A newspaper cutting in one of our scrapbooks recounts the death of William Aubrey Luntley, manager of the Corporation Tramways and whose address was Winchelsea, Penn Road, Wolverhampton. At the age of 42, William was not overseas, but served as a private in the Wolverhampton Volunteer Rifle Corps. He had been out scouting with the Corps at Perton, when he slipped in a ditch, came into contact with his bayonet, and was injured. Although he received medical treatment, he died on 25 October 1915.
William was born in 1873, the son of William and Mary C. Luntley. In 1891 they were living at 54 Penn Road, along with William’s sister, Florence. William was a clerk to a manufacturer. By 1901, his mother was widowed, they were living at 4 Church Street, and William was an inspector for the tramway company. William married Alice Maud Spencer in 1902, and the couple were living at Winchelsea, 70 Penn Road, in 1911. By now, William had become General Manager of the Corporation Tramways.
Both the newspaper article and the Coroner’s inquest include details of a witness statement from fellow member of the Volunteer Rifle Corps, Private Henry Ward Vaughan. Vaughan described how they had to jump over a fence, with a ditch on the other side, , which is where William slipped. Apparently he did not complain of any pain at the time, and got up and carried on with manoeuvres. It was only a couple of months later that Vaughan heard of William’s illness.
The doctor who treated William, spoke of an abscess that had formed. William had various operations at the Queen Victoria Nursing Institute, and each time it looked as if he was going to get better, but he became worse, eventually going into the General Hospital where he died. The doctor believed that his death was due to blood poisoning. The jury returned with a verdict of “Accidental death”.
Commandant Carr, of the Wolverhampton Rifle Corps, attended the inquest, and expressed his sorrow at the death of William Luntley. He stated that, although he was a private, he
showed promise of coming very speedily to the front in matters connected with the corps. It having been found that he died as a result of injuries received whilst serving with the corps, they might take it that he had fallen for his country just as much as if he had gone to the front.