Date: 5 May 1944
John Gordon Sparrow was found dead in a basement well of a building in Westminster where he was billeted.
He was a marine and was said to have had the whole world to live for.
He was last seen alive on the Saturday 30 May 1944 and was known to have spent the afternoon pressing his clothes in readiness for a meeting with his young lady on the following Monday.
He later went out that evening with some other marines to the Windsor Castle public house where they stayed until 11pm after which they returned to their billet. They arrived back at their billets at 11.30pm and then went to the galley where one of the marines was sleeping, at which point John Sparrow said goodnight to them and accompanied by another marine, went back to his room which was on the sixth floor.
The other marine said that he was the first to go to bed and said that he saw John Sparrow undress, switch off the light and get into bed, noting that he was clad only in his shirt.
The marine said that the next morning he woke up to find John Sparrow's bed empty and the blackout pulled aside and the window open.
He said that the next he heard was when another marine told him that John Sparrow had been found dead in the well of the building, just below the window.
The police said that John Sparrow was found lying directly below his window about ten feet from the front of the building. They said that upon examination they found that the window itself and a pipe below were found to be marked, as were some tiles below the window, which they said proved that John Sparrow must have gripped the sill and pipe, but that his hold had failed. The police said that marks below, made by his feet, testified as to his frantic efforts to get back.
The pathologist said that abrasions on his hands and feet bore out the police statement. The pathologist said that John Sparrow's death was due to multiple injuries sustained when he fell from the window of the building where he was billeted.
When the coroner summed up, he said that there was no evidence of foul play and nothing to show any reason for him to have taken his own life and an open verdict was returned.
see Chelsea News and General Advertiser - Friday 05 May 1944