Unsolved Murders

Charles Gallagher

Age: 70

Sex: male

Date: 27 Jan 1943

Place: Harelawside, Grantshouse, Berwickshire

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Charles Gallagher died after running out onto a road.

A lorry driver that passed him on 26 January 1943 said that he saw Charles Gallagher stagger out into the road in front of his lorry and said that when he pulled over and went back to see him, he found him lying in the road. Charles Gallagher was taken to Berwick Infirmary where he died from a skull injury the following day, 27 January 1943 at 5am.

It was found that there were no marks on the lorry and the coroner said that what troubled him was that it was not possible to say how his injuries had been caused and an open verdict was returned.

The doctor that treated Charles Gallagher said that when Charles Gallagher was brought into the infirmary at 10pm on 26 January 1943 he was deeply unconscious and had a small wound to the back of his head which had cut down to the bone.

When the doctor carried out the post-mortem, he said that he found that the brain substance on the left side of his head had been ploughed up. He added that there was no fracture to his skull and that his heart and other organs were quite normal for his age.

He said that he thought that his head injury was due to him falling on the back of his head.

After the doctor examined Charles Gallagher's body, he said that he thought that his head injury was due to him falling on the back of his head.

A man from Howpark Farm in Granthouse who knew by sight said that on the night of 26 January 1943 he had passed Charles Gallagher on the road at about 8pm, going in the opposite direction, and that he had been walking in the middle of the road. He said that it was dark at the time and that he formed the opinion that Charles Gallagher had been under the influence of intoxicating liquor.

A rabbit trapper who lived at Harelawside Farm said that he was in his house near the road when the lorry driver came to the door of his house at about 8.10pm and asked for a light as he had knocked somebody down. He said that he got a torch and then went back with the driver to see. He said that the night was dark but that the road was dry and that when he went out with the lorry driver, he saw a big lorry standing on the road facing towards Berwick which had lights showing to its front.

He said that just in front of the offside driving wheel he then saw Charles Gallagher lying on the road on his back at an angle with his head pointing in the Grantshouse direction. He said that he was just over the white line in the centre of the road and that the lorry was standing on its nearside.

He said that he recognised the man as Charles Gallagher and that he then sent his wife off for coats and rugs to cover Charles Gallagher who was still alive and then telephoned for the police.

He said that when he called the police they told him to take Charles Gallagher into his house which he then did.

An ambulance then later arrived and took Charles Gallagher to the Berwick Infirmary.

When the rabbit trapper was questioned, he said that it would have been possible to have walked on the grass verge but that it would have been very rough going.

A policeman that arrived soon after said that when he arrived, he saw the lorry, which he said was about 50 feet in length, standing on the road facing Berwick with its near-side front-wheels about two and a half feet on the grass verge. He said that he also found some heavy tyre marks on the road that appeared to have been caused by the heavy application of brakes. He said that the marks extended for 78 feet from the driving wheel of the lorry. He said that the road surface was dry and that the road at the locus was practically straight for 100 yards west and 200 yards east. He added that the lorry had been showing four side lights to the front and a red light to the rear.

The policeman said that when he questioned the lorry driver, he told him that he had been going towards Berwick, travelling at a moderate speed and that after rounding a slight turn in the roadway he saw Charles Gallagher walking towards his vehicle. He said that he was walking on his nearside of the road and that that he saw nothing unusual in his conduct and continued to drive along the road. However, he said that as he drew very close to Charles Gallagher, he took a staggering run across the road in the direction of his lorry. He said that he then immediately applied his brakes and pulled the front portion of his lorry on to the grass verge of his nearside.

However, he added that at the time he was not aware that an accident had happened as he had felt no bump and said that the reason he stopped and got out of his cab was to give Charles Gallagher a good 'talking to'.

He said that when he walked to the rear of his lorry, he didn't see anything, but that when he returned his foot touched something and that when he looked, he saw that it was Charles Gallagher lying on the road.

When the coroner summed up he noted that although the incident happened over the Border of Scotland, it fell to him to conduct the inquiry by reason of the fact that Charles Gallagher had died in the Berwick Infirmary. He added that he was quite satisfied in his own mind that the driver of the lorry was in no way to blame for what had happened.

He noted that it did appear that Charles Gallagher had been drinking on the night but said that he was unable to state how his head injury occurred and returned an open verdict, stating that Charles Gallagher had died from cerebral haemorrhage following an injury to the skull, but that there was not sufficient evidence to show how that injury was received.

Charles Gallagher lived at Harelawside Farm.


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


see The Berwick Advertiser - Thursday 11 February 1943

see Berwickshire News and General Advertiser - Tuesday 16 February 1943