Unknown Man Found Dead in a Field

Local Villages Oct 6, 2022

Published in the Bicester Advertiser, 22nd March 1918:

Mr George Coggins, coroner for the Northern District of Oxfordshire, held an enquiry at Lower Heyford last Saturday respecting the death of a man known as George Smith, whose address was unknown. Doctor Turner, of Deddington, examined the deceased and was of the opinion that he had been dead over a week.
John Calver said - "I am a plate layer on the Great Western Railway. On Wednesday last, at about 1:30 in the afternoon, I was on land in Lower Heyford, between the Great Western Railway and the canal. I was going fishing. There is a shut-up boarded cattle hovel on the land. I noticed the door was upended and there was a board off. I looked through the aperture and saw a man lying on the floor inside. I shouted to him but got no reply, so I shouted again but he did not move or speak. I then entered the hovel and took hold of his shoulder and shook him, but found him to be cold and dead. His coat was over his body and his boots were a few yards off. There was no blood about. The man appeared to have died in his sleep. I left the hovel and sent for the police. I afterwards helped put the body on a cart which conveyed it to the village. I do not know the man. He is a complete stranger to me. I had not been in the hovel previously for some three months."
PC Thomas William Russel, of Steeple Aston, said - "On Wednesday last, at about 3:30pm, my wife told me that a person had been to say that a dead body had been found in a shed near Heyford Station. I went and saw Mr Dew, and together we went to the hovel mentioned by the last witness and found the deceased as described by him. I searched the body and found two inmate cards issued at Coventry and two pawn tickets, dated January 19th and 22nd 1918, and issued at Gloucester. The tickets showed that he received 2s 6d for two articles of underwear. I searched the flag basket which was hanging on the wall and found a knife and fork and a few other articles. The deceased was well dressed. Enquiries have since been made by the police, but the man has not been identified."