Date: 21 Feb 1943
William Olding was knocked over on the road by a lorry on 16 February 1943 and later died in hospital on 21 February 1943.
An open verdict was returned at his inquest after it was heard that it was not possible to state definitely which lorry in a convoy of lorries passing over the railway bridge at Feltham on 16 February 1943 had been responsible for colliding with him.
William Olding's wife said that William Olding was a healthy man and had been cycling to and from work for years and was not subject to giddy or fainting attacks.
The doctor that carried out William Olding's post-mortem said that William Olding's death was due to hypostatic pneumonia, laceration of the left lung, and fractures to the whole of his rib ribs and scapula. He added that there was nothing to indicate that William Olding had lost consciousness prior to being knocked down.
A man that lived on Lansbury Avenue in Feltham said that he was cycling behind William Olding up Feltham Bridge who he said was about a foot from the curb. He said that an Army troop-carrying lorry then overtook him and swerved out to pass another cyclist ahead of him who chad been riding about 5feet from the kerb. He said that the lorry then straightened up and that he then noticed that the back of the lorry appeared to be swinging. He said that his view of William Olding was obscured, and that the next thing that he saw was someone appearing at the back of the lorry and fall. He said that he didn't see any impact.
The cyclist said that he thought that the lorry was going to stop but said that it didn’t but noted that he thought that the soldiers in it must have seen him waving and pointing to the roadway and must have seen William Olding lying there.
The man said that he then took steps to establish who had been in the lorry and then went to William Olding's assistance.
When asked what steps he took to find out who had been driving the lorry, the man said that he stopped the next lorry and asked them who had been driving the lorry in front of him, but said that the lorry driver had told him that he didn't know.
The cyclist that had been in front of the other man and behind William Olding said that he had been endeavouring to catch up with William Olding who he said was about a dozen paces in front of him. He said that the troop carrier passed him with about three feet clearance, but then cut in front of William Olding. He said that he then saw a portion of the nearside body of the carrier then strike William Olding, at which point he said that the bonnet of the carrier had passed William Olding. He added that he could not understand why the driver had cut in as he had done as there had been nothing coming from the opposite direction. He said that after William Olding was knocked over, both he and the other cyclist shouted for the lorry to stop but said that it didn't. He also said that he thought that the troops in the lorry must have seen William Olding lying in the road.
A civilian lorry driver who lived in Martindale Road, Hounslow said that he was detailed to take a convoy of troops and had been driving the fourth carrier in a convoy of eight. He said that as he approached the bridge, he saw a crowd on it and was stopped by a man who told him that the lorry in front of him had been involved in a collision. However, he said that he could not recall who had been driving the lorry that was in front of him. He said that the lorry in front of him had been about 200 to 300 yards ahead due to him being held up in Feltham High Street.
However, he said that when he arrived at Hounslow he spoke to the other drivers and a private said that he had been driving the preceding lorry but said that he didn't recall anything of the incident. The driver of the third lorry said that he did not recall passing any cyclist on Feltham Bridge and felt nothing of an accident. He said that the first that he heard of it was when another man asked him whether he knew anything of a mishap, by which time he had discharged his load of troops. He added that no one on the lorry had called his attention to an accident and said that in fact he had had an uneventful journey with traffic being dense in Feltham.
A policeman who took particulars after the accident said that there was no damage to William Olding's bicycle beyond a slight twist in the steering head.
Another policeman that went to examine the first five lorries of the convoy said that he could find no marks on any of them to suggest an impact.
When the coroner summed up, he said that the question of the identity of the lorry caused him some difficulty as there was no definite evidence as to which one was involved. He noted that no one took the number of the lorry and that it was only a process of deduction that had narrowed down the lorry to the one driven by the private. He also added that if it was the front part of the body of the lorry that had struck William Olding then it would have been outside the vision of the driver.
As such, the coroner said that in his view the evidence was insufficient to justify fastening the accident on to the lorry driven by the private and that in the absence of definite proof that the private had been driving the lorry that struck William Olding, or that the order of the procession of lorries was not altered on the journey, he would return an open verdict stating that there was insufficient evidence to determine how William Olding's injuries were caused.
see Middlesex Chronicle - Saturday 06 March 1943
see Middlesex Chronicle - Saturday 27 February 1943