Date: 22 Jan 1949
The body of a man was found in a wood at Hawkestone Park near Market Drayton.
The remains were unidentified, and an open verdict was returned.
It was thought that they might have been the remains of a missing German prisoner of war and the inquest on 4 February 1949 was adjourned in order that his official records be retrieved, however, when the inquest resumed on 12 February 1949 it was heard that the records had either been lost or destroyed.
The German prisoner of war had been reported missing from a nearby prisoner-of-war working camp on 13 May 1948 and the police were informed that he had had blonde hair. However, the medical evidence on the body stated that remains had dark brown hair on the skull.
A farmer at Moreton Wood said that he had employed a German prisoner with the same name as the missing prisoner of war, stating that the man had had very dark brown hair and had informed him that he was going back to Germany and that he was going to have a tattoo mark on his arm removed as he wanted to hide his identity from the Russians. The farmer said that the man had told him that he wanted to go back to his wife but that he had seemed afraid to go back to Germany.
Amongst the remains of the body the police found some letters, including an unposted one dated 9 May 1948 from a man with the same name as the missing German prisoner of war addressed to his wife. The letter was described as being couched in the most affectionate terms and had stated that he had hoped to be with her in three weeks.
The inquest heard that a doctor had given the cause of death as being due to hanging and that he had formed the impression from information that the head had been found suspended by a strap from a tree and certain marks that he had found in the region of the neck.
However, the coroner said that he could not entirely eliminate foul play.
The coroner then returned and open verdict, stating that the cause of death was due to unnatural causes, not definitely determined by the evidence.
see Staffordshire Sentinel - Saturday 12 February 1949