Unsolved Murders

Robert Wilson

Age: 21

Sex: male

Date: 8 Jun 1947

Place: Salisbury Infirmary, Salisbury

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Robert Wilson was found dead at the bottom of a fire escape at Salisbury Infirmary early on the Sunday 8 June 1947. He died later the same day.

He died from a fractured skull.

An open verdict was returned.

He was a private with the 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders and had been stationed in Knook near Warminster although his home was in Pitfour Street in Dundee.

He had arrived in Salisbury from his camp on a pass on the Saturday afternoon.

He was found in the morning by a policeman who had heard his groans. He was found lying fully dressed in a pool of blood at the bottom of the fire escape and was taken to hospital but died before he could regain consciousness.

His death was given as being due to lacerations of the brain caused by his fall.

It was noted that the fire escape had led to the maids' and nurses' sleeping quarters.

At his inquest, two maids said that they heard two sets of footsteps going up the fire escape at about 2am on 8 June 1947, one pair heavy and the other light and that they then heard one lot coming down, the heavy footsteps.  A dining room assistant who had been sleeping below the nurses' quarters said that she had been unable to sleep, and said, 'I heard two lots of footsteps go up the fire escape. One was heavy and the other light. On the last lot of stairs someone stumbled, and a woman's voice said something. About five minutes later someone came down the fire escape. Only one lot came down, the heavy footsteps, and something seemed to go bump, bump'.

When a detective produced one of Robert Wilson's boots at the inquest, he noted that the steel toecap was loose and said, 'I think if he tripped over on the platform by the maids' quarters he could have fallen forward on to the handrail and slid down'.

A private in the Seaforth Highlanders said that about four weeks before his death, Robert Wilson had told him that he had been in Salisbury looking for a place to sleep and that he had found the fire escape. He said that Robert Wilson told him that he had climbed the fire escape and found an empty room there, but that after having been there for about five minutes he had been found by a nurse who had told him to get out.

The coroner noted after hearing the privates evidence that up until that point they had been satisfied that Robert Wilson had gone up the stairs with some woman, but that after hearing the privates evidence that it rather looked like he had gone up the fire escape and had been surprised by a woman and that in moving away he had tripped on the second flight and fallen over when he got to the bottom platform.

Robert Wilson had been attached to the 51st Division in the later stages of the war and had returned from Germany several months earlier.


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


see Dundee Courier - Tuesday 24 June 1947

see Dundee Courier - Wednesday 11 June 1947

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Monday 09 June 1947