Killed by a Tram

On the evening of 28th May 1917, a tramcar motorman was driving his tram towards Lambton Station when a man stepped off the footpath in front of him. He sounded the gong and the man seemed to stop and stagger. He then applied the emergency brake but the man was struck by the advertisement side of the car and knocked down. The injured man was carried to the Central Hotel with the assistance of a solider. He never regained consciousness on being admitted to hospital and died at 8am the following morning.

An inquest determined that death was due to internal injuries and haemorrhage of the brain caused by a fracture to the skull. The doctor noticed a faint smell of alcohol about the victim. There was no blame attached to the tramcar motorman who  it was observed ‘used every care’.

The deceased was described as:

‘… about 48 years of age. 10st in weight, 5ft 5in in height, with dark hair and a brown moustache, both turning grey, and was dressed in an almost new brown suit, a soft shirt, a grey flannel, a dark grey overcoat, a pair of lace-up boots (No. 7 with the New Zealand clothing company’s tabs on them), and a pair of grey woollen sox. He has a full set of upper teeth’.

The man was never identified. He was buried in a pauper’s plot on 4th June 1917. The plot was purchased by R.H. Wilson, a local funeral director who organised the burial.

There are two others in this plot, also buried in 1917:

Daniel McDavitt
His last address was 11 Frederick Street. He appears on official records with the surname McDevitt, firstly in 1902 stationed aboard the s.s Taviuni in Auckland, then on the 1911 electoral roll living in Frederick Street and his occupation was a seaman. He appears lastly on the army reserve roll in 1916, occupation is a labourer. Buried 26th June 1917 aged 49.

Raffailo [Rafaelllo] Peter Quilici

He was an Italian immigrant from Rome. He worked as a foreman on the railways and in 1886 he was riding on a trolley to get to his work north of Featherston when a special train from Masterton struck the trolley and threw Raffaello off over an embankment. He was cared for at this brother Joseph’s [Giuseppe] house in Tinakori Road. He suffered a similar accident in 1902, this time losing most of one ear. He became and naturalised citizen in 1887. He was granted an old age pension in 1905 having been living in New Zealand for 28 years by that point. His brother and sister-in-law died in 1912 and 1916 respectively and are buried in ROM CATH/B/47 along with his nephew and great nephew. His only other relative was an orphaned niece who was age 20 at the time of his death. Rafaello was buried in this plot on 16th July 1917 aged 76, having been resident at the Ohiro Benevolent Home in Brooklyn.

Plot Roman Catholic/U/38

Thanks to Maryann at the cemetery office for help confirming the plot number and location for us.

By Julia Kennedy

Plot Roman Catholic/U/38 (unmarked)