1914-2014, William Ogden

William Ogden Corporal William Ogden, armourer, 21506, Canadian Infantry, 7th Battalion (British Columbia Regiment).

Born 13 April 1871 at Middleton, Manchester. Married to Edith Ogden, and on his death she was living at 10 Wood Hill, Middleton, Manchester.

He was described as ‘of Saskatoon’ and was active in the Saskatoon Fusiliers.

He enlisted on the outbreak of the war on 23 September 1914 at Camp Valcartier, MRC de la Jacques-Cartier, Québec, occupation plumber.

He died in an accident on Sunday 25 October 1914, aged 49, at Pond Farm Camp, Salisbury Plains. Ogden was working at repairing rifles in a marquee tent when a live round discharged (all shells were supposed to be dummies). He was shot in the back and died that evening of his injuries.

It was reported: ‘Mr Trethowan held another inquest on a Canadian soldier on Wednesday, at West Down Camp Hospital. On this occasion the inquiry was concerned with the death of William Ogden, Armourer-Corporal in the 11th Battalion, 4th Brigade, Canadian Forces, now stationed at Pond Farm Camp, Urchfont, who died as the result of a gun-shot wound inflicted on Sunday.’ The inquest in Salisbury was held on 30 October 1914, his death being described as ‘in Tilshead, Accidentally Shot.’

Samuel Matthews, of Manchester, a plumber, gave evidence of identification and said that Ogden was 43 [he is elsewhere described as aged 49] years of age and came from Saskatoon. Godfrey Sandys Wanach, Armourer-Sergeant, in Ogden’s battery, said that on Sunday at about 10.45 he heard someone call for an ambulance, and on going to the armourer’s tent he found Ogden lying on the ground and receiving medical attention. From enquiries he gathered that Ogden had been accidentally shot with a rifle, and he found the breech had not been opened since the shot was fired. There was a cartridge shell in the magazine, and the rifle was slightly warm. In the magazine were three dummy cartridges which were kept for testing purposes. Ogden told him the previous day that he picked up a live cartridge in the tent, but live cartridges were carefully guarded. Ogden and Private Wilson who was with him, were on excellent terms. He thought Ogden by mistake inserted the live cartridge in the rifle. Gavin Wilson, a private in the same battery, said he was working with Ogden who was testing the rifle which witness generally used. A cartridge had “jammed” and Ogden handed it to him to see to. He took out one cartridge, and started to take out the rest, and in doing so he pulled the trigger. The rifle was in the rest at the time. The second shot exploded and Ogden, who was two yards off repairing another rifle, fell to the ground.

Lieutenant Colonel Dulmage said Ogden told him in hospital it was entirely an accident, and that he did not know how the ball cartridge got mixed with the others, but that he found one in the tent the previous day. He put it in his pocket intending to hand it to the Armourer-Sergeant. Lieutenant Colonel Wallace Scott, of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, said that the bullet entered the right side of Ogden’s back, and came out of the left part of the abdomen, inflicting a very serious wound. He got gradually worse and died at 11 o’clock the same night from shock and haemorrhage.

The Coroner said he thought the jury would be satisfied that no blame was attached to Wilson in the matter, and the jury, in returning a verdict of “Accidental Death,” agreed.

William lies buried in Orcheston St Mary churchyard, his grave marked by a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.

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