Unsolved Murders

Frank Moss

Age: 38

Sex: male

Date: 10 Nov 1942

Place: St Lukes Road, Birmingham

Frank Moss died three days after he was injured in the face at dance where he had been playing with his band.

He was the leader of a band and had been playing at Hope Street Schools which he did every Friday and Saturday night. Admission was 1/6 on Friday's and 2/- on Saturday's.

After playing on 7 November 1942, he went outside into St Luke's Road to look for his drummer at about 10.10pm and when he came back, he had facial injuries.

He had injuries to his left eye and said that he had been attacked. He was in great pain and was later taken to hospital.

After his admission to hospital it was decided that an operation was required and on 10 November 1942 whilst he was receiving an anaesthetic in preparation for the operation, he died.

The doctor said that Frank Moss was admitted to Birmingham Accident Hospital for treatment on the night of 7 November 1942. He said that he had fractures to three facial bones in the region of the left eye. The doctor said that he advised Frank Moss to return the following day, noting that the only external injury was a small abrasion to the outer side of his left eye. However, he said that Frank Moss later developed an inability to close his mouth completely and had lost all sensation over his upper left gum.

The doctor said that it was decided that an operation would be required but said that it was not of immediate urgency and suggested that Frank Moss return as an in-patient the following day, 9 November 1942. Preparations were then made for an operation on 10 November, but Frank Moss died as the anaesthetic was being administered.

At the inquest it was heard that the anaesthetic was administered correctly.

The Home Office pathologist that carried out his post-mortem said that the death was due to cardiac respiratory failure.

A woman that saw the incident said that she thought that his assailants were Irishmen. It was heard that it was known that a number of people had been in the vicinity of the school premises at the time, including four young men who were said to have been Irish.

It was heard at the inquest that Frank Moss said that when he had left the dance room to look for his drummer, he had seen the four men outside and had asked them if they had seen his drummer. He said that one of them replied, 'No, and we haven't been to the dance tonight'. It was said then that one of the four men then immediately put his arm round Frank Moss's neck and pulled him to the ground after which one or more of the other men then started to fist him. He said that at first he thought that it was horse play and made no resistance. He said that as far as he could tell they had been Irishmen.

At his inquest, it was heard that there had been complaints about nuisance caused by young people as they left the dances held at the schools. It was heard that the difficulty arose in the pass-out system which allowed dancers to visit licensed premises close by. However, the organiser denied that drunken people were allowed at the dances and added that at the close of each dance both the British and Irish National Anthems were played.

However, it was heard that the Irish National Anthem, called the 'Soldier's Song', was not played that night.

It was also stated that some witnesses that had been there on the night admitted that they had been drinking before they attended the dance at 9pm.

It was also heard that a local resident had said that they had had to police their premises when there were dances because of the quarrelling and fighting that went on.

When the coroner heard the evidence, he said that the dances should be run by responsible citizens who were capable of seeing that people behaved themselves and added that allowing drunken youngsters to roll into the dance hall at any hour was asking for trouble.

When the jury returned their verdict of murder against some person or persons unknown, they added that they agreed with the coroner concerning the lax way in which licences were granted to any sort of individual for the holding of dances in the city and said that they hoped that that would lead to more care being exercised in the future regarding the type of person to whom licences were granted.

The coroner added by saying, 'The whole thing is unsatisfactory. It is a big problem. It is a social menace'.

Frank Moss had lived in Sandon Road in Birmingham.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Evening Despatch - Thursday 12 November 1942, 4

see Birmingham Daily Post - Wednesday 20 January 1943

see Birmingham Mail - Tuesday 19 January 1943