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William Arthur Hudgell

1894 - 1935


Minnie Hudgell

1893 - 1935


Jean Marjorie Hudgell

1926 - 1935


Monday September 9th 1935

Four Killed by Lorry

 Policeman's Death For Others

Accident at Barnet Fair


  A Police Constable and three other persons were killed and four injured when a heavily laden motor lorry mounted a footpath, scattering the crowd, as it emerged from Barnet Fair late on Saturday night.


The names of the dead and injured are:-




  Police-constable James Thompson, 37, Mays Lane, Barnet: Mr. W Hudgell and his wife, Campsbourne Road, Hornsey; and Jean Hudgell  10, their daughter, who suffered injuries from which she died in Wellhouse Hospital.




  John Jones 29, Derwent Villas, High Road, Whetstone; Miss Emily Oliver, 26 Derwent Villas, High Road, Whetstone: Miss Ellen Kirby, Campsbourne Road, Hornsey; and Miss Beatrice Pain, Summers Row, North Finchley.


  Miss Oliver and Miss Kirby were detained at the hospital. Mr Jones and Miss Pain were able to leave after treatment.


  The Lorry was about to pass a stationary tramcar when a motor car drew out from an open space.  A collision occurred and the lorry mounted the footpath, which was crowded with people. Police-constable Thompson, who was directing traffic near by, saw the danger. He rushed to the footpath, and flinging out his arms, pressed the crowd back from the path of the lorry. Many persons were saved from death or injury by the policemanís action.  He himself was struck down and received multiple injuries, from which he died soon afterwards in hospital.


  About a dozen people were knocked down and lay on the ground, some of them badly hurt. The injured were removed in ambulances to hospital.

        Eye-Witnesses' account:

   An eye-witness of the accident informed a Press representative that a man in the crowd had told him that he owed his life to the dead policeman. Mr James Maxwell stated:- I saw at least nine people who were knocked down in the crowd, and I picker up one young lady who was bleeding from the head and put her down on the grass. Mr James Jones said that his brother, John Jones, one of the injured, gave him an account of the smash when he was taken home after the accident. John Jones said that when he saw the lorry he made a dive to one side, but was too late and was struck down.

  The lights of the lorry flashed on to the crown and people shouted. He remembered no more until he was in hospital.

  The lorry regained the roadway, but as it did so there was a second collision with a small car. When the lorry mounted the pavement its load of cement bags was flung into the roadway.

   Police-constable Thompson, who was married, with three children, had been in the police force about 15 years.




The Scotsman Newspaper

Monday 9th September 1935




Constable's Pluck in Accident


Native of East Wemyss



  A man, women, their 10 year old daughter, and a police officer whose heroism saved others from injury, lost their lives as the result of a lorry crash outside Barnet (Hertfordshire) Fair on Saturday night. The policeman was an East Wemyss (Fife) man.


  The victims were:-


Police Constable James Thomson (37), of Mays Lane Barnet.

Mr and Mrs Hudgell, of Campsbourne Road, Hornsey, and their 10 years old daughter Jean.

P.C. Thomason and Mr and Mrs Hudgell died soon after the accident. The girl died last night.

Four other persons were injured.




  Crowds were leaving the Fair when the motor lorry, which had just descended Barnet Hill, came into collision with a motor care near a stationary tramcar and mounted the pavement.


  Seeing the danger, P.C. Thomson rushed forward and pressed the crown back from the lorry's path, but in doing so was himself fatally injured.


  The lorry, it is stated, was about to pass a stationary tramcar, when a motor card drew out from an open space. A Collision occurred and the lorry mounted the footpath.


  Many were saved from death or injury by his action, but he himself was struck down and died soon afterwards in hospital.


  The lorry eventually regained the roadway but as it did so there was a second collision, a small car this time being involved.




   An eye witness said to a reporter: - "A man in the crown told me that he owed his life to the dead policeman"


   Another eye witness said: - " I saw at least nine people in the crown being knocked down".


   Constable Thomson was a native of East Wemyss. He had been in the police force foe 12 1/2 years. Previous to going South, he was employed as a miner at East Wemyss. He is survived by a wife and three children. One of his six brothers is in the London Metropolitan Police. A sister is a nurse in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.




The Scotsman Newspaper

Monday 13th September 1935




Arrest of Lorry Driver





  A verdict of manslaughter was returned at a Barnet inquest yesterday against John Brooks. of Southward Park Road, Bermondsey, the driver of a lorry which mounted the pavement at Barnet Fair and killed four people. The proceedings lasted all day, and the jury were fifty-five minutes in reaching their verdict.

Brooks was committed for trial at Hertfordshire Assizes, and was granted bail.


   Immediately the Coroner's Court had risen, Detective-Inspector T. Brooks, of Barnet arrested Brooks, who was taken to Barnet Police Station and formally charged with the manslaughter of the four victims. He was remanded to appear at Barnet Petty Sessions next Wednesday, and was released on bail.


  The victims of the accident were:-


Constable James Warrender Thomson, aged 32, of Barnet, son of Mr and Mrs John Thomson, 11 Approach Row, East Wemyss.


Mr William Hudgell aged 41, his wife Minnie, aged 41, of Campbourne Road, Hornsey, and Jean, their eight year old daughter.




   Brooks, in evidence, said that he tried to apply his foot-brake when halfway down Barnet Hill, but it did not respond.


  "I pulled on the hand brake," he added, "but it did not act". In the driver's cabin with him were three ment to whom he gave a lift from South Mimms.


  The Coroner, Mr T Ottaway, spoke of the heroism of Constable Thomson, who was killed when trying to push people out of the path of the lorry.


  "It seems to me," he said, "that this young officer, if he had thought of himself, could have got into safety."

The jury added a rider expressing their appreciated of the gallant act of Constable Thomson in the sacrifice of his life in the execution of his duty.


  Brooks, in answer to Mr R. Armstrong Jones, who represented the driver of on of the card involved in the accident, said that he had proper control of his hand brake and of his gear lever. There were two of the men on his left, with a third sitting on the knees of one of the men. He denied a suggestion that his speed was 30-40 m.p.h. going down the hill. His speed was about 20 m.p.h.


  The three men who were in the cabin with Brooks gave evidence. One of them, Frederick Charles Stanton, of Ordell Road, Bow, estimated the speed of the lorry on the hill at between 15 and 20 m.p.h. He said that after the crash he got out and walked away as he was too dazed to render assistance.


  The jury stated in their verdict that they considered the conduct of the three men accompanying Brooks on the lorry "highly reprehensible and deserving of censure".




   Before the jury retired to consider their verdict, Mr Soskice, who appeared for Brooks, asked if he might make one or two observations.


   The Coroner informed him that this was against his rule.


   Mr Soskice - You don't even know what the observations are.


   The Coroner - That is my rule, and I shall ask you to observe it.


   Mr Soskice - Of course, I shall certainly observe your rule, but in my submission the jury have not been fully informed as to the facts, which Brooks has placed before you and in my opinion it is unfortunate that they should be asked to retire to consider the case with only that summing up. If you rule definitely, of course, I must site down.


   The Coroner - That is my ruling.


   Mr Soskice - In my submission it is most unfortunate.


   The jury then retired.



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