This week’s theme for #52Ancestors was Organised but I am not inspired by that so I decided to write Lost2 as a sequel to last week. You may recall me telling you in a blog a few weeks ago that we have recently been reunited with one of Dad’s cousins and after having met her, I realised I do not know a great deal about the Baldwin side of the family during the 20th century and it set me on a quest to find out more.
William James Baldwin was my Dad’s oldest uncle. I’ve known for a long time that he was tragically killed at Green Brothers Factory in Hailsham whilst working but beyond that I knew nothing. He was born in Hailsham on 18 March 1914 to Reuben Leonard and Ethel Mary Baldwin, my great grandparents. His brothers, Alfred Sydney (my grandfather) and Herbert Leonard were born in 1916 and 1920 and by the time of the 1921 census the family were living at 6 Sackville Road in Hailsham, a road my family lived in during my teenage years.
He married Bessie Borrer in Eastbourne, November 1935 with whom he had three sons, James, Michael and Patrick. He and Alfred served during WW2 but I have not managed to find any service records as yet. By the 50s he and Alfred both worked at Green Brothers factory in Hailsham as wood machinists. I believe they had worked there before the war too, as my Grandad had worked alongside David Smith, who had brought up my Grandmother (see previous blog).
He died on 19 September at Princess Alice Hospital in Eastbourne, Sussex after a tragic accident at work in the Green Bros factory. His death certificate stated that he died of shock after internal bleeding from a rupture of his right external iliac artery from a penetrating would by a piece of wood propelled by a machine saw.
An inquest was carried out on 22 September 1950 where the verdict was returned as Accidental Death. The Eastbourne Chronicle on 29 September 1950 reported
“After hearing how wood machinist William James Baldwin, 36, of the Nest, Hempstead Lane, Hailsham, died from injuries received when a piece of wood shot into him from a machine he was working, Friday’s inquest at Eastbourne returned a verdict of ‘Accidental Death’.
The article stated that the Jury called for a rider that an adequate Safeguard to be fitted to the offcut side of the line edging machine if possible. A fifteen year old workmate told the inquest how William had been feeding wood into the line edging machine and how half way through the piece of wood being sawed there was a bang and Bill (William) called out. First aid treatment was given on site to Bill who had pulled the piece of wood out.
Safety guards were present on the machine it was stated and Safety Inspectors visited the factory and were satisfied that the machine was protected in the normal manner. Edwin Hollands, maintenance engineer for Green Bros said only on the left side, where the off cut came, was there any danger with the machines.
“There was not enough body in the wood to hold the pressure of the rollers and it was rejected.” Hollands stated.
No other accidents on that machine were reported. It was reported that because different kinds of work were done on that machine, it would be impossible to have a static guard on the off cut side.
Alfred Baldwin, a packer at the factory, gave evidence of identifying his brother on 21 September.
William was buried on 23 September 1950 at Hailsham Cemetery in Ersham Road, Hailsham.