he found a soldier standing outside on the road by an injured man.

A woman who lived in West Hill in East Grinstead said that she had been lying awake when she heard footsteps of a person walking down the hill. She said that she then heard the sound of a heavy vehicle proceeding down the hill and then herd the sound of brakes being applied suddenly. She said that she didn't hear any shouting and said that the vehicle had stopped sufficiently long enough to pick up a man, but not longer and said that she concluded that the person who had been walking had been given a lift.

She said that when she looked at her bedside clock, she saw that it was two or three minutes past two.

A driver said that he had been walking down West Hill at about 2.45am when a sergeant from an approaching vehicle that pulled up told him that they had found an injured man lower down the road and asked him to stay by him until they had fetched an ambulance. The driver said that he then went to where Fletcher Fraser was lying and moved him closer to the kerb.

A wagon driver, who was formally cautioned, gave evidence at the inquest, saying that he had driven an army wagon with three officers as passengers from the dance at 1.40am and that on the way down West Hill they had passed two soldiers who had signalled for a lift, but said that he didn't stop, and said that he got safely past them.

When the wagon driver gave his evidence, the coroner noted that Fletcher Fraser could not have been one of the two soldiers as it was known that when he had left the dance that he had left alone.

When the wagon driver continued with his evidence, he said that he continued his journey and that at no time did he either see Fletcher Fraser lying in the road or feel a bump that might have suggested that he had collided with something.

After all the evidence was heard the coroner returned an open verdict, stating that Fletcher Fraser's cause of death was due to shock following multiple injuries. He sid that he didn't have the slightest hesitation in saying that Fletcher Fraser's death was caused by being run over by a motor vehicle, but said that there was not, however, a shred of evidence to indicate what vehicle it was.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Crawley and District Observer - Saturday 18 April 1942

see Crawley and District Observer - Saturday 04 April 1942