Lance Sergeant William John Penson-Harris


Lance Sergeant William John Penson-Harris (aged 26) of the 21st Battalion, Royal Field Artillery (Fermoy)

Date of incident: 28 June 1920

Sources: CE, 8 July 1920; FJ, 8 July 1920; Inquest Book, no. 2 (1897-1929), TNA; (accessed 26 Sept. 2015).


Note: Penson-Harris died in the Fermoy Military Hospital on 3 July 1920 of acute septicaemia caused by burns from an explosion of his Verey pistol while on duty. Penson-Harris had been in charge of the guard during a military patrol on Rathealy Road in Fermoy at about 12:30 a.m. on 28 June and carried a Verey pistol in his belt. His comrade, Driver F. W. Geldart, asked him for the time, and ‘in the act of getting a watch out of his trousers pocket the pistol went off’. See FJ, 8 July 1920. Penson-Harris suffered severe burns to his left thigh and delayed seeking proper medical treatment, though it was close at hand. The burns turned out to be fatal; he died of acute septic toxemia five days later. See CE, 8 July 1920. He was buried at Great Rollright in Oxfordshire. 

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