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Author Topic: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951  (Read 70520 times)

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Offline kyn

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #123 on: July 20, 2012, 18:27:28 »
A newspaper cutting regarding the matter going to court.

Offline kyn

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #122 on: July 16, 2012, 10:56:10 »
9th June, 1956

Dear Sir,

Gillingham Bus Disaster Fund

I have received your letter of the 4th June and I am sorry that I have not been able to reply to your letter of the 25th April until now.

It has now been possible for the matter to be considered and I am instructed by Her Majesty’s Attorney-General to say that while he inclines to the view that the terms of the appeal constitute an “imperfect trust provision” within the meaning of the Charitable Trusts (Validation) Act, 1954 he is of the opinion that it is, in the circumstances of the case, desirable that the matter should be referred to the Court.  The Attorney-General is further of the opinion that some at least of the purposes set out in the Statement of the Trustees that you sent to me are not charitable.

In these circumstances you will doubtless consider it advisable for the Summons to be issued as soon as possible and I will of course accept service on behalf of the Attorney-General.  If I can assist further at this stage will you please let me know.

Yours faithfully
B. B. Burke
For the Treasury solicitor.

Offline kyn

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #121 on: July 07, 2012, 12:05:36 »
Mr. Burke

Gillingham ‘Bus Disaster Fund

I am sorry that I have not been able to deal with your note of the 1st of this month before, but I have been very pressed and have only just reached the case.

If a satisfactory solution can be found I am sure that “the Crown would not wish to press its claim to any of the Fund as bona vacantia”.

We all, no doubt, recollect this tragic accident, and I should have thought that people put their hands in their pockets to contribute in some way to the families that had been bereaved rather than for the purpose of “promoting the efficiency and well-being” of Royal Marine Cadets, but I may of course be wrong.  I see from Counsel’s Opinion that there is a “very uncomfortable local situation” – presumably because the parties mainly concerned consider the proposed application of the monies not as appropriate as it might be.

I have not written to the Town Clerk.

10th May 1956

Offline kyn

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #120 on: June 30, 2012, 20:08:26 »
If I remember right the money collected for them still lies somewhere  in trust as it has  never been agreed what to do with it.

Here is your answer!

GILLINGHAM ‘BUS DISASTER FUND.

Statement of the Trustees to enable the Charity Commissioners to prepare a Scheme for the establishment of a Trust to enable the Gillingham ‘Bus Disaster Fund to be wound up.

1.   The Gillingham ‘Bus Disaster Fund (hereinafter called “the Disaster Fund”) was established following an accident which occurred in Dock Road, Gillingham, on the 4th December, 1951, as a result of which twenty-four Royal Marine cadets were killed and a number of Cadets were injured.  The Disaster Fund resulted from donations which were received from all parts of the United Kingdom and was established pursuant to an Appeal launched by the them Mayors of Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham, in the following terms:-

“We have decided to open a Memorial Fund to be devoted, amongst other things, to defraying the funeral expenses and caring for those who may be disabled and then to such worthy cause or causes in memory of the boys who lost their lives, as the Mayors may determine”.

2.   The present Trustees of the Disaster Fund are the gentlemen who held the office of Mayor in their respective towns at the time of the accident, and their names and addresses are as follows:-

Alderman T. W. Bowman, J.P.,
887 Richmond Road,
Gillingham, Kent.

Alderman A. A. J. Anderson,
7 Watts Avenue,
Rochester, Kent.

Alderman F. H. Lawrence, O.B.E.,
“Springfield”, New Horsted,
Maidstone road,
Chatham, Kent.

3.   The total amount subscribed to the Disaster Fund was £8841.  4.  5. And after making such payments as have properly fallen due for payment under Object Nos. 1 and 2 of the Appeal, together with such administrative expenses as have been incurred, the balance of £7013.  15.  0. remains available to be dealt with under Object No. 3 of the Appeal.  The sun of £7013.  15.  0. includes the interest which has accrued on the monies more or less up to date, and will be subject to such variation as may be necessary to take into account of further interest which accrues die on the monies.  A statement of accounts is attached hereto.

4.   In accordance with the powers conferred upon them, the Trustees of the Disaster Fund have decided that the balance of the monies remaining in the Disaster Fund, together with such interest as may have accrued due thereon (heinafter referred to as “the Trust Monies”) shall be paid to the United Services Trustee, whose registered office is 123 Pall Mall, London, S.W.1., who shall, subject to the provisions hereinafter contained as to the utilisation of capital monies, hold the same in trust to pay the income thereon to the Administrators of the Trust to be created, which Administrators shall use the same and the capital monies referred to subsequently for the benefit of Royal Marine Cadets in the United Kingdom in promoting their efficiency and well being.

5.   The above referred to Administrators of the Trust to be created shall be the persons who from time to time hold the office of Commandant General of the Royal Marines, the Assistance Adjutant General of the Royal Marines and the Chief of Staff of the Royal Marines (hereinafter referred to as “the Administrators”) and they shall act collectively in the discharge of their duties under the Trust, but in the event of there being disagreement between them, then the majority view shall prevail.

6.   In addition to the income accruing due to the Trust monies, the administrators shall be entitled to receive in each year commencing the 1st day of April capital money in the sun of £300.  The Administrators, however, shall have power to accumulate and carry forward from year to year the income and capital money which they are entitled to receive in any year, but it is the expressed hope of the Trustees of the Disaster Fund that, subject to the proper application of the Trust Monies and the income thereon, the same shall be used and wholly absorbed within a period of not more than twenty-five years from the 1st January, 1956.

7.   It is the intention of the Trustees of the disaster Fund that the Administrators of the Trust to be created shall have a wide discretion in the utilisation of the income on the Trust Monies and the annual capital sums aforesaid, provided that the same are utilised within the general scope of the objects of the Trust that the same shall be used for the benefit of Royal Marine Cadets in the United Kingdom in promoting their efficiency and well being, and without prejudice to the generality of that expression, the Administrators shall have power to use such income and capital sums for the following purposes:-

1.   The payment of allowances in cash or in kind to enable a Cadet to attend annual camp, parades, courses of instruction or participate in such other organised arrangements for instruction, training or sport as may be made.
2.   Providing a Cadet of Cadet Corps with equipment, uniform or other clothing which in the interests of the efficiency or well being of a Cadet or Cadet Corps it is desirable to provide.
3.   The making of payments in respect of or towards the cost of medical, including hospital and convalescent, treatment undergone or to be undergone by a Cadet where such treatment has resulted in part or in whole from his service as a Cadet ir where it is for the efficiency and well being of the Cadet as a Cadet that payments are made.

8.   It is the expressed intention of the Trustees of the Disaster Fund that no part of the trust Monies or the income thereon, shall be used for the purpose of erecting permanent buildings, and in the event of any part of the Trust Monies being used for the maintenance or equipping of buildings, whether the same be of a permanent or temporary nature, the Administrators shall make is a condition of the payment or utilisation of such Monies that no title or name shall be ascribed to such building as will identify it with the circumstances under which the Trust Monies came into being.  No part of the Trust Monies or the income thereon shall be used in connection with the administration of the Trust to be created.

9.   In accordance with such direction as the Charity Commissioners may issue, the United Services Trustee and the administrators shall submit to the Charity Commissioners at the expiration of each year a Balance Sheet or other financial statement of the Trust, and at the same time as such Balance sheet or financial statement is submitted to the Charity Commissioners, four copies thereof shall be sent to the Town Clerk of Gillingham, Municipal Buildings, Gillingham.

10.   If it at any time the said objects of the Trust cease to exist, or in the opinion of the administrators and the Charity Commissioners it is unreasonable or impracticable to implement the same, the present Trustees of the Disaster Fund shall have the right to terminate the Trust and to cause a further Trust to be established for the utilisation of the them balance of the Trust Monies, together with any accrued income thereon, the objects of such new Trust to be as close to the objects of the Trust now to be created as circumstances will permit.  In the event of the said Trustees not being able to agree on the objects of such new Trust within such reasonable perios, being not less than twelve months, as the Charity Commissioners may decide, the Charity Commissioners may themselves cause such a new Trust to be established, provided that in this event, if the said Trustees or any of them so wish, the said Trustees shall be appointed Members of the body established to administer such new Trust.  For the purposes of this paragraph if at the time the eventuality provided for arises, the whereabouts of any of the said present Trustees of the Disaster Fund are unknown or if for any reason any of the said Trustees is unable or unwilling to act in the matter, then in the case of Alderman T.W. Bowman, the then Mayor of Gillingham, in the case of Alderman A.A.J. Anderson, the them Mayor of Rochester, and in the case of Alderman F.H. Lawrence, the then Mayor of Chatham, shall take his place and in the event of any of the said present Trustees or Mayors as the case may be not wishing to serve as a Member of the said new Trust, he may, if he so wishes, appoint a fit and proper person to do so in his place.

Frank Hill
Hon. Secretary.

January, 1956.

Offline kyn

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #119 on: June 21, 2012, 17:59:02 »
15th June, 1955.

Dear Mr. Frost,

Chatham 204/51 – Griffiths.

I have to-day heard from W. H. Thompson over the telephone that my offer of £5,000 for general damages will be accepted subject to agreement of the special damages.

The special damages are as follows:-

Mr. Moore’s fees for the plastic operations£367.10. –
Anaesthetist’s fees£36.15. –
Hospital charges£50. 5. –
Parents’ out-of-pocket expenses for extra nourishment, etc. etc.£500. -. –
£954.10. –

Thompson is quite frank about the £500 inasmuch as he says the parents cannot provide details, but suggests it is not unreasonable as it is well over three years since the accident and the average is, therefore, approximately £150 a year.

The father appears to be adamant with regard to the £500 and, therefore, the settlement is conditional upon it being paid.  I think perhaps it is on the high side but on the other hand having agreed to pay £5,000 I do not think I would jeopardise the settlement by refusing to pay it.

Can I have your views please, if possible by return of post, because I think that if we are going to settle we should try to get it approved before the Long Vacation, and as you will appreciate there is not a lot of time.

Yours sincerely,
W. Nash



June, 1955

Dear Mr. Nash,

Chatham 204/51 – Griffiths

I thank you for your letter dated the 15th instant and confirm my conversation with you subsequently when I agreed that you should proceed to conclude a settlement of this claim upon the terms set out in your letter, subject to the approval of the Court.

I find on reference to my papers that proceedings were commenced by Griffiths against the Chatham District Traction Co. Ltd. and I became interested in those proceedings when you issued a Summons for leave to serve a Third Party Notice on the Crown.  I did not enter an Appearance in the main action as this was done by Messrs. Baker and Baker acting on behalf of the Marine Officers concerned.  At that time I was not standing behind the Marine Officers in any way and they arranged their own representation and it was not until you took steps to join the Crown as a third party, that I stood behind these officers.  I am, therefore, not on the Record but I think the matter could be satisfactorily dealt with on the hearing of the Summons to approve the terms of settlement bu an Order for payment of the agreed damages by your Federation and a stay of proceedings against the two Marine Officers.

Yours sincerely,
Arthur Frost

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #118 on: June 20, 2012, 19:29:34 »
20th May, 1955

Dear Sirs,

Without Prejudice
Re: Griffiths – Chatham 204/51

I refer to this matter and to my lengthy telephone conversation with Mr. Nash.

I have now seen the Father.  He tells me that as far as he can tell, Peter’s condition to-day, is precisely the same as it was at the time you arranged your examination by Dr. Wilkinson.
It is only fair that I should indicate that there has been no deterioration in the condition, and on the other hand the Father and Mother both tell me that there has been no marked improvement.

The facial condition remains virtually unaltered.  Peter is still seriously troubled by a watering eye, and it does now seem likely that that condition will remain permanently.  You will recall that some while ago Mr. Moore, who carried out the plastic operations, indicated that at the moment, no further operations were to be undertaken.  I gather that when Peter is 16, Mr. Moore wishes to see him again, and I think it is then likely that further operations will be necessary, and I am told by Mr. Griffiths that then a further attempt is likely to be made to deal with the tear duct trouble.

For the moment therefore, you must accept that the unsightly nature of the eye remains, and will remain, and the irritation and inconvenience caused by the failure of the tear duct to work properly, must continue.

Mentally, Peter is, as I say, in the same state as he was when you had your examination.  He is still at school.  I think he is doing fairly well, and although I am happy to tell you that there has been no incident which in any way suggests epilepsy, the irritability and tantrums still remain.  I know that you will say that it is not unusual for a young lad to have tantrums, but you will of course bear in mind, that this is not an only child.  The parents have had considerable experience of bringing up children, and they tell me that in their opinion, when Peter has tantrums, they are far more serious than those revealed by other children of the same age.  Neither you nor I, can explain these tantrums, but they must be accepted as a fact.

I appreciate that all the medical men concerned in this case have expressed the view that the claim should remain in abeyance for a further few months, and that there then should be more examinations.  As I told you in the past, the Father considers that examinations tend to upset Peter, and he is for that reason, not anxious that Peter should be submitted to further rigorous examinations.

This case has been hanging for nearly three years, and although the parents appreciate the reason for this, they have now reached the stage when they would welcome a final disposal of the Litigation.  After careful deliberation therefore, I am instructed to inform you that subject to the approval of the Court the parents will be willing to accept the sum of £6,000 plus the special Damage to be agreed, and the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by them throughout this long and tedious matter, for immediate settlement of the claim.  It is of course understood, that in addition, you will discharge my costs to be Taxed.

I realise it will be necessary for you to confer with the other interested Parties.  I leave the matter with you for consideration, and I await hearing from you again at your very early convenience.

In the meanwhile, I am myself, now endeavouring to clarify the Special Damage.  I need hardly tell you that this must of necessity be very substantial.

Yours faithfully,
W. H. Thompson



6th June, 1955

Dear Mr. Frost,

Chatham 204/51 – 9 – Griffiths

I enclose a copy of a letter which I have recently received from W. H. Thompson.

Out last offer, which was made early this year, was £4,000.

I am not prepared to go to £6,000; the amount I would go to at this stage is £5,000, although I am not at all sure that that is not too much, but I am prepared to pay something to get rid of the risk of the Pundits saying that this boy has, or will have, epilepsy.

We can, of course, wait till the autumn and have the boy re-examined in the hope that the electro-encephalograph is negative, in which event £5,000 is probably too much.  I think the problem really resolves itself into whether or not we are prepared to take this risk.  If the encephalograph still shows signs of epilepsy then £5,000 will be too little.

On the whole, therefore, I would be prepared to go to £5,000 at this stage.

Can I have your views please?  If you think any useful purpose would be served by our meeting no doubt you will let me know.

Yours sincerely,
W. Nash

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #117 on: June 19, 2012, 13:59:02 »
8th December, 1954.

Dear Mr. Frost,

Chatham 204/51 – 9 – Griffiths.

I thank you for your letter of the 6th inst.

With regard to the second paragraph thereof, since my letter to you I have seen Charles of W. H. Thompson and he feels that the matter must be postponed because (a) he finds it difficult to advise the father as to what sum should be accepted now, and (b) does not think that a settlement on the lines of the remote possibility of epilepsy – which is the only basis I said I would consider – would be approved in view of the medical evidence.

He says, however, the father is anxious to get the matter settled because he, the father, thinks the delay and repeated medical examinations are having a bad effect upon the boy.  In these circumstances he asked me to consider whether I could see any way out of the dilemma, bit in this respect he added that the father had a substantial sum in mind for damages.  I assume considerably in excess of the £3,000 I have offered.  I cannot see any way out, but can you?

With regard to the last paragraph of your letter I agree I did promise to let you have a note of all the settlements but I have not been able to implement it because in some five cases Thompson’s costs have not yet been taxed.  I gather there is considerable delay in the Taxing Office, and taxation will take some time.

Would you like me to let you have a schedule of the cases that have been completed and ask you to let me have your proportion in respect thereof?

Yours sincerely,
W. Nash



24th December, 1954

Dear Mr. Nash,

Chatham 204/51 – 9 – Griffiths.

I thank you for your letter dated 8th December, 1954.

With regard to the third paragraph of your letter, I take it that the Plaintiff’s Solicitors still have in mind a figure of £8,000 for general damages, and if this is so then I can see no way out of the impass.  On the other hand, I think the Plaintiff would recover more than the sum of £3,000 previously offered in settlement, and I am wondering whether it would be worth sending Thompsons to find out whether the claim could be settled for something less than £5,000.  I think that if this matter were to go to Court at this date after the accident the Court is bound to award a substantial sum in respect of the pain and suffering up to the date of the trial, and I think as things stand at the moment, and taking an optimistic view, the Plaintiff might well recover up to £5,000.  If you think the matter is worth pursuing on these lines you may take it that I concur in your doing so.

I think perhaps it would be better if you let me know what proportion the Department owes in respect of the cases which have been (second page of the letter Is missing)

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #116 on: June 19, 2012, 10:14:03 »
26th November, 1954.

Dear Mr. Frost,

Chatham 204/51 – 9 – Griffiths.

I enclose copies of reports of Dr. Wilkinson and Dr. Ashby to their recent examination of the boy Griffiths, which as you know is the only outstanding claim.  As you will see neither Ashby nor Knight – you will remember that Knight Is the Neuro-Surgeon instructed by W.H. Thompson – are prepared to express a definite opinion with regard to the epileptic aspect and consider that a settlement should be postponed for a further year.  I understand from W.H. Thompson that he has a similar report from Knight.

It seems to me that any settlement which we negotiated now would have to take into account a substantial sum for the epileptic aspect, otherwise it would not be approved – certainly if I were a Judge I would only approve it on those lines.

If I understood Ashby’s report correctly there has been a slow but gradual improvement in this boy and I think we should gamble on that improvement going on, and not the reverse.  If, for example, in twelve months’ time the E.E.G. shows no sign of epilepsy and Ashby and perhaps Knight are then prepared to give a definite opinion that this possibility is remote, I think you will agree the amount involved would be very much less.  I do appreciate, of course, that in a year the boy’s condition could deteriorate, in which event we should have to pay a very much greater sum, but I think it is a gamble which we should take.

Can I have your views please?

Yours sincerely,
W. Nash



6 December, 1954

Dear Mr. Nash,

Chatham 204/51 – 9 – Griffiths

I thank you for your letter dated the 26th of November 1954 enclosing copies of further medical reports of a recent examination of the boy Griffiths.

This is a difficult case and I agree in principle with your approach to it.  I take it the Plaintiffs Solicitors are agreeable to postponing any settlement for a period of one year.  As I see the case, I do not think you have anything to lose by a postponement in the negotiations, but everything to gain.

You did promise to let me have a note of all the settlements you have concluded in the claims arising out of the Chatham disaster, but I do not think you have sent it to me.  I do not mind if adjustment between us does not take place until all the claims are settled but if you would prefer me to pay my contribution towards the settlement of those concluded now I shall be pleased to do so.

Yours sincerely,
Arthur Frost

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #115 on: June 18, 2012, 12:01:47 »
9th August, 1954

Dear Mr. Frost,

Chatham 204/51 – 9 – Griffiths.

Can I refer you to my letter to you of the 2nd June last and your reply of the 15th of that month, as a result of which I wrote to W. H. Thompson making an offer of £3,000.  I enclose a copy of his reply.

It seems to me that we must now have this boy examined by our own Doctors, particularly in view of the allegation that the eye is watering – I understood that this had completely cleared up.

I suggest that I send copies of the medical reports W. H. Thompson has supplied me with to Jeffery or Wilkinson, or someone of that calibre, informing him that we wish him to examine the boy but that as we anticipate he will advise that someone else is brought in to deal with the epileptic aspect and possibly the plastic side, would he suggest the names of suitable people.

Having obtained his suggestions, and assuming I approve, I then try and arrange for all the Doctors, however many there may be, to examine the boy at the same time.

Does this suggestion meet with your approval and have you any particular preference with regard to whom I shall consult?  I myself would go to Jeffery, but you may have other views.

I do not think you have copies of all the reports supplied to me by W. H. Thompson and I accordingly enclose a complete set for your file.

Yours sincerely,
W. Nash



12th August, 1954

Dear Mr. Nash,

Chatham 204/51 – 9 – Griffith.

Thank you for your letter dated 9th instant forwarding to me copies of all the reports supplied to you by the Claimant’s Solicitors, together with a copy of a letter from these Solicitors in reply to your offer of £3,000 plus special damage.

In the state that the negotiations are now in I agree the only course open to you is for you to obtain independent medical reports so that we can reconsider the claim.  I am satisfied that you will obtain reports from doctors suitably qualified, and I am content to leave it to you to select the best man.

My experience of W. H. Thompson is that having arrived at a figure, he is not likely to abate it very much for the purposes of an amicable settlement, and unless an offer approaching the sum of £8,000 is made I think the issue of quantum will have to be decided by a Judge, and I note that Mr. Justice Stables and Mr. Justice Pilcher are sitting at the next Maidstone Assize.

Awards of damages by these Judges tend to be on the high side, a factor which may well be influencing Messrs. W. H. Thompson.

Yours sincerely.
Arthur Frost

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #114 on: June 09, 2012, 17:27:41 »
15th June, 1954

Dear Mr. Nash,

Chatham 204/51 – 9 – Griffiths

I thank you for your letter dated the 2nd instant with enclosures as stated which I return herewith.

This is a difficult case in which to assess damages and if my recollection is right, this is the case where we both attended before Mr. Armstrong’ Jones and we saw the boy in the presence of his Solicitor.  Although at that time it was difficult to express a firm opinion on damages, I think Mr. Armstrong Jones expressed the view that a court mightwell award anything up to £3,500.

I think the serious aspect of this case is contained on page 3 in the Report of Mr. C. C. Knight, dated the 12th November 1954.  Mr. Knight clearly indicates that the boy has not got back to normal yet and goes on to say that it is probable that some permanent intellectual blemish will follow, but the degree of this blemish can only be judged against the background of his School Reports which give an indication of the level of the boy’s attainment over a long period of time.

I think it is necessary to have an up to date Report from Mr. Knight, but in any event I see no objection to an offer being made of £3,000. and I would certainly be willing to agree to an offer of £3,500. being made on the basis of the medical evidence that is now before us.

Perhaps you will be good enough to keep me informed of the progress of your negotiations.

Yours sincerely,
Arthur Frost



23rd July, 1954.

Dear Mr. Nash,

re  Peter Griffiths

I refer to this matter and to my telephone conversation with your yesterday afternoon.  As I then told you I had with me Peter and his father.

After very careful discussion and deliberation I am instructed by the father to inform you that he is not prepared to accept your offer of £3,000 plus Special Damages for settlement of this case.

Quite frankly, it does not appear that Peter has made the general progress that we hoped and it was for this reason that I was anxious that you should see him whilst he was in London.

My own observations lead me to the conclusion, and I say this without attempting to belittle the wonderful plastic surgery performed, that the tear duct is not working properly.  There is once again a trickle from the corner of the eye.

Mr. Moore has said that for the moment there is nothing more he can do.  The next batch of operative treatment will not in fact be undertaken until Peter is at least 16 years of age.  It is, however, quite definite that at some later stage, further treatment will be necessary.

The father tells me that Peter is now a very irritable young man and is beginning to show signs of a violent temper.  This particularly manifests itself when he does not get his own way.  For example, a few evenings ago he expressed a desire to go to a cinema.  His parents in their discretion said that he could not do so.  The lad flew into a violent temper and required considerable restraint.

He is not sleeping too well and apparently, he is now very conscious of the fact that at night when he is asleep, his injured eye remains open.  He seems to be developing a feeling of self consciousness on that factor.  This again is causing complications in his ordinary life.

There is to be a Cadet camp to be held in the next few days and the father thought it would be a good idea if Peter went.  For weeks the lad refused to go although he was more than friendly with the boys who were going to the camp, because he was afraid they would see him asleep with the open eye and would comment  adversely thereupon.

This is only one example on what must be a very serious position.  I would not for one moment suggest that there is a neurosis here bit I think with the passage of time there is a grave danger of such a condition developing.

A few months ago Mr. Griffiths was himself very optimistic concerning the lad’s condition but it is very obvious now that he is not so minded.  I formed the impression that he was most apprehensive.

It is true that there has been no repetition of the symptoms which led to Mr. Knight to form the opinion that there was a residual risk of epilepsy but it does seem that the mental disorder is now showing itself in other ways.

I need hardly say to you just how difficult this case is bit having given very careful consideration to all the factors arising and at the same time having in mind the Opinion expressed by Leading Counsel a few months ago,. My client now instructs me to say that the minimum figure he is prepared to accept for settlement, subject of course to Court’s approval, is £8,000 plus Special Damage and plus my costs to be taxed.

As I indicated on the telephone, there is a great gap between our respective figures.

In order that there may be no misunderstanding, Mr. Griffiths wishes me to inform you that if this matter is not capable of settlement, he would prefer that the action should be set down for trial at the next Maidstone Assize.  He is quite content to leave the decision as to damages with the Learned Judge.

I shall await hearing further from you after you have had an opportunity of considering all that I have said.

Yours sincerely,
A.J. Charles

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #113 on: June 08, 2012, 17:48:41 »
2nd June, 1954.

Dear Mr. Frost,

Chatham 204/51 – 9 – Griffiths.

With the exception of one claim, namely that of Griffiths, all the others have been settled, but I cannot let you have a list because there are still some costs outstanding.

In regard to Griffiths, I do not know what you have in the nature of medical reports so I am enclosing all mine; I have not kept copies so please return them to me in due course.

As I understand it Moore has treated successfully the tear duct and drooping eyelid, but I gather from W.H. Thompson that the contour of the face is still irregular and a further plastic operation will be necessary.  However, Moore says this should not be done now but some time later.

The main difficulty, however, that I see is not the disfigurement to the face but the fact that Knight’s Electro-Encephalographic investigation, according to him, indicates a continuing tendency to epilepsy.

Thompson says that whilst this boy does not mind being operated upon by Moore he has, however, taken an active dislike to Knight, with the result that every time he is examined by him his general nervous condition deteriorates.  I am mentioning this because I suggested to Thompson that the boy should be sent back to Knight to see whether the Electro-Encephalgraphic still discloses abnormalities, but Thompson says the father is against this.

I told Thompson that I saw great difficulty in making an offer on the basis that there was a serious risk of epilepsy because the figures involved must be substantial and, therefore, I should want to have the boy examined by my own Doctor or an up-to-date report from Knight.

Thompson wants me to make an offer on the basis that if there is any risk of epilepsy at all, it is slight.  This he proposes to put up to the father and if the latter thinks it is too little then Thompson proposes to tell him that we are not being unreasonable and he cannot complain having regard to the medical evidence.  This will force the father to agree to a further report by Knight of he will have to give us facilities to let us have our own examination.

I think I should add that according to Thompson the father is taking a very reasonable attitude.  He says the boy is gradually getting better and that repeated examinations by Doctors are not doing him any good, in fact, they are retarding his progress.

I gather the father would be prepared to settle on the basis of little or no risk of epilepsy, but of course we cannot do that because we have to get approval and Knight is the nigger in the wood pile.

I see no objection to making an offer at this stage to try and get some finality, and the figure I have in mind is £3,000 for general damages.  Can I have your views please?

Yours sincerely,

W. Nash

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #112 on: June 06, 2012, 18:42:01 »
24th December, 1953.

Dear Sirs,

When I examined Master George Jarrett here on the 23rd December, he came with his father.  He is now aged 13.  His father gave me the following information.  There are two brothers aged 21 and 19, and a sister aged 17.  Mr. Jarrett does not consider that any other member of this family has shown any tendency to nervousness.  George was born at full term but a normal confinement, and developed fully at the usual ages.  He first attended school at the age of 5 and in due course moved to a secondary school two years ago.  He failed in his entrance to a grammar school.  Mr. Jarrett thinks that this was because he was required to sit the qualifying examination on the day after this accident occurred.  The boy hopes to be trained as an electrician: his two brothers and his father are thus employed.  The brother aged 19 and the daughter are both at the higher grade schools, the brother aged 21 was educated at the same type of school as that which George now attends.  Mr. Jarrett showed me a terminal report given to him upon the boy’s work in the Michaelmas term which has just ended.  The head master’s comment is a “Splendid report”.  The form master described him as “A consistent trier, who well deserves the high standard that he has attained”.  He ended 5th out of 38.  Mr. Jarrett said that he had improved his position in form regularly up to the present time, he was in fact top in science.  He played cricket for his school last summer.  He had formerly played football better than he now does.  Mr. Jarrett though that he might perhaps be nervous.  As far as his past illnesses are concerned he has had only measles.  He has never suffered from any trouble with his tonsils or ears.  He has always enjoyed the cadet work.  The complaint that Mr. Jarrett made about the boy was that he was still nervous and stammered.  The stammer does occasionally occur when he is talking to his brothers and sister at home.  At times it is completely absent.  It is invariably worse when he is speaking to strangers.  He seems to be jumpy, e.g. the back-fire of a motor car occurring near to them on their journey to see me caused him to jump.  He has to be coaxed to go up to bed alone, and the light in his room is left on until he has gone to sleep.  During the daytime he is reluctant to go out alone, and does not like being left alone, “In here, say, or anywhere else”.  He still goes to the cadet meetings at night if another fellow goes with him, and he will go out of the house alone if he has pre-arranged a meeting with a comrade, but only into the neighbouring street.  He attends the cinema only with his mother or brothers.  He goes to the cinema on Saturday and Sunday afternoons every week.

From time to time Mr. Jarrett takes the boy to see his doctor.  He does not receive any medicinal treatment unless he is specially upset.  After Dr. Worster-Drought had suggested special speech therapy the doctor was consulted, but could not arrange it.  Mrs. Jarrett went to the Kent Educational Committee; she was told that the boy’s name would be put down for treatment at one of their centres, but there would be considerable delay before he could be taken on because (and Mr. Jarrett said that he agreed with this statement) there are thousands worse than he is.

While MR. Jarrett was giving these particulars the boy had been left down stairs in the waiting room and he was then sent for.  When he came into the consulting room he appeared a little nervous ad apprehensive, but was not obviously distressed at having been left alone for several minutes.  He discussed the place where he lived at Chatham, and said that the school where he attended was about 200 yds. away from his home.  He goes to school alone in the morning and returns to his home for dinner, going back to school in the afternoon and coming home again at tea time.  He makes these journeys unaccompanied.  The school is divided into houses.  He is in Nelson House.  This year this house has been pre-eminent in the sporting contests.  Last summer he took part in the normal cricket matches, playing in his house team, and he also took part in the field athletic events, winning one race.  He is not at present playing in his football team.  He enjoys both cricket and football.  There are various extra curricula activities, such as nature study groups.  He has had to absent himself from these because of his attendance at the cadets.  He attends twice a week meetings which begin at 5.0 and end at 8.30 or 9.0.  The activities include games and band practice.  He plays a fife in the band and spends a good deal of his time at home practising the fife.  He does not have to do home work.  He is also interested at home stamp collecting.  He attends the cinema once a week, on Saturday afternoons.  He is pleased with his school report, and hopes to become qualified as an engineer and then to join the Post Office staff on which his father is employed.

On examination he was found to be a boy of slight build.  He was not at ease except in brief periods during the interview.  After a good deal of conversation of a light hearted kind he did smile, and contribute with remarks of his own.  When he was asked if he felt that there was anything the matter with him he broke down into tears, and was for a considerable time uncontrollable.  He later explained that he was much distressed because he stammered.  On physical examination there was no indication of physical ill health, and he showed no obvious apprehension or reluctance to be examined behind a screen remote from his father.  Later he said that he had spent a fortnight living in huts with the cadets at Plymouth last summer.

 Opinion:  Therefore it appears that up to the time when the accident in question occurred, i.e. the 4th December, 1951, this had developed physically in all ways in the normal manner, and by his father’s account had shown no signs of nervous hyperexcitability other that an occasional stammer.  As a result of that accident he was nervously distressed.  On the following day he sat the qualifying examination for entrance to a grammar school, and was unsuccessful.  He has since attended fully and regularly a secondary technical school.  In this he has cooperated fully in all athletic activities, and has regularly improved his position so that in his last term he has given great satisfaction and is clearly doing very well.  The only significant symptom in this boy at the present time is that of his stammer.  There may be some general nervousness expressing itself by undue jumpiness at unexpected noises, and a diminishing reluctance to go to bed in the dark.  The stammer itself is lessened, and Mr. Jarrett agrees that the boy has in fact improved.  This improvement has been noted in Dr. Worster-Drought’s reports.  Nevertheless, it appears that the stammer continues.  It does not seem to provide any disturbance of the boy’s social or occupational activities, but provides considerable personal distress to the boy himself.  It is to be expected that as the interval between this unpleasant experience increases, and particularly after further to it entailed in recurrent medical examinations can be avoided, the boy’s nervous hyperexcitability will in all ways settle down and his stammer will lessen and may disappear.  It is a pity that Dr. Worster-Drought’s suggestion with regard to treatment at a speech therapy centre has not been given effect to, since the treatment at such a centre is not confined to improvement of the boy’s enunciation along; but includes attention to the associated nervous hyperexcitability upon which such a stammer bears, and it is probable that efficient treatment of this character would do much to hasten his eventual recovery.

Yours very truly,
E. A. Blake Pritchard
M.A., M.D., F.R.C.P.
Physician in charge, Department of Neurology,
Universtiy College Hospital.

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #111 on: June 06, 2012, 13:58:23 »
11th November, 1953.

Dear Mr. Nash,

Your ref:  Chatham 204/51 – 12 – Jarrett.

I refer to this matter.  I have now seen the parents and I have also had the opportunity of seeing the child.  It is quite clear that this lad is in a very bad state.  I will, of course, confess at once that I do not know what his condition was before the accident, all I can say is, when I saw him yesterday he was most distraught.  To test him I asked him one or two general questions relating to the accident.  The child burst into tears and we had considerable difficulty in pacifying him.  Bearing in mind the tragedy occurred 2 years ago, I think this fact alone proves the condition which remains.

I am wondering, therefore, if in this case also it would be as well if you arranged an examination by your own neurologist.  I have of course in mind the fact that the parents, whilst conceding that the lad was a little nervous before the accident, are quite definite in their opinion that he is now a thousand times worse.

Perhaps you would care to have a word with the writer on the telephone.

Yours sincerely,
A.J. Charles



11th December, 1953.

Dear Mr. Frost,

Chatham 204/51 – 5 – Burke.

In August I gave you the up-to-date position with regard to this claim, namely that Charles own Client’s figure was £750 plus the special damages of some £18.  -.  -. and I suggested that we should have an examination and you replied on the 19th August agreeing this.

I subsequently discussed the matter again with Charles and he said that he was quite certain that his Client was not going to be affected by any medical report we might obtain.  He said his Client had gone entirely against his advice but that he was satisfied he could not shift her.  In these circumstances I thought the best tactics were to let the woman wait and then see what happened.

These tactics have had some effect inasmuch as she is now prepared to accept £650. plus the special damages provided she at least gets the special damages before Christmas.

Let me say at once that I do not think the claim is worth £650. but I think we have to look at what is going to happen if we do not pay it.  At this stage I think I should say that Charles of W. H. Thompson’s has been most helpful, all cards have been put on the table and I think you will agree that the settlements we have effected have been reasonable.

Charles points out, and with this you will entirely agree, that he must carry out his Client’s instructions, which means that he will have to issue proceedings.  To protect himself he will have to apply for civil aid, which means that the matter to a large extent will be out of his hands.    Further, he points out, and with this you and I will both agree, that we shall be involved in substantial costs.

Reluctant though I am to buy, more or less, a pig in a poke, I feel we would be well advised to pay this £650. plus the special damages of some £18.

I tried to get you on the telephone to-day and failed, but understood you would be in the office to-morrow, Saturday.  Unfortunately I shall not be in Town to-morrow morning but will be here first thing on Monday.  Could I trouble you to telephone me then?

It would appear that you have not had the early reports of the 23rd April, 1952 and the 12th March, 1953.  I enclose my copies which I shall be glad if you will return at your convenience.

Yours sincerely,
W. Nash

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #110 on: June 05, 2012, 13:43:53 »
10th June, 1953.

Dear Mr. Charles,

Chatham 204/51 – 12 – Jarrett

Thanks for your letter of the 9th inst.

I confess I find it difficult to appreciate the degree of the stammer.  The history os that “he suffered from a slight and occasional stammer, which was not noticed more than about twice a month and then on any excitement.”  The present symptoms are “occasional hesitation of speech”.

I quite accept that he was in a very nervous condition after the accident, but how much worse his speech is today as compared with before the accident, I don’t know, but from what I quote above I think the probabilities are not very much.

If the increase in the stammer had been very noticeable I would have thought his school master would have suggested that he obtained advice either by consulting his Doctor or attending one of the Clinics to which Worster-Drought refers.  In this respect I see he was able to return to school “within a day of the accident, and “continued without loss of time”.

Unless, therefore, I have totally misunderstood the position my figure is £100.

Yours sincerely,
W. J. Nash



1st October, 1953.

Dear Mr. Nash,

Chatham 204/51-15-Lyall

I thank you for your letter of the 28th ultimo with enclosures as stated and as requested I return herewith the Report dated the 21st October 1952.

The infant Claimant in this case undoubtedly sustained a severe head injury and I agree with you that id necessary you should go up to £750 for General Damages in order to secure a settlement and thus avoid proceedings.  I think I would in this case go up to £1,000 in respect of General Damages, as it seems the injury has generally retarded the boy, a factor which a Judge would take into account in awarding damages.

Yours sincerely,
Arthur Frost

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Re: Dock Road Accident 4th December 1951
« Reply #109 on: June 04, 2012, 19:19:50 »
14th September, 1953.

George R. Jarrett
Now aged 12 years 7 months.
158 Symons Avenue, Chatham, Kent.

I have seen and re-examined the above named boy.

Since I last saw him on May 18th, 1953, his father tells me that he seems to have improved to some extent, and has continued at school without loos of time.

Present symptoms:  The boy himself complains of no symptoms apart from hesitation in speech.

His father tells me that he appears less nervous than formerly, that he is now going to bed by himself with the light on; his brother sleeps in the same room but goes to bed later.  Also he seems less nervous of the dark; he is less restless and fidgetty.

Physical examination:  Occasional stammer during speech is still apparent and affects particularly labial and lingual sounds.

Pupils dilated and still respond somewhat sluggishly to light but normally to accommodation-convergence.  Optic discs and other cranial nerves normal.  No tremors.

Commentary:  As stated in my previous letter, this boy as a result of witnessing the serious accident of December 4th, 1951 and narrowly escaping injury, received a considerable degree of nervous or emotional shock.  The effects of this have persisted to date in the symptoms described above, but fortunately with steady but slow improvement.  Prior to the accident it is admitted that he had a slight and occasional stammer.  His nervous condition aggravated the intensity of the symptom.

On examination, as before, he shows no evidence of physical disorder and no abnormal signs apart from the intermittent stammer.  As I anticipated, the general nervous symptoms have improved, and are now operative, if at all, only to a slight extent.  The stammer has also improved compared with May last.  As this stammer is stated to have existed in mild degree prior to the accident, without some knowledge of its previous state it is difficult to judge whether it has reached its pre-accident level of not.  In any case it has certainly improved, and he read a passage of some twenty line with the stammer occurring over not more than four words.  It is probable that his speech could further be improved by attendance at a local speech clinic.  Regarding this, I understand from his father that there is a waiting list for treatment at the school speech clinics in the Chatham area, on which his name has been placed.

C. Worster-Drought
M.D., F.R.C.P.,
Physician to the West end Hospital for
Nervous Diseases, to the Metropolitan Hospital; Neurologist, Royal Cancer Hospital, etc..

 

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