William Henry Please 1878 - 1943
While on duty on Tuesday night 2 February, Special Constable W H Please was knocked down by a cyclist in Station Road and sustained serious injuries including it is feared a fracture of the skull. He was removed to the County Hospital and has been lying in a serious condition.
As reported in the last issue, we regret to record the death in the County Hospital on Saturday following a road accident at White Rails, Staplers of Mr William Henry Please of Hatswell House, High Street, Wootton.
Mr Please was a member of an old Wootton family and was associated with the building business founded by his grandfather in 1880. The firm built the majority of houses in Wootton during the last 80 years. For a considerable time he was a member of the Whippingham Parish Council, a convinced Liberal. For some years he served in the old volunteers and was chairman of the Relief Committee of the British Legion.
Mr Please's service as a special constable dated back to World War I and he held the Long Service medal granted for 10 years or over. He was held in genuine regard and his tragic death is deeply felt by numerous friends. The utmost sympathy is felt for his wife, son and daughter in their loss.
An inquest was held by the Deputy-Coroner (R E A Webster) at the County Hospital Nurses' Home on Monday. Capt. W S Russell was elected foreman of the jury. Inspector Willmott was present and Mr L J Thrupp Chidell represented the cyclist.
Edmund William Please, aircraft draughtsman, employed by Messrs. J S White of Corston House, Spencer Road, Ryde, said the deceased, his father, was 65. He saw him at the County Hospital at 1 am on February 3rd when he was unconscious and was present when he died on Saturday. His father enjoyed good health, his hearing was good but not quite normal, and his eyesight was satisfactory.
Edward Frederick Hulse, company director, of Wootton Grange, Wootton, said he was a special constable and with the deceased, who was also on duty on the night of the accident and had a point to make at White Rails, Staplers. They remained there talking and at 9.12 pm he told deceased they might as well start walking back to Wootton. As they left, they walked on the left-hand side, deceased being on witness's right, more in the middle of the road. A cyclist coming from the rear crashed into the deceased. He helped the cyclist and asked him to fetch the doctor, which he did. Dr. Kennedy arrived about 9.30 and an ambulance at about 10 pm both were wearing their blue uniforms.
The cyclist, Frederick William Hallam, said he was an apprentice joiner employed at Folly Works, and lived at the Woodman' Arms, Wootton. About 9 pm on February 2nd he left Newport to cycle home. He was a member of the Home Guard and was in a bit of a hurry to be on parade. Inspector Willmott: "Do you think it a reasonable time to leave Newport at 9 pm to get on parade at 9.30 pm?"-I had been to the pictures.
Dr. William Gross said the deceased was admitted to hospital at about 10.30 pm. He was unconscious and bleeding from the left ear. He did not regain consciousness, his condition deteriorated, and he died at 11.10 am on Saturday. The cause of death was cerebral haemorrhage and a fractured base of skull. Inspector Willmott: Were there any signs of bruising of the face by which you could say whether the fracture was caused by his striking the road? -I could not see any abrasions, but his condition was consistent with his head having struck the road. There was no external definite sign of this.
The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."
The funeral took place at St Edmunds Church on Thursday (11th) when a large number of friends were unable to secure admission. Full police honours were accorded. The service was conducted by Rev. G C Seymour of Calbourne (former rector) assisted by Rev. A H Genower (rector). Mr Seymour paid a touching tribute to the deceased. The cortege was led by Mr W Mowbray D.C.M. (Legion chairman) carrying the draped standard and escorted by Sergt. -Major W Gilley, Commandant J Johncox and members of the special constabulary. and representatives of the County Constabulary.
The mourners were Mrs W H Please (widow), Mr E W Please (son), Mrs R Whillier, junior N.F.S. (daughter), Mr A E Brading (brother-in-law), Mr & Mrs G Cooper, Mr & Mrs Edwards (brothers-in-law and sisters), Mrs Lowe (sister), Mrs A Taylor also representing Mr A Taylor, nephew), Mr H Saunders, Mrs Darroll & Mr A Please (cousins), Mr H Brading, Mr A Lee (also representing Mrs Lee, cousin) and Messrs. F Collyer and R Whillier. Owing to active service Lieut R Whillier (son-in-law) was unable to attend, as also were Mesdames S Hulbert and Cowdron (sisters), Mrs W H Mew (sister-in-law), Mrs B E W Brading (sister-in-law). plus a large selection of the Island community.
The interment was in the churchyard and at the conclusion relatives dropped posies of flowers into the grave and the police and Legionists filed past. There were many floral tributes.
Source: Isle of Wight County Press, 6th & 13th February 1943