A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- Biography -
- Edward William Belcher -

Unknown person Name : Edward William Belcher.

Son of Charles Belcher and Esther Belcher (née Bryant), formerly of Salisbury, latterly of 13 High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight.

Born 1877 Salisbury, Wiltshire (Registered Alderbury June qtr 1877)

Charles Belcher died in 1904.
  Census Information :

1881 : Charles and Esther Belcher, with their children including Edward aged 3, are at 84, Brown St, New Sarum St Thomas (Salisbury). Charles Belcher is a Boot Maker.

1891 : Charles and Esther Belcher, with their children including Edward aged 13, are at 13 High Street, Newport. Charles Belcher is a Boot Maker.

1901 : Charles and Esther Belcher, with their son Edward aged 23, are at 13 High Street, Newport. Charles Belcher is a Boot Maker. Edward Belcher is a Coal Merchant's Clerk.

1911 : Esther Belcher, widow, with her son Edward aged 34, are at 13 High Street, Newport. Esther Belcher now has a Sweet shop. Edward Belcher is an Accountant's Clerk.

  Service details :

Rifleman 1292 Edward William Belcher, 1/8th Bn Hampshire Regiment (Isle of Wight Rifles)

Newport Borough Cemetery : E W Belcher Casualty Details :

Died : 17 October 1914 aged 37

Buried in Newport Cemetery

CWGC record ...
  Commemorated on these Memorials :

Isle of Wight Rifles War Memorial at Carisbrooke Castle
Isle of Wight Rifles War Memorial at the Drill Hall, Newport
  Documents :


Friday, October 23, 1914 Page 1

It is not often such painfully sad circumstances have to be recorded as those associated with the death of Bandsman William Belcher, of the Isle of Wight Rifles. Belcher had been in training with the Company at Sandown, and was called home to Newport to see his mother, who is dangerously ill. He was standing in St. James's Street, Newport, near an electric light standard, when a terrific explosion occurred in the inspection pit. The heavy iron and concrete cover was blown into the air, and descended on the head of Belcher, crushing him to the ground and killing him instantly. Deceased was greatly esteemed by his colleagues, and was a gifted cornet player. The news of his death was received here on Sunday with much sorrow.

Page 3

Well-Known Rifleman's Terrible Death.

William Belcher, a member of F. Co. Isle of Wight Rifles, met his death on Saturday night at Newport under painful circumstances ... Late on Saturday night residents and shopping crowds in Newport were alarmed at the deafening noise of a heavy explosion. Belcher was standing by an electric lamp standard in St. James's-square, when a terrific explosion occurred in the inspection pit of the standard, which blew high into the air the heavy concrete and iron cover over the pit. The cover, weighing some 1½ cwt., in descending smashed down on deceased's head and crushed him to the ground, killing him instantly. His skull was badly fractured, and his shoulders, back and arms were terribly injured. The body was removed to the Corn Exchange close by, and Dr. McKay was in attendance, but nothing could be done and the body was removed to the mortuary at Parkhurst to await the inquest. It is not quite clear yet what caused the explosion. Deceased was a well known and skilful cornet player, and had been for some years in the Territorial Band.


On Monday evening Dr. Foster, Assistant Deputy Coroner for the Island, held an inquest at the Military Hospital, Parkhurst, on the body of Bandsman Edward William Belcher, I.W. Rifles (T)., the victim of the electric light explosion at Newport, on Saturday. Mr. H.J. Jacobs appearing for the relatives, Mr. G.F.S. Stratton for the I.W. Electric Light Co., and Mr. C.F. Hiscock for the Newport Gas Co. Herbert Edward Croucher, clerk at the Newport Post Office, said that at about 9.15 on Saturday night he was near the electric light standard facing the market, at the junction of Pyle-street and St. James's-street, when he heard a terrific explosion and saw deceased standing at the corner immediately under the public lamp. Looking up he saw the large iron and concrete cover of the inspection pit, which had been blown into the air, about on the level with the building close by. It descended with tremendous force and striking deceased, crushing him into the gutter. He could see he was terribly injured, and he cycled for a doctor. He did not see deceased push a woman out of the way. Horace Stone, foreman at the Electric Light Works, said he could not account for the cause of the explosion, unless there was some explosive mixture in the chamber. Dr. Shortt said death was instantaneous. The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death" and added a rider that in their opinion the inspection chamber covers should be lifted at least once a week, for the safety of the public. The Coroner: I quite agree.
  Further Information :

His mother, Esther, died shortly after and is also buried in Newport Cemetery.
  Page status :
Page last updated : 16 August 2011 - thanks to Janet Griffin for newspaper research


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