Date: 21 Feb 1946
Place: Rudyard, Staffordshire
Ernest Kenneth Davies was found shot by a lake.
He was found dead by a lakeside bungalow in Rudyard on 21 February 1946, having been shot in the chest.
An open verdict was returned at his inquest.
The coroner said that his injury was probably more likely self-inflicted than accidental but returned an open verdict after making a note of what had been laid down in the High Court on the returning of suicide verdicts.
Ernest Kenneth was a former RAF flying officer who had been in lodgings in Leek and had been trying to find rooms or a house in Leek so that his wife and child, who had been living in Ayrshire could join him, but had been unable to find anything.
He was last seen when he left his lodgings on the night of 19 February 1946 and was found dead two days later. The police appealed for anyone that knew what he had done after he left his lodgings to come forward. When he had left his lodgings, he had taken luggage with him and then left it somewhere, but it was not known where he had gone after that or what he had done.
The coroner said that Ernest Kenneth was in the prime of his life and that his only apparent worry was that he could not find a house. He noted that thre was no evidence as to what he had done in the two days that he was missed or whether he had even owned the US Army revolver that he had been shot with.
He had been in the RAF for over ten years up until January 1946 when he was demobilised after which he had started work with Messrs Clemesha Bros and Birch Ltd in Leek as a trainee.
He had been lodging in Osborne Street in Leek at the time, having taken up lodging on 27 January 1946.
His landlady said that when she last saw him on the Tuesday, he had told her that he had not been feeling well and was going to go home for a few days.
The police constable that saw his body said that there was no sign of a struggle. He said that the revolver was at his feet and there was a bullet wound through his chest. He said that the revolver was a six-chambered US Army Service weapon dated 1917 and that when he found it, it had three bullets in it, one of which had been discharged.
The police constable said that no one in the vicinity heard the shot fired but noted that the nearest occupied house was about 200 yards away.
The doctor that carried out his post-mortem said that the bullet had entered through the left side of his chest and had passed completely through his heart. He said that his cause of death was a bullet passing through his heart and that the shot had been fired at very close range, judging from the character of the wound and the scorching of his coat. He said that when he first examined his body at about 8.30pm on Thursday 27 February 1946, he thought that he had been dead for about 12 hours.
The departmental manager at Messrs Clemesha Bros and Birch Ltd said that Ernest Kenneth, who had been appointed as his assistant, had complained a week before his death of hurting himself whilst jumping over a fence and said that he thought that it was a combination of his housing problem, being away from his wife and child, and him then hurting himself that had troubled his mind.
His wife said that Ernest Kenneth wrote to her regularly and had been keeping her informed about his efforts to get a house and said that he had mentioned that there was going to be a sale of a house in Leek soon.
She added that she didn't know that he had a revolver.
see Staffordshire Sentinel - Monday 04 March 1946, p1
see Staffordshire Sentinel - Monday 25 February 1946