Soldier who stepped off moving train

The sad case of a First World War soldier who stepped off a moving train in the East Riding. His possessions contained a Wrenthorpe address.

Yorkshire Evening Post
Saturday 20 November 1915

TRAGIC AFFAIR NEAR GOOLE.
SILENT MAN’S FAREWELL TO TWO WOMEN AT WAKEFIELD

There was tragic occurrence the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway line near Goole, last night, a private soldier, William Westwood, 17291, B Company, 3rd Batt K0YLI, stationed Hull, stepping out of a moving train and being instantly killed.

According to a statement made to the police by Ernest Barton, a goods porter, of Goole, who travelled in the same compartment, the deceased joined the 8.10 p.m. train at Wakefield, and before leaving was in conversation with two women on the platform, both whom he kissed and bade “good night”.

When the train moved off he immediately sat in a corner of the compartment, where he remained with his head between his hands, practically throughout the journey. He did not speak to Burton. When the train was about a mile from Goole and travelling at top speed Westwood suddenly stood up, and without a moment’s hesitation, opened the carriage door and disappeared.

Barton, who had had no time to stop him, at once pulled the communication chain, and when the train was stopped and a search made, Westwood was found dead on the metals, bleeding from a long and deep wound on the head.

Among his possessions the address “Wheel Hill, Bragg Lane End, near Wrenthorpe”, and a return ticket from Wakefield Hull.

According later particulars obtained from Goole, this afternoon, the tragic occurrence happened as the train was near the engine shed at Airmyn. Westwood, it was stated, had asleep, and, suddenly waking up, he jumped from his seat, opened the carriage door, and walked straight out. The whole thing happened so quickly that the other occupants of the carriage had no time to interfere.

It may be, of course, that the man, on suddenly awakening, jumped to the conclusion that he had reached his destination, and, without further thought, got out, believing he would step on to the station platform.

Westwood’s battalion is stationed at Newlands, Hull. His home is at Eastmoor, Wakefield. He was a married man.

The body was taken to Goole to await an inquest.

An inquest at Goole on 22 November returned a verdict of accidental death. He is buried at Wakefield Cemetery.