James, Mr Arthur Thomas (Buller) – 1942

Abergavenny Inquest – “Wicked Waste of Petrol”
Sebastapol Man Criticised

The use by a Sebastapol man of petrol for what was described as “pub crawling” was severely criticised by the Coroner (Mr W R Dauncey) at the inquest at Abergavenny on Monday on Arthur Thomas (Buller) James, aged 39, a married man, of Ton (Chestnut) Cottage ,Goytre, near Pontypool. James was found lying in the road near Porthmawr Lodge, Llanover early one Sunday morning. The driver of the car by which he had been knocked down did not stop.
Dr J B Parry said the severe internal injuries from which James died would have been caused when he was first struck and the numerous abrasions by his being dragged by the second car.
The wife, Mrs Lillian James, said deceased left her on the Saturday afternoon to go to Abergavenny to see some friends.
Samuel Green, The Cottage, Llanellen, said that at 11.30 on the Saturday night he saw James lying on the grass verge asleep. He did not disturb him and later, while he (witness) was talking to his sister who lived further down the road, James caught them up and remained talking until midnight. He then went on home and it was obvious that he was three-parts drunk and was wandering about the road a little.
Leonard Cordell, of 60, Waunddu, Pontnewynydd, said that, with three others, he passed the scene of the accident at one o’clock, but could see no sign of James.
PC Frederick Jermaine said he was called at 5 a.m. by the driver of the car (Jones). After two attempts, they lifted the car off James, but there were no marks on the car to indicate that it had collided with him. The police had been unable to trace all the cars passing along the road during the night.
Witnesses Warned
John Noel Winston, of 1, College Road, Penygarn, said he had passed along about one o’clock, but did not see anyone, nor did he knock anyone down or run over anyone lying on the road. He was warned by the Coroner that, as he was a driver of one of the other cars which might have been involved in the accident, his evidence might be used in proceedings against him.
Clement Cecil Jones, of London House, South Street, Sebastapol, who was similarly warned by the Coroner, said he and two friends had left Abergavenny about 3.15 a.m. His visibility was seven yards and as he was driving at only twenty miles per hour he could pull up in about five yards. He saw nothing of deceased before feeling a bump.
Jones was closely questioned by the Coroner about the time which elapsed between the accident and the police being called. The Coroner asked witness if he got supplementary petrol, and Jones replied “No.”
The Coroner: Do you realise that men are dying to bring over petrol to this country, which you are using for what I cannot otherwise describe than pub-crawling?
The other two passengers in the car said they did not see James until after he had been hit. They tried without success to release him from underneath the car. One of them, Frederick George Hughes, of 57, George Street, Griffithstown, told the Coroner they had done all they could for James.
Stringent Comments
Returning a verdict of “Misadventure,” the Coroner said some aspects of the evidence were really dreadful. The journey made by Jones was not necessary and should not have been undertaken. It was a wicked waste of petrol at a time when every drop was brought here at the cost of men’s lives. This man used a car from four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon until four o’clock the next morning for what could be more properly described as “pub crawling.” There was no suggestion that the driver was intoxicated, but it was a shocking state of affairs.


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